The Learner’s Cycle, Wonder-Experiment-Learn, and the Teacher’s Cycle, Observe-Plan-Instigate, comprise Inspired Teaching’s approach to engaging students in inquiry-based learning.
When they are engaged in the Wonder-Experiment-Learn Cycle, students are immersed in learning. They take the lead in designing authentic learning experiences around their own interests and their school’s standards of learning. Each discovery leads to a new question which in turn leads to more wondering and more learning. In the Wonder-Experiment-Learn Cycle, Learn is not a destination or an endpoint; it is a deeper understanding, leading to a deeper wondering and new possibilities that create new entry points to further exploration. The cycle continues because what students have learned generates more wonderings that require more experiments that foster more learning – and on and on.
The Observe-Plan-Instigate Cycle is the work of an Inspired Teacher. While a student is expected to follow the Wonder-Experiment-Learn Cycle, the teacher joins them on the learning journey while following their own cycle of Observe-Plan-Instigate. This cycle ultimately serves to ensure an inquiry-based atmosphere is at play in the classroom.
Jaqueta is the Teaching and Learning Specialist for Inspired Teaching. In addition to her current role with Inspired Teaching, Jaqueta is a first-grade teaching assistant. Her background features a variety of traditional and non-traditional experiences in the field of education, including working as an adjunct professor, teaching summer reading programs to children and adults, and tutoring children in the foster care system. Jaqueta earned a B.A. in Communication Studies from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and an M.A. in Interactive Media from Elon University.
Creative self-expression! In addition to my passion for storytelling, I love dancing of all kinds. I've studied belly dance, bachata, and Brazilian Zouk among other styles. I also enjoy glass fusing, crocheting, photography, and cross stitching. These art forms allow me to express myself and build connections with other people at the same time. I think life would be a lot less vibrant without artists and storytellers!
As Communications and Marketing Specialist, Michelle is responsible for finding and creating new ways to highlight Inspired Teaching and promote its programs in order to expand and deepen the organization's impact. Michelle has worked in communications in an array of settings, from creative agencies to state politics to national nonprofits. She has a BA in Journalism from Temple University in Philadelphia and is passionate about education, access, and equity.
My son, the beach, making a persuasive argument and good food!
Max received his Bachelor’s degree in History and African American Studies from Boston University in May 2016. He has worked in museum curation at the Museum of the White Mountains in New Hampshire and the Smithsonian National Museum of American History. Max has worked with young people of varying ages from young children to young adults transitioning to college.
We grow through feedback and an understanding that the quality of our work is a reflection of what we are learning, but the shift to remote learning this spring disrupted a lot of the tools teachers were used to using to evaluate student growth. How might we do things differently this fall? Participants in this workshop will explore ways to bring meaningful assessment into the virtual and/or socially-distanced classroom and approaches to student feedback that strengthen motivation, and build relationships and achievement.
Time: half dayAppropriate for: all educators at all grade levels
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The teaching profession is already rife with time-consuming activities that don’t always benefit our students. Navigating the challenges of online, hybrid, or socially distanced learning means we have to be even more thoughtful about where and how we spend our time. In this workshop participants explore ways to make their work more efficient and the precious time they have with students more productive, and even enjoyable.
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Our assumptions about students often get in the way of meeting their needs. This is especially true when we don’t have the same opportunities to get to know them in person. What messages are we unintentionally conveying through our email or video communications with students and their families? What steps can we take to make online learning equitable and respectful for all our students? This workshop offers participants a framework for decision-making as they plan for the new school year, an opportunity to critically examine their practice, and concrete strategies for elevating student voice and engaging productively with students.
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Can we have the same goals in online learning that we do in the physical classroom? Yes!...And, online learning offers different means of achieving them. Participants will evaluate specific goals in their curriculum and explore ways to structure their time with students to efficiently maximize impact.
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One of the big concerns teachers have about the upcoming school year is how they’ll get to know their students if their only encounters are through a computer screen or in-person but socially distanced. In this hands-on workshop participants will learn and practice strategies for community building online and/or in modified classrooms and craft a plan for learning all about their students in the first weeks of school.
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Jenna Fournel has been involved with Center for Inspired Teaching since 2004 and has worked in the education field for more than 20 years. She began her career as a high school English teacher and has served as Director of Communications for both Inspired Teaching and the National Council of Teachers of English. Her overarching professional goal is to do what she can to make the world a kinder place. She believes investing in the education of our young people is the best place to start.
As the Teaching and Learning Coordinator, Bella manages Inspired Teaching’s digital presence and supports the organization’s efforts to reach new communities of educators and students. She believes passionately in honoring the voices of young people, and in and outside of the classroom, she strives to create inclusive spaces where students’ curiosity can thrive. She holds a B.A. in Literacy and the Performing Arts from Brown University and an MPhil in Arts, Creativity, and Education from the University of Cambridge. Currently, she lives and works as a drama teacher in London, where she is inspired daily by her students' creativity!
