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2014 Teaching and Learning Conference Reflections

March 19, 2014

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        US Secretary of Education Arne Duncan leads a panel discussion at the Conference

This past weekend, BetterLesson co -founder and CEO Alex Grodd and four of our Master Teachers presented at the inaugural Teaching and Learning 2014 Conference (T&L 2014) in Washington DC.

They were in attendance to lead a panel discussion around UnPD; our new, pragmatic, teacher-led approach to improving practice. This approach focuses on the Teach, Measure, Learn framework for continuous improvement. The BetterLesson team demonstrated how this method works using hands-on practice with the teachers in attendance.

We flew in Master Teachers Melody Arabo, Erik Sussbauer, Paula Stanton and Jennifer Valentine to help facilitate the panel. When we partnered with NEA to vet about 100 of the best K-12 Math and ELA teachers from across the country, these folks made the cut. These individuals are master teachers in practice but also in their role for the Master Teacher Project. We are excited that they could help represent BetterLesson at the conference. They were excited as well. Here’s what they had to say:

“The NBCT Teaching and Learning 2014 Conference was an uplifting and invigorating experience revolving around teacher leadership and creating innovative thinkers. I am bursting with new ideas that I can’t wait to implement! A couple of highlights include meeting (and getting to take a picture with) Arne Duncan and hearing Bill Gates mention the Master Teacher Project in his speech to over 2,000 people. I especially LOVED presenting with the BetterLesson team and we got terrific feedback from teachers that were eager to learn more about UnPD. It was definitely a transformational event in every aspect.”

– Melody Arabo – Grade 3 ELA; Keith Elementary School; West Bloomfield, MI

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Melody Arabo with US Secretary of Education Arne Duncan

“It was an honor to represent BetterLesson and the NEA at the T&L conference; I was greatly inspired by the overall emphasis on teacher leadership and the role BetterLesson, and we as Master Teachers, can play in that movement. It was also cool that Bill Gates called the Master Teacher Project out by name in his speech!”

– Erik Sussbauer; Grade 11 ELA; Mohawk Trail Reg High; Shelburne Falls, MA

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Bill Gates addresses the Conference

“I enjoyed chatting with real teachers about real problems of practice at the T&L conference. I also enjoyed working with such a diverse and collegial group of presenters. Professional learning communities come in different forms, and I consider this group one of mine!”

– Paula Stanton; Grade 9 ELA; Bel Air High; Bel Air, MD

“The T&L Conference was an unparalleled opportunity to collaborate with top-notch colleagues about BetterLesson’s exciting next stage, UnPD.  It was profoundly encouraging to hear such powerful support for our profession, from Bill Gates’ mention of the Master Teacher Project to Doris Kearns Goodwin (Pulitzer Prize winning American biographer) and Bobby McFerrin’s (American vocalist, wrote Don’t Worry, Be Happy) more personal statements about their appreciation for teachers.”

– Jennifer Valentine; Grade 3 Math; Liberty Elementary School; Tucson, AZ


Vocalist Bobby McFerrin invites the teachers onstage to sing at #TLConf2014

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The BetterLesson team leads the UnPD panel

(from left – Erik Sussbauer, Jennifer Valentine, Melody Arabo and BetterLesson Co-Founder / CEO Alex Grodd)

Click here to learn more about UnPD!

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