Schoolin' Around, Your K-12 Education Podcast
New Episodes Every Other Tuesday
Dive deep into conversations about the current reality of K-12 education with Branching Minds' podcast, Schoolin' Around.
Schoolin' Around is a bi-weekly podcast hosted by Branching Minds, featuring prominent leaders, subject-matter experts, and thought innovators with their perspectives on the current challenges, burning topics, innovations, and new ideas in K-12 education.
This podcast dives deep into the current reality of our education system. Through the collaboration and insight of our guests, Schoolin' Around connects challenges to solutions, tackling the big problems and questions related to education—with a bit of fun thrown in. After all, sometimes you just need to School Around.
MTSS + Tech = Magic: Solving Educators' Pain Points With Emily-Rose Barry, VP of Product
When a teacher uses educational technology, there can be frustrations about its uses in the classroom, its functionality, and its purpose. Our newest guest seeks to help make technology work FOR educators, not against them.
In this episode, we talk with Emily-Rose Barry, the VP of Product at Branching Minds. Much like many of our guests, her journey began in the classroom as a student wondering how learning worked. Our conversation covers her accidental journey to her current role and how technology assists educators in doing their job better.
Emily-Rose Barry has worked in Education Technology in roles overseeing Product and Customer Success for the past ten years. Before joining the world of agile software development, she taught reading and writing at every level, from early childhood to college, administered special programs for an adult literacy nonprofit, and published short fiction and poetry as a freelance writer. She co-founded ProductTank Buffalo, a local community for networking and professional development.
How Student Wellness Impacts Academic Outcomes With Dr. Essie Sutton
Recent research on students’ mental and emotional health has revealed a dire need for educational professionals to do something to help. More than 15% of students have had a depressive episode in this last year. And many parents believe their students would benefit from mental health assistance.
Our guest for this episode, Dr. Essie Sutton, an applied developmental psychologist, has made it her job to learn more about how social-emotional learning and mental health support can actually help students. In this episode, we discuss how teachers use evidence-based practices in the classroom, the need for a deeper understanding of student wellness, and what she is learning from her work.
Academia Meets K-12 Technology: A Personal Journey of Chief Product Officer Dr. Eva Dundas
Have you ever thought about how you can think different thoughts and how your brain works? Beginning from childhood, this week’s guest loved to think about how people think. Dr. Eva Dundas and I sat down to chat about how a Dr. of Developmental and Cognitive Psychology became a Chief Product Officer for an EdTech company.
We dive into how she went from being an academic research scientist to seeking a role to apply her knowledge and see research in action. I was most excited to talk with her about why learning science isn’t what some may believe it to be and why teachers should be called Learning Engineers.
Always a Learner: Transition From Teacher to EDTech CEO With Maya Gat Part 2
The best leaders are the ones that know they can’t be an expert at everything. They often continue to learn and seek out other experts to join their team. In this episode, Part 2 of our conversation with former educator turned Edtech CEO, Maya Gat, she continues to lean into the idea of humility and the power of learning.
She expands on how she is always a learner and how she translated her skills as a teacher to her role leading a company.
“Why Not Me?” Transition From Teacher to EdTech CEO With Maya Gat Part 1
Every compelling story has an unlikely hero, someone on an adventure to solve a problem, find a treasure, or save the day. We have the privilege of hearing one of these great stories for this episode. Former teacher Maya Gat shares with us how she became the CEO and Co-Founder of Branching Minds. This episode is part one of the conversation. We cover where it all started, her journey to be a teacher, and what has continued to compel her in her work today. Tune in for part two in a few weeks!
50 Years of Leadership in RTI/MTSS: A Conversation with W. Alan Coulter, PhD, and Eva Dundas, PhD
Since the purpose of this podcast is to bring you conversations with practitioners and experts from the field, to discuss the challenges of supporting students and schools, we had to share a special episode featuring Dr. Alan Coulter and Dr. Eva Dundas. In this episode, originally recorded for our 2022 MTSS Summit, Dr. Eva Dundas, Branching Minds Chief Product Officer, sat down with Dr. Coulter to discuss his experience leading RTI/MTSS as an educator, psychologist, and consultant over the past 50 years.
