BAP056 The Personalized PD Landscape and Derek Rhodenizer

This episode starts as a casual chat with an innovator and by the end of the show we have insight on how an administrator can execute a personalized PD system for their staff.  Scroll down or listen at the 24:00 mark to get right to that awesomeness.

You can listen to this show in your favorite podcast app or right here:

Derek Rhodenizer returns to the show and, as usual, we did not script or plan this show in any way.  Our chat ends up offering ideas and insight on

The Personalized Professional Landscape (24:50 mark in the show)

The whole show is great for my learning but this piece was probably the most profound.  Derek explains that there is an issue with personalized PD.  Many people are doing it on their own (you are right now by reading this blog), but administrators are at a loss for how to roll out personalized PD systemically.  He was frustrated that his theme each year wasn’t something that would be meaningful to all of his staff. He started realizing that one blanket theme wasn’t even meaningful to most.  Collaborating with Stephen Hurley, they decided to figure out how to execute a truly personalized PD system last school year. And they did it!  Derek explains how he did it in this show.  He created, modeled and ran a truly personalized PD system.

Derek explains it all.  He describes how he and his teachers gathered data, how his teachers created a landscape for their own PD needs, and how they shared their personalized efforts with him through a growing slide deck and how he used that information to drive his PD opportunities for teachers throughout the year.  One of the innovative breakthroughs here is that it is all documented in a kind of digital portfolio that offers reflection for teachers and opportunity for Derek to support and direct their growth.

I can’t help but think that this is EXACTLY what we could see in classrooms to help students personalize their learning.

Another awesome thing Derek shared was this slide deck that is growing with positive stories of teaching.  He invites you to visit it but also to add yours!


Watch VirtuEL19 Live Saturday June 15 at 10am ET

The day has arrived!

Once again, Tan Huynh and I are bringing you a this non-profit, virtual conference that removes the physical, financial, and time barriers for teachers of English learners.

This year, we are thrilled to bring you Dr. Andrea Honigsfeld and Dr. Maria Dove as our keynote speakers. You will love their keynote address and the incredible breakout sessions that will follow.

Check out the line up and all the watch links here:

If you are able to catch the conference live, you can interact with breakout presenters via Twitter or the chat features of their YouTube live sessions.  If you miss the live conference, the entire event will be available in replay just as #VirtuEL17 and #VirtuEL18 are still on the site for your viewing.

Thank you, Tan!

My co-founder, Tan Huynh said it best when he posted about this on his blog:

“We know you want to learn and add to your existing skill set.  We also know that PD can be costly in terms of funding, travel, and time.  We’ve removed much of these barriers.  Come join us at for two hours of learning and networking from some of the best in our field.” 

My doctoral classes have started so I am not available to be there live for the entire conference but I’ll pop in and out on breaks and I am SO GLAD this is all available for me to watch in replay that afternoon. I some of us will still be tweeting about it!

Huge thanks to Tan and to ALL the presenters of VirtuEL!

We need more sharing like this.

Hope to see you there!



BAP055 Graduating SLIFE and One World Club

YES!!   Students with limited formal education (SLIFE) who we wrote about 4 years ago in Boosting Achievement are now passing multiple standardized assessments and we have more and more students with interruptions in education graduating.

We just received our scores here in Texas and we have a lot to celebrate! I want to give KUDOS to the teachers, peer tutors and, of course, the students themselves.  I can tell you that the students I’m talking about arrived in the US from situations of war and unimaginable hardships.

These students were in a large “refugee class” at one of our middle schools and a few months into the school year, the situation had deteriorated so much that there were classroom brawls almost daily.

You can read more about that issue in Boosting Achievement; Reaching Students with Interrupted or Minimal Education.  I wrote that book with Anna Matis and our goal was to document what didn’t work for me and also some of the huge wins we started having with these students.


We are able to help them gain literacy and were eventually able to be mainstreamed into general education classes.  That said, they failed state assessments that were evaluating grade level content mastery because they had educational gaps that take time to close.

That is why it is so exciting to see that some of those 8th graders are now juniors in the school where I volunteer and they are right on course to graduate on time.  With these latest test results, we know that they have passed Algebra, Biology and US History as administered by the state of Texas.  Here is a sample question from the US History exam.

Remember that they still have little to no literacy in their native language.  This would mean that they truly had to be able to read in English, analyze and know the content to have success on tests like this.

Congratulations to these students!  I think it is very important to be explicit about what is possible and show evidence of that.  In the last episode, Episode 54, I spent a lot of time explaining how I support students who may not pass their assessments.  These students heard all of that from me over the years and I am so proud of them for continuing to persevere and continuing to add to their knowledge with more and more learning.

While we do not have a “newcomer center” or any special services for these SLIFE students that I am aware of, our school has intervention efforts, tutorials, summer school and all the same supports that are available to all students.  We also have a local outreach effort that helps support the students with extracurricular and academic reinforcement for all area students who look for support.

One effort that I am going to highlight today is a club that was started by a neighborhood student.  This One World Club was started by Hannah Keller.  Hannah is passionate about supporting immigrant students and created the club with goals to foster relationships between immigrant and non-immigrant students, to support each other and to support the community through volunteer efforts.

In this show, two of the club leaders join me in a #MADPD session where they explain how YOU can start your own One World Club.

#MADPD is an annual, online conference where anyone is invited to present on a topic that is making a difference in education.  Here is the video version of and also the slide deck we are using in the presentation is here for you to use.

I also want to be sure you have access to ALL the #MADPD sessions so just click on this link to see the table.  There are now hundreds of sessions and they are a great way to self-direct your learning on so many different topics

I am also embedding some pictures from our end of year celebration and graduation party.  CONGRATULATIONS to the SLIFE students who graduated, the SLIFE students who are passing standardized assessments and to ALL students who are continuing to move forward in their educational journey.

Thank you for helping me celebrate these kids who have worked so hard.

In the show I mention that we are still reaching out to students who were NOT successful on state or graduation assessments.  We are making sure they are aware of what is available to them and we have set up more peer tutoring for those who want to take advantage of that.  It took me all of 3 minutes to get some volunteers from One World Club for that!

So please keep in mind that we have realistic goals for all of our students.  Those goals include success for everyone who taps into their grit and growth mindset.  We as educators must change how we serve kids so they don’t have to be so gritty.  But we also need to realize that they can ALL be successful with our support.

Thanks for stopping by and stay awesome!!

Maybe I’ll see you at one of the following events:

FULL DAY of Seven Steps to a Language Rich Interactive Classroom

in Omaha, Nebraska on Sept 24, 2019.

and on October 10th in Detroit, Michigan.

I’ll be the keynote speaker for BCTESOL in British Colombia in the fall. FULL DAY of Rapid Literacy Pre-Conference Oct 24 and then the Keynote on Oct 25!

Coming to Colorado as a featured speaker for COTESOL on Nov 8th.

FULL DAY of BOOSTING ACHIEVEMENT is coming to Orlando  on November 6th &   St. Louis, Missouri on Dec 2nd, 2019  Check out those links to join us!

Thank you again for tuning in and for all you are doing!  Come connect with me on Twitter!  I’d love to hear from you!