As BU Wheelock and Boston University as a whole transitioned to remote teaching and working, the Aspire Institute began thinking of new ways to support educators through reimagined programming and professional development.
Just before moving remote, Aspire launched a Facebook page to keep parents, educators, and other community members up to date with remote learning updates and opportunities, and COVID-19 and Schools. The Facebook page has and will continue to be another way to reach the broader community as Aspire promotes equity and culturally responsive teaching.
Since then, Aspire has successfully piloted a virtual professional development training program for embedding restorative practices. They are completing that training program over the next four weeks at BPS Higginson-Lewis. Aspire is hoping to continue to provide those virtual programs next year.
Pending sufficient interest, Aspire will continue teaching its professional development series on culturally responsive teaching. They are hoping to create a more interactive online presence that better fosters discussion as the culturally responsive teaching program tends to elicit a lot of questions and desire for discussion.
Aspire Institute Director Dr. Kenann McKenzie is currently serving as a speaker for the town of Brookline’s “Remote Learning Taskforce.” Dr. McKenzie is a member of a local school site council and the task force members serve as panelists for weekly online conversations regarding remote learning plans. The forum allows members of the community to ask questions and provide on the ground feedback.
Looking ahead, Aspire is in the process of training their current mentors to work virtually so that they can continue to support teachers. All are ready for the challenge and eager to continue Aspire’s work.