Speaking and Keynotes

Speaking to educators successfully requires presenters to be passionate, energetic and knowledgeable.  Each presentation is designed with concrete examples and tools that practicing educators will be able to immediately integrate into their work.

We are excited to offer trainings for multiple levels including multiple ISBE approved administrator academies.

  • Powerful Keynotes

  • Customized Participant Books

  • Multi District Networking and Training

  • Facilitating Discussion

Ce7gZae1About Anne

Anne Firlit Weerda is passionate about delivering high quality professional development and high quality resources to teachers and administrators. She is most well know as the founder of “Kids at the Core,” a professional development group for educators.

Anne’s love of teaching began in the Southwest side of Chicago as a teacher and a building administrator. Her experience as a central office administrator in Northern Illinois and experience as a practicing scientist give her a unique combination of experiences to design targeted professional development in the areas of data analysis, assessment, curriculum, grading and instruction.

Under her leadership, teachers K-12 have grown as professional learning communities (PLCs) for powerful work including standards based report cards, creating local assessment sets aligned to Common Core Standards, and measuring student learning and growth. She has been a writer for national benchmark assessment systems and led assessment professional development throughout the country.

Anne received dual BS degrees from Northwestern University in Molecular – Cellular Biology and Radio – Television – Film. After several years in education, Anne received the Golden Apple Fellowship and earned her M.Ed. in Education and Social Policy from Northwestern University. She earned her second masters in Educational Leadership from National Lewis University.

Most Popular Topics

Presentations can be adapted to fit different audiences. Contact us to discuss the possibilities.

Assessment Literacy

Writing quality assessments for students can be daunting for most teachers. This talk looks at 3 major elements in assessment design and explains how teachers can effectively design valid and reliable tools to measure and monitor learning.

Rigorous Growth Goals (SLOs, SLTs, SGOs)

Data analysis in itself can be daunting…and then writing goals on top of it? Wow! Many teachers are feeling overwhelmed at the complexity of the task: and for good reason. The task involves understanding how to collect, interpret and communicate data. With simple strategies, we will look at how to streamline the process and take the stress out of SLOs. Brining the SMART technique to the SLO writing process gives teachers a formulaic way to write goals strategically that are both ambitious and attainable.

Skill Based Instruction

Across long periods of instruction, there are threads that tie together individual units. These threads are skills upon which teachers come back to again, again. These skills are the elements with endurance, leverage and required for readiness at the next level of learning. However, many teachers focus on content without explicitly teaching the skills as well. This workshop looks at identification of skills within instructional units and then determining how we are preparing students to grow in their understanding of these skills over time.

PERA law Implementation: Student Growth

Illinois Administrative Code Part 50 causes major changes to teacher evaluations in Illinois. This talk looks at how to approach those changes, early research in implementation and pros and cons to various approaches.

KATC Academy Workshops

These 6 hour presentations are designed to give a full, well rounded understanding of the key topics. All are ISBE approved courses for Administrator Academy Credit. A 30 day notice to the State Board of Education is required for registrants. Contact us for details.

Quality Assessment Design:

(IL Admin Academy #1603) Assessment literacy is an important skill for evaluators and educators alike. This workshop looks at the major elements of assessment design. Participants will discuss the nuts and bolts of the decisions that go into creating high quality assessments, the blueprint of an assessment including the topics assessed and the complexity of the items, and the choices teachers make to better align the assessments to prepare students for the PARCC assessment and the Common Core Expectations. The workshop will examine performance assessments and quality rubrics as well as assessment reliability. Playing a role of determining student strengths and weaknesses for future lesson design as well as monitoring and documenting the growth of all students, quality assessments can be used to gather formative data about student learning, and help teachers pivot teaching to meet the needs of all students. Participants will look at ways to collect data, use data and apply quality assessment practices to the measurement of student growth for both teaching and evaluation purposes.

The SLO Toolkit: Making Student Learning Objectives (SLOs) Work
(IL Admin Academy #1736) Make the most out of the SLO Process! The Student Learning Objective Tool (SLO) is a great framework for educator and evaluator evidence based conversations of what works (and doesn’t work) for each unique group of students.  Lets look at what works in SLOs and the psychology of the evaluation conversation:  how to do this with a positive atmosphere!  This course will teach administrators about best practices in the SLO process, current research, quality assessment tools, using historical data to write ambitious yet realistic goals and strategies for enhancing the impact of the process through teacher feedback.  Through this course, participants will learn how to apply current research to improve their school/district SLO process and how to coach teacher through assessment selection and goal writing.  Participants will learn about ways to frame conversations around SLOs including: how to ask about key SLO elements, types of quality follow up questions, advice for revisions, and more.

Rigorous Growth Goals and Effective Data Use:

(IL Admin Academy #1611) Data literacy is a cornerstone of understanding student learning and growth. Good assessments provide good data about student learning and growth only if used properly to help teachers pivot instruction to meet the needs of all students. The workshop will break down how to look at data sets with a strategy, how to manage the collection and interpretation, and how to pull out information to inform instruction. Writing good growth goals doesn’t have to be complicated. This course looks at goals that “work” and those that don’t and why, as well as ways to develop shortcuts and tools to assist in a growth goal process in the district. This course will break down the process of developing and writing rigorous yet reasonable growth goals and how to increase inter-rater reliability in rating growth goals. The workshop will look at how to use historical data to support the goal writing process.

Effective Implementation of Student Growth Measures:

(IL Admin Academy #1515) This course will teach administrators how to manage the measurement of student growth in classrooms and on evaluations. Using student growth on evaluations doesn’t have to be so hard; it doesn’t have to meet so much resistance. This course will focus on leveraging current Common Core alignment work to meet upcoming state requirements, best practices for laying assessment development groundwork, and how to begin the important discussions necessary to comply with the new PERA law in a meaningful way. This overview covers the necessary assessment development process, preparing to look at growth data in the district, the SLO process and goal writing. The presentation simplifies the complicated topic of using student growth in evaluations and provides attendees knowledge, resources and tools that can be immediately implemented.

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