Branford Retreat

Updated Materials

From Laurie Kelly: branford-schools-caruso-ei-handout-final

Updated goals for Branford Public Schools for continued reflection:

  • Effective communicators –  use a medium/form/genre to communicate significant information (findings, ideas, feelings, issues, etc.) for a given purpose.
  • Purposeful and engaged collaborators Work respectfully and responsibly with others, exchanging and evaluating ideas to achieve a common objective.
  • Adaptive, resilient problem solversdefine the problem, design a solution/approach (mindful of constraints), implement and evaluate outcome, and rework based on what was learned (iterative process).
    Thoughtful/responsive critical thinkersexamine and critique text(s), perspectives, and/or experiences to seek out patterns, generalizations, conclusions.
  • Mindful self-awarenessbeing aware of your thoughts, behaviors, and actions to make better decisions about how you work to improve performance and relationships.
  • Inquisitive about the world generate and pursue questions that promote investigation, action, and creation.

Click here to be linked to draft document of goals and actions

Getting Started

Updated slides: Revised Branford Retreat

Video: The Skills of a 21st Century Mind in Action

TRAILER: Anatomy of a Snow Day from Maxwell Project on Vimeo.

Middle School Global Challenge

Video: Excerpt from Pay It Forward

Vision of a Graduate

From Hawaiian Department of Education:

Students shall:

      • Realize their individual goals and aspirations
      • Posses the attitudes, knowledge, and skills necessary to contribute positively and compete in a global society;
      • Exercise the rights and responsibilities of citizenship; and
      • Pursue post-secondary education and/or careers without need for remediation.

From Greenwich Public Schools, CT

The Greenwich Public Schools are committed to preparing students to function effectively in an interdependent global community. Therefore, in addition to acquiring a core body of knowledge*, all students will develop their individual capacities to:

      • Pose and pursue substantive questions
      • Critically interpret, evaluate and synthesize information
      • Explore, define, and solve complex problems
      • Communicate effectively for a given purpose
      • Advocate for ideas, causes, and actions
      • Generate innovative, creative ideas and products
      • Collaborate with others to produce a unified work and/or a heightened understanding
      • Contribute to community through dialogue, service and/or leadership
      • Conduct themselves in an ethical and responsible manner
      • Recognize and respect other cultural contexts and points of view
      • Pursue their unique interests, passions and curiosities
      • Respond to failures and successes with reflection and resilience
      • Be responsible for their own mental and physical health.

*The core body of knowledge is established in local curricular documents which reflect national and state standards as well as workplace expectations.

From Farmington Public Schools, CT

Farmington Public Schools’ Graduates will acquire an understanding of the essential knowledge and skills in the core academic disciplines and develop the thinking and learning skills needed to meet the challenges of local, national and global citizenship in a rapidly changing world.

Critical Thinking and Reasoning: Students access, interpret, analyze, and evaluate ideas and information, draw evidence-based conclusions, synthesize new learning with prior knowledge, and reflect critically on learning.

Students who demonstrate critical thinking and reasoning skills…

      • Ask questions to revise or adjust understanding
      • Use critical reading strategies to develop meaning from text
      • Support arguments with clear and compelling evidence
      • Make connections between new information and prior knowledge
      • Analyze and evaluate data to draw conclusions
      • Recognize values, beliefs, bias and perspective
      • Acknowledge different opinions to foster new insight
      • Notice patterns and analyze cause and effect

Communication and Collaboration: Students participate effectively in a variety of teams, actively listen and respond to the ideas of others, share responsibility for outcomes, articulate ideas clearly in multiple formats and use technology tools to enhance communication.

Students who effectively communicate and collaborate…

      • Write and speak clearly for a variety of purposes
      • Demonstrate an awareness of audience and adjust style and tone accordingly
      • Use language effectively to enhance meaning and impact
      • Use a variety of technology tools to enhance communication
      • Access diverse perspectives and expertise to accomplish a goal
      •  Establish and adhere to group norms that facilitate effective performance
      • Listen to and value the contributions of others on the team
      • Adapt to and perform a variety of roles and responsibilities within a group

Problem Solving and Innovation: Students identify problems, analyze data, ask questions, utilize a variety of resources, think flexibly, make connections and seek practical, innovative and entrepreneurial solutions to a variety of problems.

Students who are problem solvers and innovators…

      • Notice, examine and reframe problems
      • Ask questions and brainstorm ideas
      • Detect patterns and anomalies in data
      • Embrace contradictions and divergent ideas
      • Relate the apparently unrelated
      • Produce novel and creative solutions and products
      • Take risks and go beyond conventional parameters
      • Employ strategic processes to learn from success and failure 

Self-direction and Resourcefulness: Students explore interests, take initiative, set goals, demonstrate persistent effort, adapt to change with resiliency, and exhibit ethical leadership and responsible citizenship.

Self-directed and resourceful students…

      • Act on curiosity and pursue interests
      • Manage time and organize tasks
      • Work to overcome obstacles and learn from mistakes
      • Seek feedback and new resources to accomplish a goal
      • Reflect on learning experiences
      • Transfer knowledge and skills from one context to another
      • Find opportunities for civic engagement and leadership
      • Make ethical, responsible decisions

Developing YOUR Vision of the Graduate

Click here for plan of action





Full 2 pager SSP: SSP BROCHURE

Click here to see Google Doc

Click here to see Starbucks classroom remodel

Entrance ticket: Go to and use the code 80 54 51


Backward Design Model

The development of Branford Public Schools curriculum using Understanding by Design: Making the case, taking action

Branford UbD

Research supporting UbD: UbD White Paper

Personalizing Learning — Playlist on What It Looks Like, Feels Like, Sounds Like

Bena Kallick and Allison Zmuda’s Filters of Personalized Learning: Four filters of PL

Article from MindShift Feb 2015: What do we really mean when we say personalized learning?

Website: 7th Grade teacher Pernille Ripp posts her student blogs

Wesbsite: Click here for 1st-2nd Grade example of playlist from Granby Public Schools

Website: Reinventing 3rd Grade; Douglas County, Colorado

Article: 10 Tips for Launching an Inquiry-Based Classroom

Report: Through the Student’s Eyes: A Perspective on Personalized Learning, pages 5-7 2013_09_through_the_eyes

Blog post: Katrina Schwartz, “Four Meaningful Ways Students Can Contribute

Blog post: Rebecca Alber, “Five Ways to Give Your Students More Voice and Choice

Blog Post: Content vs. Context —

Article: How do we define and measure deeper learning_

Video:  Real World Engagement:

Video: What does it take to get really good at something? Kathleen Cushman’s archive of student voices:

Guidelines from the State of Connecticut on Personalized Mastery Learning

Click here to see slide presentation from State of Connecticut

FAQs from State of Connecticut on Mastery-Based Learning: Q and A on MBL