I’m often asked, “When is the best time to start a cohort of teachers designing Learner-Active, Technology-Infused Classrooms with you?” My answer is always, “There is no best time; different times have their advantages.”

An eight-day summer workshop is critical (coupled with a leadership session). In thirty years of working to transform classrooms and educators’ mindsets, I find that anything short of eight days does not produce the level of change and momentum that the eight-day workshop does. But should you start in summer?

This is where the winter cohort can be a catalyst.

  1. Identify eight teachers in a single school who want to design LATIC. (I suggest distributing the first chapter of the book Students Taking Charge (K–5 or 6–12) to teachers (downloadable here), asking them if they want to be the first cohort in the school engage in professional development around this.)
  2. Release these teachers to engage in PD once a week for six consecutive weeks. (We drop days 7 and 8 here as the topics for those days will be covered in the summer.)
  3. If you offer the PD in January/February, teachers will launch their first unit in March or April.
  4. They will then return in the summer for their “second” year of training, which will be for the eight days.

The advantage of the winter cohort is that teachers will implement a unit or two before the summer, which will give them an idea of what LATIC can look like. It will allow them to reflect on what worked for them and where they need to focus. So when they attend the summer training, it won’t be all new; they will have developed a lot of ideas about what they want to accomplish.

Then, if you have other teachers who see what their colleagues are doing and want to be a part of it, you can add a second cohort in the summer.

The key is to remember that this is your seed group for transformational, cultural change. They should therefore be your most willing and able (cohorts one and two are not the places to address struggling teachers’ needs). And while it may seem like a large investment in just 8 or 16 teachers, remember that your payoff is a few years down the road. As this group takes off in transforming their classrooms, they will have an impact on the rest of the faculty. Before you know it, you’ll have a transformed school.

For more information on how you can get started transforming instruction, email solutions@idecorp.com or call 833-GO-LATIC!