John Nolan is a finance executive with over 30 years of of experience at organizations of various sizes. He has served in “C” level positions at public, private equity and private companies in the SaaS, Management Consulting, Telecommunications and Computer Hardware industries. He has deep experience in implementing and improving controls and other financial processes across organizations.
He is currently the CFO and CCO of Options Solutions, LLC, an investment advisory firm. Formerly, served as the CFO of Determine Inc., an international provider of contract management and procurement software. Prior to that, John spent a decade as CFO and then CEO of Quadel Consulting, a provider of services to low income housing programs. John’s other professional experience includes 3 years at IBM and 15 years at MCI, where he ran Corporate Finance for the Fortune 100 company.
He holds an undergraduate degree from Tulane University, an MBA from the University of Texas at Austin, and is a licensed CPA. John’s work with non-profits has primarily focused on educational organizations. He served for five years as the Treasurer of the Blessed Sacrament School board in DC. For three years he was on the board of Imagination Stage (IS) of Bethesda, a youth focused arts and education organization. John also served for six years on the corporate advisory board of So Other Might Eat (SOME), the DC based poverty services organization that is greatly expanding its job training programs.
Mr. Nolan has spoken on financial leadership and cost analysis at Chief Financial Officer Magazine, Better Management Live and IDC conferences. The costing systems he put in place at MCI received the Enterprise Intelligence award from the software company SAS.
Access school or district professional learning funds: Some districts have professional learning discretionary funding for schools, or other funds that can be accessed for this purpose. Principals, district supervisors, curriculum supervisors, professional learning directors, and superintendents are good people to check with. Depending on how many colleagues at your school participate, and the subject of the course, you may be able to access school improvement funds as well (e.g., for a course in Relationship-Based Classrooms, which would address school climate).
Talk to your PTA representatives. These groups often have grants and money set aside for professional learning and school improvement.
Donors Choose is an organization where educators can post projects for donors to browse and fun, including professional learning that is used to further your craft. Go to their website to create a free account and find out more. Remember to post your project to social media, so that your friends and family can see the work you're doing and share it with others!
The NEA Foundation for the Improvement of Education awards grants that support the professional learning of public school teachers and faculty in public institutions of higher education. Grants may fund professional learning experiences, such as summer institutes or action research, mentoring experiences or lesson study. Professional learning must improve practice, curriculum and student achievement, and recipients must put professional leadership into practice by sharing what they learn with their colleagues. For specific information, visit the NEA Foundation’s application instructions page.
Fund for Teachers is unique in that it awards grants for professional learning based on the principle that the teacher is the one who knows what they need to grow as an educator. These grants are self designed and allow teachers to create their own professional learning opportunity based on what is most beneficial to their teaching in their own opinions. The application encourages educators to think about their objectives, motivations and the impact their particular plan of action will have on students. Applications are due in January.
The McCarthey Dressman Education Foundation provides Teacher Development Grants for individual teachers or small teams working in K-12 education. To foster insightful and innovative professional learning and growth, the grants allow you to implement new teaching methods and strategies in the classroom. Projects can take a variety of forms, but each of them must be geared towards having a significant and lasting impact in the classroom. Winners work closely with the foundation to implement their ideas and are awarded up to $10,000 for the first three years of the project.
Washington, D.C. educators can receive PLU hours for participating in courses. Each day of a course is 6 hours of credit - we will provide a certificate upon completion of the course. Please see the OSSE certification website for more information.
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Organizations and community stakeholders partner with us in a variety of ways to advance and amplify our goal of promoting engagement-based education. We partner with a diverse group of individuals and organizations, including Teaching for Change, Ashoka, City Year, and the Astra Center for Innovative Education.
Our foundation and corporate partners provide the critical resources we need to do our work. If you’re an organization interested in ensuring equitable access to engagement-based teaching for every student, contact Caitlin Wolf, our Development Manager, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Inspired Teaching Demonstration Public Charter School puts Inspired Teaching’s instructional model into action in every classroom. The school, a professional learning community of master teachers and teacher residents, ensures that a diverse group of students achieve their potential as accomplished learners, thoughtful citizens, and imaginative and inquisitive problem solvers through a demanding, inquiry-based curriculum. The standards-based curriculum and student goals are centered
on the 4 I’s: Intellect, Inquiry, Imagination, and Integrity.
The school is a primary partner site for the Inspired Teaching Residency, welcoming many Inspired Teaching Fellows each year for their Residency Year. Learn more about the Inspired Teaching Demonstration School.
Inspired Teaching alumni work as educational changemakers influencing the landscape of public education. Throughout the year, Inspired Teaching alumni have opportunities to attend special events, participate in free workshops, access valuable resources, and connect with one another through networking opportunities. Inspired Teachers open their doors to the public to showcase and advocate for engagement-based education.
Becoming an Inspired Teaching Fellow represents a long-term commitment to the field of education and to Center for Inspired Teaching. Inspired Teaching Fellows make a minimum teaching commitment of two years beyond program completion.
Inspired Teaching will make periodic visits to Fellows’ classroom for program evaluation purposes to assess the success of alumni as Inspired Teachers. Inspired Teaching’s research and program evaluation team conducts regular surveys of alumni, allowing for observation of longitudinal trends.
