Events

Connect with Whetstone at the Ed-Fi Summit

Whetstone will be attending the Ed-Fi Summit from Wednesday, Oct. 12 to Friday, Oct. 14 in Austin, TX. As a licensee of Ed-Fi Technology, Whetstone supports the push to “empower educators with the information they need to make better choices for their students.” The Ed-Fi summit is a gathering of companies, organizations, and state and district leaders with an interest in making it easier to share data to give school leaders a complete picture of performance. Organizations that license the Ed-Fi technology can also integrate their data with the Ed-Fi dashboard which helps schools see all their data in one place.

If you are attending the Ed-Fi summit and would like to schedule a meeting with our CEO, please email allison@whetstoneeducation.com  

Whetstone to Attend the Utah Digital Teaching & Learning Bootcamps

Whetstone will be attending the Utah Digital Teaching & Learning Bootcamps from Monday, September 26 to Thursday, September 29. This event supports the Utah Digital Teaching & Learning Grant Program and the goal of leveraging education technology to its full potential in the state. Attending the event are district leaders from across Utah supporting their schools by providing them with digital tools and resources to support their student and teacher-based performance goals. We look forward to meeting these leaders and discussing how Whetstone can support their digital initiatives. If you are attending the bootcamp and want more information, please contact allison@whetstoneeducation.com.

Los Angeles EdSurge Summit

Are my teachers getting regular feedback from instructional coaches? Edsurge-Tech-for-Schools-Summit1

This is the #1 question we heard at the EdSurge summit in Los Angeles last week, and one we hear continually from educators across the country. Beyond that, it was fascinating to learn about the different methods of teacher coaching happening in California schools, and to share how Whetstone is supporting schools nationwide with a customizable platform to meet their unique needs.

Interested in learning more about Whetstone? Let’s chat!

Give Thanks for Teachers!

Tuesday, May 3 is Teacher Appreciation Day, and at Whetstone, we couldn’t be more thankful for all of the amazing teachers we work with and all of our teachers who got us to where we are today! At Whetstone, we took a moment to say thanks: Libby Fischer, CEO: I have many favorite teachers, but I think the one from whom I learned the most was Mrs. Routman. Mrs. Routman was a Kindergarten teacher at Hayes Cooper Academy in Merigold, Mississippi, where I taught for two years during Teach For America. I struggled A LOT as a first year teacher, and I spent many planning periods observing in Mrs. Routman's classroom to figure out what good teaching looks like. Mrs. Routman was an amazing teacher for many reasons, especially for how fun and engaging she made her lessons. Often during observations, I found myself just as entranced with the subject matter as the students were. There are so many things to learn as a new teacher, but her lessons continually reminded me that the true joy of being a teacher is helping students discover their own love of learning.

Cody Brumfield, CTO: Teachers, more than anyone, see the potential in every child and show infinite patience working with kids in tough situations. Teachers never give up on their students and their belief and example can make such a difference in a child’s life.

Allison Maudlin, Director of Marketing: Teachers really listen when kids have something to say. That's powerful and life changing. Happy Teacher Appreciation Day!

Lizzie McDonald, Manager of Customer Success & Growth: My favorite teachers are also my role models. They’re people who, to this day, I continue to keep in touch with and appreciate for their commitment to helping me grow as a student and a person. I’m thankful for teachers today and every day!

EdSurge LA Tech for Schools Summit

Whetstone is heading to the upcoming EdSurge Tech for Schools Summit on Friday, April 22 and Saturday, April 23 at the Hilton LAX in Los Angeles, and we would love to meet you!imgres-1 This unique event brings together school leaders and education technology companies for engaging, small-group discussions about how the latest products and solutions can support schools and districts. We’ve attended two prior EdSurge Summits in New Orleans and Pittsburgh, and we couldn’t be more excited to join the Summit in LA.

The best part? Registration is FREE for educators! Sign up today, and we will see you in Los Angeles!

Women in Tech at Collision Conference

Whetstone is excited to attend Collision, a national conference that draws speakers and attendees from the country’s fastest growing tech startups. Collision has moved its conference headquarters to New Orleans this year, and the conference is slated to run from April 26-28. imgres

As part of Collision’s commitment to change, they’ve offered complimentary tickets to women in tech in an effort to bridge the gender gap in the industry. The women at Whetstone (75% of the company!) snagged a few of these tickets, and we couldn’t be more excited to attend the conference!

