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Participants in Workshop 6
Whittier High School, [ Web site ] in Whittier, California, 25 miles east of Los Angeles, serves approximately 1800 students from a wide variety of socio-economic backgrounds. All students live in the community and about 70% are Hispanic, 25% Anglo, and the remaining 5% are Black, Asian, or American Indian. Whittier has been a member of the Coalition of Essential Schools for several years. The school community is committed to maximizing student potential by first establishing high expectations and then applying a variety of assessment and accountability models. Teachers are encouraged to grow professionally through collaboration, membership in Critical Friends Groups, and training in the use of educational technology.
Albert Castillo [ photo ] was a principal at Frontier High School, assistant principal at Alhambra High School, and now is in his third year as principal of Whittier High School in Whittier, California. Mr. Castillo holds a B.A. in English with a minor in Spanish, from the University of La Verne in California. His M.A. in counseling and administration is from California State University at Los Angeles. He taught English for six years at Gladstone High School. Looking for a new format for observation and evaluation of teachers, he attended the Annenberg Institute Critical Friends program, and from that experience he developed a peer mentoring or "consultancy group" program of evaluation. Briefly this program has three parts: observation of a classroom situation by a team composed of a lead teacher, an administrator, a Critical Friends coach, and a new teacher; a debriefing afterwards involving these people and the teacher being evaluated and using the Critical Friends protocols; and a final meeting between the teacher and the principal.
Barbara Alcala is chair of the mathematics department at Whittier High School, and a mentor teacher. She is an eighth-generation Californian with a B.A. and M.A. in History from Holy Name College in Oakland. Prior to Whittier, she taught for 15 years in private schools in Oakland, Santa Monica, and Alhambra. She is a member of several government panels and committees and a Math/Science Fellow. She works on staff development with her teachers, and feels that good staff development should ask not just "What can I do in my classroom tomorrow?", but more basically, "What questions can I ask myself about my own teaching, my own classroom?".
Harry Estes, whose degree is in biochemistry from Whittier College, is in his second year of teaching math and science at Whittier High School. He has found that his consultancy group guides him to become a better teacher.
Kirsten Leoniak [ photo ] is a lead teacher at Whittier High School, the chair of a restructuring effort, and one of the Critical Friends coaches there. She teaches 9th grade humanities and has worked from the beginning with the consultancy group program.
Dina Leslie [ photo ] is a lead teacher at Whittier High School, as well as a 10th grade biology teacher. She has a B.S. in Biology with a minor in psychology from the University of California, Irvine, and has recently received an M.S. in Administration from Pepperdine University. She has participated in the Math/Science Fellows Program and is currently a Critical Friends Group coach. She has been involved in her school's consultancy group program.
Central East Middle School in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, has approximately 1180 students and one of the most diverse populations in Philadelphia. It has a self-contained fifth grade and 6th through 8th grade grouped together in learning communities.
Wendy Shapiro [ photo ] is the new principal of Central East Middle School, having come from being principal at a nearby elementary school. She is a coach of a Critical Friends Group consisting of principals mostly from the Olney cluster of Philadelphia schools. Being part of a CFG has made her more reflective, and more able to get feedback from other principals about problems she faces in administering her school.
Deborah Bambino [ photo ] is a Critical Friends Coach and Science Leader at Central East Middle School. She is currently teaching seventh and eighth grade science and technology. She came to teaching 11 years ago, after raising her children and returning to school for teacher training. She finds that her CFG is essential in her efforts to reflect upon and improve her teaching. In the next period, she hopes to actively expand the use of protocols throughout her school with teachers, parents, and students, as they strive to make their teaching public.
Nancy Love [ photo ] is a staff developer and researcher for the Regional Alliance for Mathematics and Science Education Reform at TERC in Cambridge, Massachusetts. She is developing a handbook for schools on systemic reform in mathematics and science education. A seasoned staff developer, she has worked with hundreds of schools nationwide in professional development design, implementation of effective instructional and organizational practices, and change management. She served on the staff of the National Institute for Science Education Professional Development Project, as state facilitator for the National Diffusion Network, and as director of Cooperative Learning Services at The NETWORK, Inc., in Andover, Massachusetts.