Being Loyal to Learning at All Levels of Education


While I was working on the book ‘Bold Moves for Schools’ that I co-authored with Dr. Heidi Hayes Jacobs, we spent a lot of time on the idea of what it means to be a contemporary learner, contemporary teacher, contemporary leader, and contemporary school.


To move towards a contemporary structure requires us to make bold moves such as being loyal to learning. 


What does it mean to be loyal to learning? Being loyal to learning means being committed to the authentic learning process. The authentic learning process uses the cycle of expertise as James Paul Gee would often talk about or acknowledges and embraces failure as a critical part of the learning process.




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How to Keep Our Learners Engaged and Growing in Evolving Learning Environments

Designing Curriculum and Assessment

Presented by Dr. Heidi Hayes Jacobs and Dr. Marie Alcock


Over 4 sessions we will dive into practical and proven approaches to helping school teams make decisions and take action. Recognizing that school faculties must be agile and adapt to various formats whether on-site, on-line, or a hybrid model, our hope is to provide various strategies for each of these approaches.

Session 1: January 13, 2021 | 12p - 3pm
How to design learning experiences on-site, off-site, and on-line that engage students and parents: Learning targets, curriculum layouts, and instructional approaches

Session 2: January 20, 2021 | 12p - 3pm
How to design assessments that have accountability - even when given off-site.

Sponsored by Eastern Suffolk BOCES Professional Development Program

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Creating Meaningful Virtual Learning to Maximize Opportunities in Remote Education


Online Seminar | November 14, 2020

How do we create meaningful virtual learning? How do we maximize the advantages of remote learning by designing activities and assessments that can transform existing curriculum? How can we ensure accountability when we engage with our students at a distance?  In this webinar, we will discuss ways to pursue these goals effectively through:

  • Using the four purposes of assessment and integrating them throughout virtual learning experiences
  • Increasing accountability through drill and practice, rehearsal, authentic performance, and reflection
  • Maximizing the advantages of remote learning by designing activities and assessments that transform existing curriculum
  • Maintaining accountability for students off-site and online through clear alignment to learning targets
  • Providing and supporting self-navigation skills for students to self-regulate, self-motivate, and self-assess
  • Partnering with families by providing critical family facing curriculum, directions, academic support, and social emotional support

This seminar will be led by
Dr. Marie Hubley Alcock

and is suitable for professionals, parents, teachers, and K-12 administrators

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Fall Newsletter | Virtual Support and Professional Development

Tomorrow’s Education Network is a nonprofit dedicated to professional development and curriculum innovation for teachers of tomorrow. Our workshops, live webinars, virtual coaching and curriculum support services help educational leaders create classrooms and school systems that engage and prepare learners for success in the 21st century.


We are scheduling leadership consulting and curriculum coaching sessions with schools nationwide. We're partnering with them to help navigate remote and hybrid school communities, and motivate students through these unprecedented times.

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ES BOCES Online Workshops



LOCATION: Zoom link will be emailed to registrants the day prior

AUDIENCE: K-12 Educators

COST: $ 95 per person, per session for subscribers; $ 125 non-subscribers

August 17, 2020 | 8:30 AM – 10:30 AM

What Can Distance Learning Accountability Look Like? How do we ensure accountability for our students during hybrid or distance learning?  Assessments have 4 different purposes: 1) drill and practice, 2) rehearsal, 3) authentic performance, 4) reflection.  How we design our assessments will impact how effective they are at meeting these purposes. This session focuses on distance learning assessment design and maximizing the accountability of students.

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Teachers are Heroes - Taking on The Challenge of Teaching During a Global Crisis

Now more than ever teachers are being called upon to support social-emotional learning in addition to meeting educational goals. In the face of the Covid-19 pandemic, educators are navigating new technology, new ways of teaching, and unimaginable student stressors all while trying to ‘keep it together’ for themselves and for their families. Teachers are Heroes. They’re showing up to provide comfort and familiarity during uncertain times. They are modeling public learning and adapting quickly to a rapidly evolving educational landscape.


One growing commitment of education has been to provide support for the whole student – that is their academic, physical and emotional well-being. Brick and mortar schools and classrooms are often a respite for children and a controlled learning environment for teachers to set the stage for their students.

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Meaningful Virtual Learning - Maximizing Opportunities in Remote Education

School schedules, learning spaces, student groupings and personnel configurations have all been affected by Covid-19. These educational structures have been disrupted and have to be re-imagined. What ‘Bold Moves’ can we take to ensure that digital learning environments are as effective as traditional ones? The gap between onsite and online learning may not be as wide as we think and used together might be the perfect hybrid learning environment. The approach to learning in a virtual classroom offers opportunities and advantages for students of all types.


