Centered in Belonging: In-Person & Online Professional Development for Teachers

I love owls. I even collect them. Hence, when Sound Discipline launched our hybrid professional development program for educators in August, featuring Rooty Hooty, I got pretty excited.

 

Our ‘Rooty Hooty’ webcam

What is Rooty Hooty? 

Rooty got its name from the first workshop where it was used — Rooted Relationships: Growing Equitable Classroom Communities. It’s a Meeting Owl, aka a fancy web cam made by Owl Labs. With a swivel-head, 360-degree camera and microphone, participants can see, hear, and engage easily with one another, even in group discussion.

 

Making community and connection accessible for all participants

Yes, technology is cool, but that’s not the best part. The best part is that Rooty Hooty is making community and connection accessible for our professional development participants. Everyone feels part of what’s going on. Everyone can engage in activities that are experiential, interactive, and in-community. Participants dealing with COVID and other medical issues don’t have to miss out. And – if you are participating online — you are not off-camera feeling like a spectator watching someone else’s workshop. You’re in it!

 

The learning curve

Sound Discipline’s journey from entirely in-person only workshops to online happened because the pandemic forced it upon us. It’s true. But we never would have made it without Sound Discipline facilitators leaning in, sharing their wisdom, supporting one another up a steep learning curve. Our digital pivot put our values — connection, collaboration, and liberation – to the test. I’m incredibly proud of this evolution of our offerings and excited for adults who work with young people to experience it.

 

What participants are saying

Sound Discipline professional development stands out. Educators tell us it’s energizing and inspiring:

  • “This workshop was a breath of fresh air that helped me to center my thinking and understanding back on the real reasons why I decided to become an educator — the relationships I can help build and strengthen in my community. The workshop built up my confidence, then dared me to be brave enough to dream, all while helping me focus my energy on SO. MANY. IDEAS. for how to begin that healing process right away, no matter how “stuck” I might feel in any relationship. It is evident to me after this training that healing and transformation will look different for every community and every interpersonal relationship—in our classrooms, in our respective interpersonal relationships at our schools with each member of the entire community, even in our own private lives outside of school. I’m so grateful for the opportunity to learn from, alongside, and with some amazing educators, fellow abolitionists, and community organizers. Behavior is communication. May we hold firm this understanding. May we remain connected throughout it all.”

Sound Discipline professional development offers different learners what they need. Participants appreciate the blend of didactic information (PowerPoint, readings, videos), with joyful, experiential, and interactive activities. They say it’s all relevant because it combines frameworks and approaches, with chances to try them, reflect together, and translate them into real life.

 

Participants from five school districts in the Sound Discipline August 16 & 16 ‘Rooted Relationships: Growing Equitable Classroom Communities’ hybrid public workshop. Held at Cascade Elementary in the Renton School District, Renton, WA. Twenty-two people were with us in- person, and eight were online. Led by facilitators Aaron Norikane, Lex Gavin, and Stacy Lappin.

Meeting the year with hope

We are so grateful to be back in person, learning in community. There is nothing like the energy and possibility of adult champions for young people being in the space together. After such a difficult year, educators across the country are ready for a change and coming together to make it happen. In the 32 schools we are working with right now, we are seeing that, and it’s inspiring. We’ll be sharing that inspiration with you here all year.

 

Let’s talk

To learn more about teacher professional development that centers belonging or just start a conversation about what’s possible for your school or organization, get in touch. You can check out our next Rooted Relationships: Growing Equitable Classroom Communities workshop in September here.

 

Andrea John-Smith is the Executive Director of Sound Discipline. You can reach Andrea at andrea@sounddiscipline.org.