Sonoma County Office of Education

Educators, innovative businesses team up to adapt teaching for a changing world and workplace

02/18/2016 -

Contact: Sarah Lundy, SCOE director of teacher development | (707) 522-3069

teachers guild

Some of Sonoma County’s finest teachers will come together with Bay Area entrepreneurs and innovators on March 5 for the culmination of a four-month long effort to identify the best ways teachers can adapt their teaching to meet the demands of a rapidly changing world.

Since November, these dedicated Sonoma County teachers have been involved in a national, online conversation about how to improve how teachers learn and apply that learning to their classrooms. At the March 5 event in Heron Hall at the Laguna de Santa Rosa center off Occidental Road, they will meet to discuss the best ideas that emerged from that conversation and select some to pilot in schools around Sonoma County. A mini grant process will support these pilot programs.

The effort is part of a Sonoma County Office of Education collaboration with The Teachers Guild, an initiative run by the design thinking firm IDEO’s Learning Studio and Riverdale Country School’s Delta Group. It aims to solve 30 of the most complex education challenges in the next three years. To do so, it has partnered with a number of prestigious groups committed to education: other collaborators include Google for Education and Michelle Obama’s Reach Higher and Better Make Room campaigns.

Teachers Guild collaborations are unique because they center on input from those who know best — great teachers. “We are talking about the teacher your kid loves most,” said Sarah Lundy, SCOE director of teacher development. “We should be highlighting the work of our teacher-leaders and engaging their thinking.”

The partnership with SCOE is just the third Teachers Guild collaboration and the first with a county office of education. Industry partners include AutoDesk, Inc., and One Workplace. “We’re applying the design thinking process to the classroom,” said Dan Blake, director of innovation and partnerships at SCOE. “The California Common Core and Next Generation Science Standards require teachers to be conversant in technology and new teaching methods meant to prepare students for success in a shifting workforce. That creates a lot of growth opportunities as educators seek the skills they need to teach to new state standards and prepare students for a rapidly changing world.”

Ideas generated from the collaboration include:

  • “What if teachers learned DT (Design Thinking) and then used it to design curriculum?”
  • Using Twitter Chats for professional development
  • Seeking student input on what teachers should be learning
  • “We have developed these great prototypes that have been vetted online by teachers from around the country. Now we need to test them, and they’re open for any teachers in the county to try,” Blake said.

    Event Details:
    Date: Saturday, March 5
    Location: Heron Hall at the Laguna de Santa Rosa Center, 900 Sanford Road
    Time: 1-2:30pm, followed by reception.