In a classroom, teachers are making students feel safe and comfortable, observing body language, assessing readiness for learning and communicating expectations – all of which are possible through video conferencing. After overcoming the learning curve of new technology, the shift for teachers is in pedagogy - how educators use their time online with students makes the biggest difference. Teachers have to understand that some activities are best suited for a traditional classroom and shouldn’t be attempted in a virtual learning space. However, remote education offers opportunities for individualized, personalized and experiential learning that engages students and is efficient and effective for academic performance.


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Spring Newsletter | Online Learning Safety and Opportunities for Educators

Deliver Online Learning Safely

I hope this message finds you well and curious about the future of education. Teaching and learning online offers a unique opportunity to engage faculty and students in a novel way. Virtual classrooms support mastery of digital tools as well as collaboration with broad and diverse learning communities.


Videoconferencing tools have made it easy for us to connect and communicate even when we have to be #togetherapart – but are they safe? A recent FBI report warns of teleconferencing and online classroom dangers with popular platforms.


We take comfort in knowing that our online classrooms via Learning Link are secure and private and that we are taking every precaution to ensure the safety of our students and colleagues.

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Winter Newsletter | Remarkable Learning Environments

Designing Structures for Modern Learning

If we have new kinds of learners, then we need refreshed contemporary and responsive learning environments. We need new kinds of schools. Even if the most creative and competent teachers shape an emerging curriculum employing dynamic learning strategies, they will be restricted - and most important, their students will be restricted - by the parameters of the school program.


Bold Moves Boot Camp is a 2-day workshop that examines expanding the options for each of the four structures that make modern learning possible: schedules, learning spaces, student grouping, and personnel configurations. We will look at the relationship between these structures, and how to research and develop programs tailored to the student population in your school. Action plans will be developed onsite.

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Fall Newsletter | Curriculum Mapping In School and Online

Thinking About Curriculum Mapping

Curriculum Mapping can be described as the relationship between two sides of a coin. The first side is the creation of a database which includes the essential elements of a curriculum map. The other side of the coin is the review process - examining, discussing and revising maps within and across disciplines and grade levels. Dr. Marie Hubley Alcock provides an overview of curriculum mapping, connections to standards and essential questions, unit planing, assessment design and more in Curriculum Mapping 101 Online. This 10-module video course walks teachers through the curriculum mapping process from definition to critical assessments. The self-paced program includes downloadable templates and resources and is available to all TEN List Digital Library subscribers.

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Curriculum Mapping and Assessment Design


Two Day Boot Camp | Patchogue, NY

During this workshop we will briefly review your schools curriculum mapping mission and strategy, and focus on implementation, integrating assessment data and upgrading unit maps for contemporary learners.

During this workshop we will guide each participant through:

  •     an overview of curriculum mapping
  •     aligning curriculum and assessment to standards
  •     integrating digital, media, and global into teaching and learning
  •     developing an action plan for moving the work forward at your school
  •     drafting a quality unit map' as a professional development mode
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Happy Spring! Workshops & Professional Development Planning

For many students the feel of Spring means that Summer is near. For faculty though, it's that 'special time' when we're both preparing for the end-of-year crunch and thinking about how to improve teaching and learning for next year.

We're delighted to offer unique options and opportunities to administrators and teachers who are engaged in curriculum upgrades, interested in contemporary instructional strategies, and/or focused on assessment design.

Our services are delivered through a series of onsite leadership consulting, step-by-step curriculum coaching, and meeting facilitation for school boards and parent groups. We also offer virtual options for teams in need of curriculum audits or other remote support.

In addition, we're happy to partner with schools and school districts to offer Boot Camp Workshops featuring Drs. Heidi Hayes Jacobs and Marie Alcock. The popular Curriculum Mapping and Bold Moves for Schools workshops, offer specialized topics, tools and time to develop a strategy with your team, and personalized on the spot consulting from Heidi and Marie.

Learn more about our Boot Camp Workshops.

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Learning and The Brain Conference - Promoting Social Skills, Interactions, and Collaborations in a Digital Age

Teaching Social Skills In a Digital Age

Children today spend more time using digital devices than ever before, but it has come with a loss of face-to-face interaction and social skills. A 2018 Pew Research Center study found that with 95 percent of U.S. teens now having access to a smartphone, 45 percent feel overwhelmed by social media drama, 48 percent feel they don't fit in with peers, and 36 percent feel they have too little face-to-face time with friends. However, brain and psychological research has shown that having face-to-face interactions and developing social skills are essential for learning, making lasting friendships, and for academic and career success. Join us in New York to explore how our brains are wired for face-to-face social interactions, how digital devices are affecting social skills development and addiction, and how social groups, and using classroom collaborations improve learning. Discover ways to help all students, including the socially awkward and those with autism, feel accepted, make friends, and develop the social and emotional skills needed for school and life success.

