WIDA Global Community of Practice Capstone Celebration
Across the globe, educators, students and their families, continue to adapt and re-adapt to the ongoing challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic. In the AMISA region, our WIDA member schools have expressed their need for ongoing professional learning focused on the unique needs of multilingual learners during this unprecedented time in history. New webinars, including those developed in partnership with AMISA, provide the opportunity to share and learn about current issues and new developments in our schools. In addition, in response to the need for more extended professional learning opportunities, in October 2021, WIDA launched the Global Community of Practice.
The WIDA Global Community of Practice is an online year-long professional learning experience in which school-based teams engage in a collaborative research and design process to improve schoolwide systems for multilingual learners. Currently, 86 participants representing 28 schools are engaged in sustained professional learning as participants identify a problem of practice at their school, investigate the related research and WIDA resources, and design a solution for their context.
Through asynchronous team tasks, participants engage in a self-evaluation of their schoolwide systems serving multilingual learners, organized around eight activity systems:
Multilingualism and language policies
Admissions and transition policies
Curriculum development and program design
Capacity, staffing and professional learning
Assessment and data
Inclusive policies and practices
Virtual/hybrid learning environments
In addition to asynchronous team tasks, participants also meet synchronously to reflect on their learning and share insights across teams. In a recent mid-year feedback survey, participants noted the importance of a shared space to solve problems. One participant noted how the community of practice functioned as a space for “connecting educators from different schools in different parts of the world so that we have an opportunity to learn from each other.” Another participant highlighted how the asynchronous team tasks allowed them to engage in learning as a team, even during unexpected shifts between in-person and remote learning at their school, while others noted how they appreciated the “opportunities to engage in dialogue with other schools.” Currently, teams are engaged in an eight-week facilitated design sprint to prototype, test, implement and refine a solution to their problem of practice.
This year-long professional learning journey will culminate with the WIDA Global Community of Practice Capstone Celebration in which school-based teams will showcase their project to a broader international audience. This virtual conference will be open to all WIDA International School Consortium member schools. The presentations will highlight each team’s journey through a guided design cycle in which they identified a problem of practice at their school and then designed and gathered feedback on a prototype to address the problem. Each 30-minute block will consist of a 20-minute team presentation, followed by a time for attendees to ask questions as they consider application to their own school context. The event will consist of a morning (8-11 a.m. U.S. central standard time) and evening session (7-10 p.m. U.S. central standard time).
The WIDA Global Community of Practice is an exclusive benefit for members of the WIDA International School Consortium. It allows educators with experience using WIDA resources or participating in a WIDA Institute to continue to support action planning and implementation. While individual educators are welcome to join, participants have found great benefit participating as a school-based team of EAL teachers, administrators and classroom/subject teachers. The WIDA Global Community of Practice will kick off each year in October and finish the following May. As you make plans for professional learning in the 2022-2023 school year, consider whether the WIDA Global Community of Practice might serve your school in addressing how schoolwide systems can better serve the needs of your multilingual students.