Collision was created by the team behind Web Summit, a conference in Europe that has grown to hosting 22,000 attendees since beginning in 2010. The conference now boasts itself as “America’s fastest growing tech conference” with 7,500 attendees from over 50 countries across the world.

The conference is also conveniently placed between the two weekends of New Orleans’ greatest festival, Jazz Fest. Interested in joining us at Collision? Come on down! Want to meet up at Collision? Email allison@whetstoneeducation.com.

Future Ready Leaders Month

April is Future Ready Leaders Month organized by the Office of Educational Technology. In an effort to support the 2016 National Education Technology Plan, the Office of Educational Technology put together a personalized set of tools superintendents can use in order to become Future Ready. images

The personalized toolkit pulls from 50 short videos that are generated after the superintendent takes a short assessment of his/her district. In the assessment, the superintendent will be asked to rate the district on each focus area of Future Ready leadership: Collaborative Leadership, Personalized Student Learning, Robust Infrastructure, and Personalized Professional Learning. Available for leaders is also a research synthesis on the Characteristics of Future Ready Leadership. The report dives deeper into practices Future Ready leaders may use to leverage technology to benefit teaching and learning.

Throughout April there are also multiple Twitter chats, including a chat on Collaborative Leadership from 8-9 PM. EST on April 6 and a discussion on Personalized Professional Learning from 7:30-8:30 PM EST on April 30.

Do you plan on joining in on Future Ready Leaders Month? How else can you be prepared to be a Future Ready leader?

Whetstone Receives Line of Credit from Local Bank

We are pleased to announce that we have recently received a line of credit from iberiabank, a local Louisiana bank. This line of credit will help to support Whetstone’s rapid growth, giving us the flexibility to develop our product to better support our school partners across the country. imgres

Our partnership with iberiabank truly shows how Louisiana companies can support each other to create a stronger business ecosystem. It will allow us to grow, create more jobs, and continue to provide our partners with a quality product and excellent customer service. We look forward to continued growth and success at Whetstone!

If a tree falls in the forest...

“If a teacher improves his practice and nobody is there to check a box, did he actually improve?” This was the question winkingly posed at a SXSWedu panel on teacher-centered professional development. The session, “Unauthorized PD,” explored this idea: in order to make schools places where students will thrive, they must first be designed to make teachers thrive.

It’s a scary thing to say out loud, because one risks being misheard. The argument is not that teachers matter more than students, but that schools are not a zero sum game: it is possible to design and environment where both students and teachers can thrive.

The presenters, a Theater teacher and a Physics teacher from Long Island, argued that if schools only dedicate one hour of time to teachers per week (during weekly PD), they are setting themselves up for failure. They believe that schools can be re-designed to create an environment where teachers are valued as highly as students.

They argued that school re-design doesn’t have to be done by consultants or implemented in one fell swoop. Rather, it’s likely much more effective for schools to convene teachers and leaders to work on the smallest problems the school is facing (e.g., teachers can’t go to the bathroom for hours because there is nobody to supervise their class), and slowly work their way up to more complex problems (e.g., literacy scores are stagnant but the daily ELA block is already 120 minutes).

What do you think? What small tweaks can schools make to improve the daily experience of teachers in order to ultimately make students thrive?

Libby Fischer is CEO of Whetstone.

See You at SXSWedu!

Whetstone will be attending SXSWedu in Austin, TX. from March 7-10, and we hope to see you there!  imgres

SXSWedu focuses on innovation in education, with engaging sessions, interactive workshops, hands on learning, and plenty of networking opportunities. The entire schedule for the event can be found here.

We can’t wait to interact with leaders in education, and we’re looking forward to attending many of the sessions throughout the week.

Still need to register? No problem - sign up here! Want to get together with Libby Fischer, CEO of Whetstone Education? Great, send her an email!

Learning Forward Conference Recap

Educators from across the country and world joined together last week in National Harbor, Maryland, to discuss all things professional learning, and Whetstone was there to participate in the conversation! With so many education-focused conferences throughout the year, we especially enjoyed this event because all of the sessions, and all of the  attendees, were focused on the topic of supporting and educating the educators! Naturally, this is a topic near and dear to our heart.

20151208_100011_resizedWe attended a session about an innovative school district in Rhode Island who implemented their own evaluation system, funded through state and federal grants. We also learned about a small district in Maine that worked with WestEd to improve their observation process and flip the traditional model by focusing on teacher growth and professional learning! Another great session focused on a district in Virginia that created a Teacher Leadership Academy to develop new teachers and create future teacher leaders. It’s not often that ed tech companies get a front row seat to learn about the unique programs schools and districts are rolling out, and have the opportunity to ask questions and participate in the discussion!

