Gates Foundation Visit at Helen Cox
On November 13, 2014, the newly appointed CEO of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Susan Desmond-Hellman, and the Director of College and Career Readiness, Vicki Phillips, made a visit Helen Cox High School in hopes of seeing the Literacy Design Collaborative in action. The foundation’s effort in North America focuses on education and a large part of their work is ensuring that teachers have access to great tools and collaborative efforts that support them in implementing the Common Core State Standards as well as general great instructional practices. The Literacy Design Collaborative (LDC) and the Math Design Collaborative (MDC) are tools supported by the Gates Foundation.
The day was filled with excitement as Dr. Desmond-Hellman and Dr. Phillips connected with both the district and school administration. During the visit, they made a visit to Ms. Albrecht’s Biology class where students were engaged in learning about stem cells and the implication of research on society. The literacy-rich lesson in the classroom included a Socratic seminar as the means of bridging the knowledge learned from reading complex texts to writing an argumentative essay about the topic.
Dr. Desmond-Hellman and Dr. Phillips connected with Helen Cox students during an informal lunch. Students were impressive as they recounted their learnings in the classrooms and discussed their future plans after high school. The Gates Foundation believes that students are the center of the work of educators and provide schools and districts with initiatives to meet the needs of students, especially when those needs connect to future college and careers.
The day concluded with a teacher focus group discussion consisting of teachers from around Jefferson Parish who work with LDC. These dedicated and committed educators work with LDC tools, including teaching literacy-rich modules and creating and delivering rigorous assessment tasks. Helen Cox teachers who were part of this focus group included Ms. C. Pendelton, Mr. D. Jackson.
Teachers involved in LDC and MDC will participate in a focus group with the foundation and students, who are the center of the work, will also engage in a focus group discussion. Helen Cox High School as well as Jefferson Parish Schools is excited about this opportunity to connect with the Gates Foundation.
Helen Cox Cougars successfully showed the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation how this school is focused on student learning and teacher development. Go Cougars!