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SESSION 2 (October 21+22, 2016)

The cohort met for their 2nd session on October 21+22 in Chicago and it was centered around ‘Collaboration and Partnerships Require Relationship Building’. Over the first day together, the group studied best practices on leveraging effective leadership, characteristics of collaborative leaders, and the power of collaboration. A big portion of their day together was dedicated to the Book Study Module from Joe Badaracco’s: ‘Leading Quietly’. Prior to the session, the cohort was divided into groups and asked to read several chapters per group. During the session they were placed in those groups and got to discuss key learning from their assigned chapters. Each group was able to present feedback and specific scenarios that would directly pertain to the CAO position. To close out our night, Assistant Superintendent for Teacher and Learning from North Shore District 112 (IL), Jennifer Ferrari, joined us to discuss frameworks surrounding curriculum and planning. Jennifer shared with the group the adversity she has overcome in her district to make it thrive. We were able to open it up to a Q&A where the cohort was able to pick her brain.

Our 2nd day of session 2 was centered around ‘Employing Data-Based Decision Making’. To be successful in building a culture of data use, a district data team needs to fulfill certain functions and it’s important that the district team serve as a model for school and teacher data teams. For those of you that are familiar with the Spaghetti-Marshmallow-Tower-Challenge, we had our cohort split into groups and see who could build the highest tower in 30 minutes only using spaghetti and marshmallows. This causes each group to practice the design process of thinking, doing, prototyping, and iteration which also pertains directly to the role of a CAO. The group was energetic for the challenge and each team did a superb job!

Next Session: December 2+3

SESSION 1 (September 9+10, 2016)

Our inaugural Chief Academic Officer Academy cohort met September 9th+10th in Chicago with participants coming from across the country including Maryland, New Jersey, Texas, Missouri, and Colorado to name a few. The cohort covered several topics over the course of the 2-Day Module including ‘Employing Meaningful Change’ and ‘Understanding CAO Standards & Self-Assessment of the Standards’. Throughout the session, participants broke up into groups for collaborative learning on best practices for ‘Leveraging Effective Leadership’ (pic below).



Dr. Martha Burns joined us to speak on ‘Path Out of Poverty: Education Plus Neuroscience’ which was centered around the effects that poverty has on children, their education, and overall learning path. Dr. Burns is a Joint Appointment Professor at Northwestern University and has authored three books and over 100 journal articles on the neuroscience of language and communication. Her expertise is in all areas relating to the neuroscience of learning, such as: language and reading in the brain, the bilingual brain, the language to literacy continuum and the adolescent brain.


Dr. Ann Clark, Superintendent of Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools also joined us for a ‘fireside chat’ that was facilitated by Dr. Peter Gorman. Dr. Clark spoke on her educational journey of when she started off in education over 30 years ago through the time she was appointed Superintendent of her current district. Dr. Clark’s extensive education background includes time as a principal at elementary, middle and high schools. She most recently served as deputy superintendent and chief academic officer, overseeing the district’s curriculum, professional development, classroom instruction and learning communities. She was able to relate her real-life stories as being a Chief Academic Officer to what the cohort would soon be going through in their own districts. 

Next session: October 21+22!