Professional Learning Hot Topic Webinars

Washington Educational Research Association (WERA) offers members professional learning webinars called “Hot Topics”.  These educational webinars provide timely, relevant information and are typically hosted by people in the field that hold an interest and expertise related to the chosen topic.  

Hot Topics: Remote Learning Panel Series

The Remote Learning Panel is a special series of WERA Hot Topics addressing the challenges with assessment that school districts face during the pandemic when buildings are closed and learning is remote. The series is organized by Brian Gabele, Director of Assessment and Program Evaluation with Clover Park School District.


Remote Learning Panel, August 18, 2020 – Identifying English Language Learners in the Virtual Classroom 

How do we identify students who will need English language development support when we are not able to screen in-person with ELPA21? This session tackles that issue with the experts from OSPI: Veronica Maria Gallardo, the Director of Migrant & Bilingual Education, Leslie Huff, the English Language Proficiency Assessment Coordinator, and Amy Ingram, Bilingual Program Supervisor. After the presentation from the OSPI team, Kent School District’s Director of Multilingual Education, Will Williams, moderated a panel discussion. The panel wrestled with how to implement this new process for provisionally identified students and provide communication for their families.

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Remote Learning Panel, August 12, 2020 – Virtually Administering WaKIDS Assessment

As Washington schools plan for starting school remotely, how teacher collect evidence for the observational assessment component of WaKIDS in kindergarten programs requires adaptations and creativity. OSPI’s Director of Early Learning, Karma Hugo, and WaKIDS Assessment Specialist Yoona Park presented the latest on WaKIDS, including new resources from OSPI and Teaching Strategies GOLD. Following the presentation, a panel of early learning educators responded to the information from OSPI, answered questions from the field, and shared strategies for success. Panelists were Alyssa Hayes, from Tahoma School District, Jessica Wallace from Bellingham Public Schools, Laurie Sjolund from Sumner-Bonney Lake School District, Lindsay Callahan from Clover Park School District and Whitney White from Puget Sound ESD.

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Hot Topics Webinar on April 28, 2020 - ClimeTime Professional Learning and Instructional Resources

Across Washington, the students have been learning about the scientific dimensions of climate change through ClimeTime. This initiative is facilitated by the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) —in collaboration with the UW Institute for Science + Math Education—through a Washington State budget proviso since 2018-2019 originally requested by Governor Inslee. Watch this webinar to learn more about professional development opportunities through the network of nine Educational Service Districts and six community-based organizations (CBOs) that address the Next Generation Science Standards and climate science.  During the webinar, Hilary Loeb with Puget Sound Educational Service District, Deb Morrison from the University of Washington and Ellen Ebert from OSPI will shared lessons learned from the first year of the project and resources for teacher and home based learning.

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Hot Topics Webinar on March 10, 2020 – Inclusionary Practices Project Takes Flight!

Last session the legislature appropriated $25 million to OSPI for the Inclusionary Practices Project, an opportunity to grow, deepen and enhance professional development and K-12 systems to support core instruction in general education settings for all students, including students with disabilities. The project has launched and is in flight. View this webinar to hear from OSPI leaders and partners about the project’s navigation and destinations now and in the school year to come.

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Hot Topics Webinar on October 21, 2019- Washington State Dyslexia Advisory Council

WERA held a “Hot Topics” webinar on October 21, 2019.  It focused on the charge of the Washington State Dyslexia Advisory Council, their recent work to identify literacy screening tools and what this means to districts across Washington. Presenters on the webinar were: Aira Jackson, OSPI English Language Arts Director and Dyslexia Advisory Council members - Molly Branson-Thayer, Senior Director at Cultivate Learning at the University of Washington, and Elizabeth Coon, Literacy Specialist in Seattle Public Schools. Facilitating the discussion was Nasue Nishida, WERA Board Member and Executive Director at the Center for Strengthening the Teaching Profession.

Click here to view the webinar.