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Getting Smart Podcast

Aug 26, 2020

Today on the podcast, Tom Vander Ark is joined by Ron Berger.

Ron has been teaching for 40 years and is currently the Chief Academic Officer at EL Education. He’s also the author of some popular books you may have heard of! One of which, Leaders of Their Own Learning: Transforming Schools Through Student-Engaged Assessment, is one of Getting Smart’s favorites.

Last year, Ron joined the Getting Smart podcast to discuss a companion piece to Leaders of Their Own Learning. (If you missed it, be sure to check out episode 222, linked below!)

In this episode, Ron is joining the podcast once again to discuss his newest book, We Are Crew: A Teamwork Approach to School Culture, that he wrote in collaboration with Anne Vilen and Libby Woodfin. At EL Education, ‘crew’ is the culture and the advisory structure. We Are Crew details secrets to create secondary schools that promote academics and character development.

Listen in to hear about how crew as a culture and structure is transforming schools!


Key Takeaways:

[:10] About today’s episode with Ron Berger.

[1:00] Tom welcomes Ron back to the podcast.

[1:07] Ron speaks about the impact his previously published book, Leaders of Their Own Learning, has had on schools, educators, and students.

[2:17] How the timing of Ron’s new book, We Are Crew, came out at an opportune time with the current global pandemic.

[3:42] What is ‘crew’ as culture? How is it different from traditional public schools?

[8:41] What is the structure of crew?

[9:43] How the crew model varies between elementary and secondary schools.

[11:20] The role that crew fulfills in a high school.

[13:29] About crew’s post-secondary planning and goal-setting.

[14:42] Why is it hard for homeroom advisories in high school to be done well? And how can they be improved?

[17:38] What makes crew particularly successful?

[19:45] Chapters 4-7 in We Are Crew cover the specific jobs that crew does for EL Schools. In Chapter 4, the book details how to help young people become effective learners. Ron further elaborates on this and details how crew helps them understand themselves as a learner.

[22:15] Chapter 5 in We Are Crew is about becoming ethical people. Ron shares how crew aids in that.

[24:55] Chapter 6 is on contributions. Ron elaborates on how crew helps young people understand contributions and begin to make their own, unique contributions.

[26:51] Chapter 7 talks about post-secondary. Ron adds his thoughts on how educators can help young people imagine possible futures.

[30:04] Tom and Ron reflect on the timeliness of We Are Crew.

[31:13] Where to find Ron and access free EL Education resources online.


Mentioned in This Episode:

Ron Berger

EL Education

Leaders of Their Own Learning: Transforming Schools Through Student-Engaged Assessment,
by Ron Berger, Leah Rugen, Libby Woodfin, and EL Education

Getting Smart Podcast Ep. 222: “Ron Berger on Helping Students Become Leaders of Their Own Learning

We Are Crew: A Teamwork Approach to School Culture, by Ron Berger, Anne Vilen, and Libby Woodfin


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