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BLUE Institute expected to draw 500 to 600 teachers

A capacity crowd of 500 to 600 CMSD teachers will gather at the first-ever BLUE Institute, a week of training that will set the tone for a rapidly approaching school year.

The training program, the largest ever offered by the District, will begin Monday, July 28 at Cuyahoga Community College’s Corporate College East in Warrensville Heights. Sessions will run from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. daily through Friday.

“We’ve maxed out Corporate College,” said Michael DeFabbo, who is coordinating media coverage of the project for the Department of Curriculum and Instruction. “Our goal next year is to move to the Convention Center and open it up to more CMSD teachers.”

BLUE stands for Build, Lead, Utilize and Engage (in a dynamic learning environment). DeFabbo said the teachers will learn how to make use of instructional and community resources to create an atmosphere that is academically challenging, respectful and safe.

The institute also will serve as an unveiling of “content alignment” work that matches instruction across the District with new state assessments and measures students’ progress. The work builds on previous efforts to synchronize instruction at schools so students who move during the year can pick up where they left off.

The teachers are not being paid for their time -- nor are they paying to attend -- but they can earn graduate credit from Cleveland State or Ashland universities.

Each of the teachers will receive a CMSD-owned computer tablet that they will use during the training. They will follow the training’s itinerary on the tablet and learn how to incorporate the device in instruction.

They can keep the tablet for as long as they remain with the District, using it to track their students’ data and access training, instructional material and other resources.

The teachers also will be given digital “badges” that will keep record of their attendance and course completion at the institute.

Speakers will include Cleveland schools Chief Executive Officer Eric Gordon; Bill McBride, a novelist, textbook consultant for Houghton Mifflin Harcourt and teacher trainer; Dr. Michael Roizen, chief of the Cleveland Clinic’s Wellness Institute; Kirsten Ellenbogen, CEO of the Great Lakes Science Center; Dr. Susan Szachowicz, senior fellow at the International Center for Leadership in Education; and David Dockterman, founder of Tom Snyder Productions, a software developer owned by Scholastic Education, and a lecturer in the graduate Technology, Innovation and Education Program at Harvard University.

The institute resulted from collaboration between Chief Academic Officer Michelle Pierre-Farid. Deputy Chief of Curriculum and Instruction Karen Thompson and Cleveland Teachers Union officials Mark Baumgartner and Deb Paden.

Pearson Education is the institute’s lead sponsor. Other sponsors include the College Board, Fuel Education, Curriculum Associates, From the Heart international Educational Services, Youth Opportunities Unlimited, Edmentum, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Scholastic Education, McGraw Hill, Lakeshore Learning, Imagine Learning, the Cleveland Clinic, Vitamix, Movband and Esperanza.