Follow on Twitter (@learningandtheb / #latb53) for conference updates and news

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New Year, New Professional Development Goals

Learning Systems Associates is proud to support school organizations that are embracing curriculum change, contemporary instruction, and assessments that are authentic and standards based.

Dr. Marie Alcock works personally with school leaders and faculty to improve curriculum and transform learning environments to meet district and state-wide goals, while providing students with meaningful and measurable learning outcomes.


New Jersey Schools: Invite Marie to your school for a leadership meeting, strategic planning session or curriculum review and we will schedule a virtual planning and review session follow-up, at no additional cost. Or, partner with us to host a 1, 2 or 3 Day Professional Development Workshop at your campus. Partnering schools experience increased faculty engagement, broader connections to neighboring school groups, 20% discount on registration fee's and a complimentary full-day strategic planning session with Dr. Alcock.

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Bold Moves for Schools | Bring 'Bold Moves' To Your School

Learn more about this project at:


In November 2018, Dr. Heidi Hayes Jacobs and Dr. Marie Hubley Alcock, for the second year in a row, began a series of professional development sessions with Tri-State Consortium.


Sessions are offered so that school and district teams might:

  •     Develop long term strategic plans to engage community
  •     Share existing plans and obtain feedback review
  •     Consider program structure research ties to program goals
  •     Examine case studies
  •     Develop PD for faculty
  •     Build and share upgraded curriculum units
  •     Sharing long term and short personalized learning exemplars
  •     Revise assessment and evidence analysis
  •     Build community and parent support process and samples

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Five Tenets to Shape Education Policy

When thinking about education policy around assessments, Bold Moves for Schools proposes 5 tenets to transform accountability, leadership and performance in schools.

  1. Authentic Student Work -- Authentic student product or performance should be the goal
  2. Realistic Audience Feedback -- Feedback connected to the purpose of the product or performance can be gathered from an audience outside of the classroom
  3. Long-Term Projects -- Long term projects where deeper learner can occur should be favored over short-term memorization of processes and ideas
  4. Collaborative Assessment Design -- Teachers and students can work collaboratively to identify indicators of innovation for assessment purposes
  5. Self-Navigating Learners -- Students as self-navigating professional learners can monitor, reflect upon and feel connected to their personal learning path and progress
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What's Wrong With Standardized Testing Anyway?


In a previous blog post we stated, "Standardized testing has its place in education, however, it is insufficient and has the potential for far-reaching unintended consequences." Here we'll discuss 4 detrimental outcomes of standardized testing.


Misuse of Data

Standardized tests used to rank learners, faculty and schools assess a few limited proficiencies but falls short of measuring what we value as learning – that which is educationally significant. This singular method does not factor in varying student conditions and environmental factors that impact scoring. In addition, grading practices are inconsistent state to state and scorers are often encouraged to favor quantity over quality reviews.

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Contemporary Assessments for Innovative Schools


Educators and policymakers have a unique relationship – they share responsibility for shaping learning systems and preparing students for an interconnected and ever-changing world. We often think of teachers and administrators on one side and legislators on the other in a virtual tug-of-war, each side firmly planted in ideologies that inform programs and regulations. On the contrary, diversity of thought exists among teachers, administrators, superintendents, unions, governors, legislators, taxpayers, parents and students. And in fact, we’re all in this together.


Accountability and assessment methods emerge as the single most contentious policy topic. While policymakers have the extraordinary task of making decisions that impact all aspects of education, faculty struggle with administering programs that are meaningful, effective and result in satisfactory test results.

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Habits of Mind and Generation Alpha, with Special Guest Bena Kallick

Contributed by: Marie Alcock, Michael Fisher, Allison Zmuda

This month, we are very excited to be joined by the wonderful Bena Kallick, co-founder of the Habits of Mind Institute, and author of the recent Students at the Center: Personalized Learning with Habits of Mind, written with Allison Zmuda.

Last August, we wrote a blog post entitled “Meet Generation Alpha: Teaching the Newest Generation of Students.” In the post, we described the unique needs of the newest generation of learners entering our classrooms right now... [click below to keep reading]

How the Design of Learning Goals Can Launch a Student Quest

Contributed by: Marie Alcock, Michael Fisher, Allison Zmuda

Learning-goal maps are a way to organize a learning experience that focuses on the demonstration of learning first, then aligns other elements of the experience accordingly. It also creates an opportunity to co-create with students using a student version of learning goal maps.

This month, we’d like to share a recent upgraded experience we wrote with a media arts teacher using new arts standards in New York State and show you the associated student version as a model for upgrading your own and your students’ learning experiences... [click below to keep reading]