Teacher leadership grant

Spokane Public Schools has been awarded a $100,000 Teacher Leadership Grant through the Ellison Foundation to further the development of Visual Thinking Strategies (VTS) for teachers and students for the 2019-20 school year. The grant will provide collaboration, teacher leadership coaching, VTS training, research and development of VTS as a methodology to support learning across content areas.

Using art images, Visual Thinking Strategies is an approach that establishes positive classroom climate and students who participate in thoughtful discussions and development an inquiry-based approach to learning. Our district has been instrumental in using these questioning strategies to transfer critical thinking into content areas such as writing, science, math and social studies.

This year, 200+ teachers will participate in this teacher driven and teacher led model of nine cohorts including VTS Foundations, VTS Science Year One, VTS Science Year Two, Written Response and Presentation, and VTS Form Writing. Marion Bageant, Karin Thompson, and James Russell partnered with the Museum of Arts & Culture are leading this work. New to the partnership is Nick Gardner, the co-creator of Watershed.org, an online VTS training and collaboration platform. Nick and Philip Yenawine, one of the two original VTS co-founders, will be coaching our leadership team and VTS teacher leaders this year. We are excited about what lies ahead.

VTS is embraced by so many teachers because it fosters increased engagement, inclusion, and agency in both teacher and student learning. There is still room available in our Year 1 VTS Foundations cohorts which launch from Aug. 12-22 as well as our Year 2 Science, Year 2 Writing, and Year 3 Writing Lab for those teachers who have had VTS classroom experience.

Please email Karin Thompson if you are interested and want to find out more.

Karin Thompson, Bob Hurlbut,Marion Bageant, James Russell    

From left: Karin Thompson, T &L; Bob Hurlbut, Trustee, Ellison Foundation; Marion Bageant, VTS Advisor, 1st Grade Teacher; James Russell, T & L Social Studies.