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Memorandum of Understanding between the UW AIM Center and Seattle Schools

May 4th, 2009

This Memorandum of Understanding describes the collaboration between Seattle Public Schools and the University of Washington Center of Action, Inquiry, and Motivation in Education (AIM Center).  This collaboration involves: Michael Tolley, SPS Director of Secondary Education; Princess Shareef, Principal of Cleveland High School; Professor Margery Ginsberg, University of Washington College of Education, and Catherine Brown, UW doctoral student & Cleveland teacher-leader.

Theory of Action for Professional Learning at Cleveland High School

  • Professional learning should be grounded in a common language for effective work across disciplines; at Cleveland, that is the language of the Motivational Framework for Culturally Responsive Teaching. 
  • Student and teacher motivation is a central concern in teaching and learning and the Motivational Framework for Culturally Responsive Teaching is relevant to district priorities – including instructional practices related to project-based learning and other STEM priorities
  • Professional learning should be aligned with and supported by district and administrative initiatives, in order to be experienced as coherent and purposeful by staff.

UW College of Education Commitments

The University of Washington agrees to provide resources and time through the coordination of UW teacher education student interns, a UW Danforth leadership intern, teacher stipends for action research through the Ackerley Partner School Network, on-site support of Cleveland faculty who are enrolled in the Leadership for Learning (L4L) doctoral program. In addition, Dr. Ginsberg will teach a UW graduate course at Cleveland, as she has in the past, to implement and examine professional learning activities and cycles of inquiry. 

In addition to support for Cleveland High School, The AIM Center is committed to practice scholarship that unites theory and action for the ongoing transformation of urban high schools throughout Seattle.  When appropriate and mutually agreed upon by Principal Shareef and Professor Ginsberg, AIM will honor requests from other schools to:

·      learn professional learning strategies

·      explore new ways to align school improvement practices through cycles of action and inquiry and

·      observe and experience instructional practice that supports intrinsic motivation across student groups.

Seattle Schools Commitments

To further this goal, Seattle Schools will work with the AIM Center to support Cleveland High School as a professional learning laboratory for teachers and leaders on topics such as:

1) home visits focused on family strengths and “funds of knowledge”, 2) lesson design anchored in a motivational framework for culturally responsive teaching, 3) lesson study and other forms of instructional collaboration, 4) data conferences and portfolios, 5) collaborative “walk-throughs”; 6) innovations in family and community involvement, and 7) student leadership development.

Seattle Schools agrees that all professional development activities at Cleveland will be coordinated through the AIM Center and will preclude the involvement of external consultants.

Cleveland High School and the Seattle Public Schools agree to provide space for the AIM Center at Cleveland High School from SY 2009 to 2012.  (For SY 2009-10, space has been secured).

With the permission of Cleveland High School, Seattle Schools will partner with the AIM Center to seek funding and resources for center activities.

We look forward to forms of reciprocal collaboration to support, develop, and examine systems of professional learning for the benefit of students at Cleveland High School and throughout Seattle Schools.