What is the REN?

Mar 19, 2021 | Success Stories

Where can a teacher, paraeducator, and administrator all find relevant professional learning that doesn’t make them sorry they showed up?

The REN (Regional Educator Network) invites all educators, regardless of role, to build learning together in a flexible and engaging environment. 2020 has been challenging for everyone (as have the first few months of 2021).

As educators, we know how hard it is for our students to learn when they’re experiencing stress or trauma – but educators have been asked to learn dozens of new skills in the past year. They’ve risen to the occasion, but incorporating this new knowledge into their practice is an additional challenge. More hours of “sit and get” professional learning isn’t the answer for educators exhausted from long hours on screens. The LMS Solutions project approached this challenge by developing the REN – a flexible model for a professional learning community that welcomes all educators to share their own learning and expertise, ask questions, and honor their own background knowledge while engaging on their own schedule and at their own pace.

How did we do this?

Our model is fairly simple. Educators can earn up to 25 clock hours with a combination of live (synchronous) and asynchronous online learning. Participants gather for presentations around monthly themes tied to other statewide initiatives, delivered by fellow educators and teacher leaders, and share ideas both statewide and in their local region. They make connections with other educators, learn how to support students and each other regardless of their role or position, and most importantly, apply their learning to their work. During each live REN meeting, participants can choose which session to attend from a menu of options based upon that month’s theme. Choosing their own sessions keeps the content relevant and gives the participants choice and voice. Each session is recorded and then shared in the virtual Educator Hub, so participation is not time-bound–participants can access and learn any time that works for them.

What participants are saying!

Thank you for this! It is a lot but it is really helpful and informative. I am an introvert at heart so I do enjoy this type of professional development and that I can go at my pace. I also get some digital social interaction with teachers outside of my district.

Loved the sessions. I wish I could have attended them all live but can’t wait to go in and check the rest of them out later.

The neuroscience presentation gave me a lot of excellent ideas to use in the classroom.

I really enjoyed John’s session on how to include remote learners during in-person instruction. This is something that has been on my mind, with our first day of in-person learning quickly approaching.

This has been the BEST PD SERIES ever. <3 Thank you for the time and effort to make this so awesome!

See for yourself!

If you’re an educator in any role, whether or not you work in Washington state, please join us! For a taste of our offerings, see our past agendas for February and March. In our live sessions, we’ve already covered topics like:

  • Building Community in a Virtual Teaching Environment
  • How to Use Hexagonal Thinking to Unlock Discussion
  • Centering Student Voice—What makes a powerful educator?

Our Educator Hub contains interest-based participatory communities based around these topics and others, including digital solutions for current classroom problems, LMS support and certification, and more. We hope to see you there!