As teachers of record, Fellows are supported by intensive mentoring as they create classrooms grounded in instructional best practices and foster strong relationships with students. Fellows embody the Inspired Teaching Instructional Approach and tap into each child’s innate desire to learn. Fellows continue taking coursework at Trinity Washington University and complete all requirements for their Masters of Arts in Teaching by the end of the school year. Fellows receive increased mentoring to smooth the transition to being the teacher of record.
Fellows co-teach summer school classes that result in student-centered, data-driven classrooms. Fellows plan and implement student learning experiences that consist of standards-based, interdisciplinary, thematic projects that build on students’ interests. This culminates in a student exhibition where learners present and explain their work to the community, including parents, teachers, students and invited guests. Inspired Teaching staff provide intensive support during the summer teaching practicum.
Under the guidance and support of an experienced lead teacher who models exceptional instructional approaches, Fellows immerse themselves in the day-to-day realities of the classroom for a full year. Lead teachers gradually release all classroom responsibilities to the Fellow over the course of the year, facilitating growth in all aspects of the profession. In the spring semester, Fellows begin taking coursework at Trinity Washington University in the evenings, helping to make connections between education theory and the classroom practice being observed in their residency year. Residency year partner sites are innovative urban schools that are dedicated to supporting new teachers, and showcasing best teaching practices.
As Inspired Teaching Fellows, and AmeriCorps members, Fellows are called to apply their skills and ideals toward helping others and meeting critical needs of the community. Fellows join a national network of like minded individuals working to serve their country. AmeriCorps engages over 80,000 individuals each year, including 1,400 members in the District of Columbia.
Fellows who complete 1700 hours of service are eligible for a Segal AmeriCorps Educational Award of $5,920 which can only be used for repayment of student loans, for future costs at institutions of higher education, or for educational training.
Being an AmeriCorps member is a benefit of being an Inspired Teaching Fellow, but it is not required. Fellows who have received two AmeriCorps awards previously, or have started but not successfully completed an AmeriCorps program, are not eligible. Potential enrollment in AmeriCorps will not affect the application process.
AmeriCorps funding is granted on an annual basis and notifications are made in the summer. Inspired Teaching fully expects its renewal application to be successful, but Inspired Teaching Fellows’ status as AmeriCorps Members is contingent on grant renewal, and cannot be guaranteed.
The month long Summer Institute jumpstarts Fellows’ thinking about teaching and learning. Comprised of intensive coursework and an introduction to to Inspired Teaching’s instructional model, the summer serves as a critical community building experience for the cohort
Nothing brings me joy in life like spending time with family and friends. I love being active and spending time outdoors, making stained glass, and trying new foods!
Karol Kepchar is a partner at Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP where she assists clients in implementing an efficient, cost-effective, process-based approach to managing and leveraging intellectual property (IP) assets through litigation and licensing programs. She advises clients on a wide variety of issues, including licenses and other strategic agreements; trademark, copyright and domain name litigation in federal courts; Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB) proceedings at the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO); Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) Uniform Domain-Name Dispute-Resolution Policy (UDRP) arbitration procedures; and cybersecurity, privacy and data security issues. Her experience includes litigation, licensing and IP strategy in corporate restructuring and acquisitions.
Karol has been named a “World's Leading Trademark Professional” by the World Trademark Review WTR 1000, and an “IP Star” by Managing Intellectual Property. Karol received her undergraduate degree from Bryn Mawr College, and her J.D. from Temple University School of Law.
Cosby is the Director of Youth Programming for Inspired Teaching. He is the course creator and instructor for Real World History and also works with BLISS: Building Literacy in the Social Studies. He is a native Washingtonian who earned his Bachelor’s degree in Non-Western History at the University of Pennsylvania and began his teaching career in rural Georgia as part of the Teach for America program (’93 Corps). He stayed in Georgia to get his Master’s in Secondary Social Science Education at the University of Georgia. He returned home to DC in 1997 and spent thirteen years teaching social studies at Bell Multicultural High school (now the Columbia Heights Educational Campus) where he led the social studies department as well as the tennis and debate teams. Cosby earned his National Board Certification in 2006 and is one of only a handful of National Board Certified social studies teachers in the city.
Monica Brady-Myerov is a 25-year veteran public radio journalist, and the founder and CEO of Listenwise, a listening skills company, which was acquired by the video library company Boclips. Monica is a content area specialist in audio and its use in the classroom and an expert in podcasting, fact-based reporting, and narrative storytelling. She is the author of Listen Wise: Teach Students to Be Better Learners which was published by Wiley in April 2021. The book has personal anecdotes from the author and accessible excerpts from the latest neuroscience of listening and auditory learning, making it a critical resource that will explain why listening is the missing piece of the literacy puzzle. Monica graduated from Brown University with a degree in International Relations.
Teachers learn how to identify and integrate the Inspired Teaching Instructional Model into their classrooms. Experience a truly engaging classroom as it compares to a compliance-based classroom, in order to develop an understanding of how engagement more effectively supports learning.