Dr. Coulter is a licensed psychologist and organizational development consultant (Directions & Resources Group), providing technical assistance, professional learning, and executive coaching in school improvement. For more than 52 years, Alan has been an educator involved in school improvement at the local, state, and national levels. Currently, he provides technical assistance in support of a Multi-Tiered System of Supports (MTSS) and improvement of results in special education using principles of improvement science and implementation science to states and local schools. He is keenly interested and involved in the design, implementation, and evaluation of efforts to improve results.
Dr. Coulter is also a Research Associate at the Center for Applied Research & Educational Improvement (CAREI) collaborating with colleagues in program evaluation of Multi-Tiered System of Supports (MTSS), Response to Intervention (RTI), and special education programs. For CAREI, Alan also currently serves on the Intensive Support Team of the Wisconsin Minnesota Comprehensive Center. Alan is a consultant to Com-Link, a firm providing intensive technical assistance to the Michigan Department of Education, Office of Special Education on accountability and improvement of results.
Sign up here for the follow-up Q/A webinar with Dr. Coulter on Jan. 19th!
MTSS is Finding the Right Intervention with Jenna Blank
For our final episode of the “Voices from the Field” series, we are talking with Jenna Blank, who is an educator at Livonia Elementary School in a small, rural community of Livonia, in Western New York.
Jenna has been an educator for 14 years and 3 years ago took on a new position of coordinating the RTI/MTSS process for her school and loves being about to work closely with teachers and families in support of students. Previously she had been a classroom teacher and reading specialist. She continues to teach PreK in the mornings and loves the ability to focus on early foundational skills with her little ones!
MTSS Requires Shifting Mindsets with Tiffany Studivant
We are excited to share our conversation with Tiffany Studivant, who is in her 11th year with Clark County School District in Athens, Georgia. Her energy and enthusiasm for her work are contagious.
Tiffany has extensive experience in supporting students and families at the school level as well as supporting building leaders at the district -level. After nine years as an elementary Special Education Teacher and Team leader, Tiffany joined the district’s support staff in her current role. She currently serves as a District MTSS Implementation Specialist, coaching and guiding 14 building-level Elementary MTSS coordinators with the overall implementation of the MTSS framework.
The Power of MTSS as a Collaborative Problem-Solving Process with Dr. Lydia Williams
For our third installment of “Voices from the Field” we have the opportunity to hear from another excellent educator, Dr. Lydia Williams from Long Island, New York.
Dr. Williams is an educational leader, administrator, and scholar with over 17 years of experience in elementary education. Her prior roles as a classroom teacher, academic intervention specialist, and International Baccalaureate Primary Years Programme coordinator have all converged to influence her current work as an MTSS coordinator for the district of North Bellmore in Long Island, New York. In our conversation, we discuss how a Multi-Tiered System of Supports helps provide students with what they need to thrive.
“MTSS Is More Than Just an Intervention” With Trisha Senne
Continuing our series highlighting “Voices from the Field,” we sit down with another superb educator, Trisha Senne, from Elk Grove Village, Illinois.
Trisha started her career as a special education teacher, then transitioned to be a behavior and learning consultant for the district before landing her current role as the Coordinator of Assessment & MTSS for the Community Consolidated School District 59. In this episode, we talk about how data collection can impact how a school helps students feel like they belong and how schools and communities can be transformed when there is a solid system or framework in place.
“MTSS Is Equity With its Work Boots On” - A Conversation With Donna Cross
To kick off our podcast, we are featuring a few remarkable educators in a series called “Voices from the Field.” These are education rockstars, leaders in their school communities, and serving to support students and teachers.
Today, we begin our podcast with Donna Cross, the Director of MTSS and SEL in Evanston Skokie School District 65 in Illinois. We talk about how MTSS or a Multi-Tiered System of Supports can provide students with what they need when they need it. She also shares how her journey began with her childhood experiences and shaped her approach to supporting students.