Global Education

Facilitated a series of student centered learning  workshops with an emphasis on global character education for Chinese teachers and administrators at this primary school. Designed opportunities for teachers to experience a western approach to education.  Contributed  to the school becoming the first Chinese school to achieve certification as a National School of Character by Character

International Partnerships

Working with international educators to understand the Community School Strategy and its implication for school and community transformation.

Strategies for Whole Child Education & Community-School Partners, LLC

The company contracts with school districts seeking excellence by educating the whole child, embracing diversity, and creating inclusive school communities. Strategies for Whole Child Education develops site specific needs- assessment, data collection, and analysis. Staff development includes the community school strategy, trauma -informed practices, culturally responsive pedagogy, and teacher leadership.

  • Worked with school districts to create year-long staff development trainings. Sessions included whole school presentations and in-class coaching aimed at building trauma sensitive schools. 
  • Piloted a program for a large urban school district interested creating a community schools with a trauma responsive focus.  Staff development trainings included whole-school presentations, in-class coaching, and principal coaching. Consultants designed a series of workshops, data collection tools and analysis.  Recruited CBO partners to deliver services at the school.
  • Designed district plan for evaluating comprehensive and integrated programs, practices, and services aimed at supporting each of the developmental domains of students’ growth and development, overall school improvement, and family/ community engagement.
  • Built capacity for long range sustainability of the community school through cross boundary leadership development, partnership with community organizations, and the development of a variety of funding strategies.
  • Created a school district plan for responding to student needs in changing suburbs. Project examined programs, practices and services that support staff efforts to be culturally responsive, trauma informed and developmentally appropriate in their approaches to all students. Consultants designed a series of workshops, data collection tools and analysis. 

School/University Partnerships

Doing more with less requires school leaders to “think outside the box” about the ways in which to garner resources for students, teachers, and the school without incurring additional costs. One model of partnership, the professional development school offers an innovative strategy to create thoughtful collaborations between schools and institutions of higher education seeking novel ways to respond to the needs of their respective organizations. PDSs are characterized by four principles 1) teacher preparation, 2) professional development of practicing teachers 3) collaborative research and inquiry 4) student achievement. 

  • Assisted a large university’s teacher education department select Professional Development School Partnerships to support their programs’ teacher candidates, faculty research agendas, and increase the local schools’ capacity for change and growth.
  • A high needs school located in a suburban area experienced significant shifts in student demographics including poverty, residential mobility, and students with limited English proficiency. The school sought help to address these concerns and expressed a desire to enhance teachers’ leadership, professional knowledge, and skills.Robust strategies and systems were designed for the school that resulted in staff effectively planning for instruction with a broader view of the child’s individual needs, forming focused professional relationships between colleagues to develop a deeper understanding of teaching and  providing  opportunities for teachers to expand their professional skills.  
  • Inspired a primary school to actualize its vision to become a community focused school. Twelve years ago, headteachers in Wales were learning  about community schools and sought guidance from American educators. Over the years Dr. Ferrara provided professional development and support to the school. Recently other Welsh schools have reached out to Dr. Ferrara for advice.

Teacher Development

Assisted a forward-thinking headmistress at private school in London design an on-site university partnership to support teachers seeking masters’ degree certification.  In doing so, a university/ school partnership similar to the model used in America was successfully implemented. During the inaugural stages, guidance was given to align the model to the needs of the school and its local context. The program is now in its fifth year. 

  • Initiated a mentoring program for first- and second-year teachers. Designed the training course for veteran teachers to prepare integrated supports and strategies for novice teachers. Constructed assessment tools and data collection protocols.
  • Created venues for classroom teachers to engage in robust learning communities focused on commitment to collaboration, clearly articulated goals, feedback, and reflection. Designed opportunities for teachers’ classrooms to serve as inquiry sites for practice partnerships. In doing so the school became a demonstration and dissemination site.
  • Increased teachers’ capacity for leadership and scholarship through on-going professional development that deepen their expertise using problem-based approaches.
  • Developed teachers’ core professional competencies  for whole child and community school approach to education.

Educator Preparation

Created a new vision for course programming in undergraduate education department which transformed the programs from a college, campus-based model to field-based model. This shift in instructional delivery  moved education courses to local schools and  placed teacher candidates  there to learn beside masterful practicing teachers and  students. By simply examining needs of the department and reaching out to the schools to respond to their needs, 18 school partnerships were created to support teacher candidates, practicing teachers and students. A win-win for all stakeholders.

Series Editor for The Research in Professional Development School Series

Lead editor since 2013. Spearheaded a new vision for the series to extend its reach.  Solicited editors to contribute books to the series. Currently four new titles are included in the Research in Professional Development Schools series.

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