We can’t forget to share all the tips, tricks, and trends we learned about during the Learning Forward conference. So much of the discussion was around alternative observation methods, with video-based observations and professional development resources being hot topics! Many schools are having great success with Swivl, a technology that makes recording and sharing classroom videos easier than ever. Another interesting strategy many districts are implementing is peer evaluation. Not only does peer-based evaluation provide an opportunity for more feedback, it also creates a pipeline of trained observers to support a school’s or district's future instructional coaching staffing needs.

What a week! We met such interesting people, from superintendents and coaches at innovative schools and districts across the country, to researchers and consultants providing valuable services to the education organizations that are focused on the topic of professional development. You can bet Whetstone will attend the Learning Forward annual conference next December in Vancouver, Canada! Until then, we are getting involved with our local state affiliate of the Learning Forward organization to keep the momentum going!

Have you attended a Learning Forward event? What did you think? Leave us your comments below.

See You at the Learning Forward Conference!

Whetstone is counting down the days until the Learning Forward Annual Conference in Washington, D.C, and we hope to see you there!Learning Forward The conference takes place at the Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center from December 5-9. Topics will focus on professional learning and school improvement, with networking, breakout sessions, and keynote speakers. We especially look forward to the sessions on coaching and data-driven decision making.

Want to meet us there? Attend one of the two sessions our Director of Marketing, Allison Maudlin, is hosting (shown below), or email allison@whetstoneeducation.org to set up a meeting.

  • Tuesday, December 8 - 09:30 AM – 11:30 AM: Collaborative Conversations: Linking Evaluation and Teacher Learning
  • Wednesday, December 9, 2015 - 08:00 AM – 10:00 AM: Energizing Instructional Practice Through Coaching and Teacher Leadership

Interested, but need to sign up? No problem -- sign up here, and we will see you in D.C.!

Whetstone Happy Hour: Oysters, Wine, and Educators

Oysters, wine, and educators, oh my! This Tuesday, Whetstone held a happy hour for NOLA-based coaches and school leaders. We enjoyed meeting our users face-to-face, chatting with everyone about teacher coaching and the unique New Orleans education system, and, of course, eating oysters on the half shell (when in New Orleans…). CTfPo9AUkAAKuCg Stay tuned for our next Whetstone Happy Hour - it could be coming to a city near you!

 

Meet Whetstone in Pittsburgh!

Whetstone is heading to Pittsburgh! We are presenting at the upcoming EdSurge Tech for Schools Summit on Wednesday, Nov. 4 at Bethel Park High School in Bethel Park, PA, and we would love to meet you!

This unique event brings together school leaders and education technology companies for engaging, small-group discussions about how the latest products and solutions can support schools and districts.

The best part? Registration is FREE for educators! Sign up today, and we will see you in Pittsburgh!

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Ed Leaders answer the question “What does good instructional coaching look like?” at the EdSurge Tech for Schools Summit in New Orleans.

It’s Connected Educator Month!

Halloween, move over. October is Connected Educator Month! The initiative aims to “network educators and education stakeholders through connected professional learning experiences worldwide”. CE

And it’s not too late to get involved! Here are five ways to get the most out of Connected Educator Month:

  1. Check out the starter kit. This kit provides 31 days worth of content and action items for you to complete in order to become a connected educator. From social media to digital storytelling to online communities, this guide is sure to help you become more connected.
  2. Review this Twitter chat on Constructive Teacher Evaluation. Educators came together to discuss teacher evaluation and questions such as “What components of a teacher evaluation process can foster a growth mindset for all?” and “How do we make the eval process feel like part of a growth process, not a special occasion?”.
  3. Get social! Take to Twitter, Facebook, and blogging to share how you are a connected educator #ce15.
  4. Attend a virtual event! You can view the calendar here. There are hundreds of events still on the calendar for October and beyond. One that we are most excited for is The Largest Online Gathering of K-5 Classrooms on October 30. This event is a free, streaming concert and sing-a-long with over 37 states and multiple countries registered to attend. You better believe at least 1 person from Louisiana will be watching!
  5. Own it, year round. Remember that Connected Educator Month extends beyond October. Get connected at http://connectededucators.org.

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