Sonoma County Office of Education

SCOE Hosts Virtual Learning Institutes for More Than 300 Educators

07/23/2020 -

More than 300 Sonoma County educators representing 30 of Sonoma County’s 40s school districts will prepare for the uncertainty of the 2020-21 school year by expanding their skills in distance instruction during two virtual learning institutes presented by the Sonoma County Office of Education.

DISRUPT 2020 (Designing Instruction & Supporting Responsive User Focused Plans Together) will be offered twice, July 28-30 and August 4-6, and feature kickoff addresses by two individuals renowned for their innovation, Ted Dintersmith and Gregg Behr. Dintersmith is the author of What School Could Be: Insights and Inspiration from Teachers Across America. Behr is the founder and co-chair of Remake Learning and was recognized by President Obama in 2016 as a Champion of Change. The media is invited to attend these kickoff sessions.

“We chose the name DISRUPT 2020 because this has been the greatest disruption to education that we’ve seen in generations,” said Dan Blake, SCOE’s Director of Continuous Improvement (Innovation & Partnerships). “And while disruption causes significant challenges, it also creates opportunities. We will be using this institute to open up people’s minds to new ways of teaching and learning.”

SCOE holds a summer institute for teachers each year, but according to Sarah Lundy, SCOE’s Director of Continuous Improvement (Teacher Development), the demand for this year’s institute was unprecedented.

“We know that when teachers transitioned to distance learning last spring it was under extremely challenging conditions,” she said. “We’ve gathered resources from all over the country to offer teachers ideas that are possible despite the many unknowns we’re facing.”

Sessions include designing lessons on fostering student engagement during distance learning, and sharing best practices, strategies, and resources during this extraordinary time in public education.

Session themes include:

  • Teaching and Learning: Instructional Design and Delivery
  • Social-Emotional Support, Mental Health, and Well-Being
  • Ensuring Equity: Supporting ALL Student Needs
  • Project-Based Learning
  • Conversations with Colleagues
  • Support and Institute Follow-Up

“We want to give educators a chance to think about opportunities,” said Lundy. “Instead of feeling we’re in crisis, we want to leverage the natural creativity and imagination that brought us into teaching as the driving force for reaching students in new and meaningful ways.”

Steve Herrington, Sonoma County Superintendent of Schools, stated, “DISRUPT 2020 is aligned with SCOE’s goal to promote creativity, critical thinking, collaboration, and communication throughout Sonoma County Schools. It is an honor to sponsor this innovative and timely version of our annual summer institute, which is now in its 9th year.”