2024 Decision Education Incubator Retreat

March 19th, 2024

Earlier this month, the Alliance for Decision Education hosted its 2024 Decision Education Incubator Network Retreat! Representatives from schools participating in our Decision Education Incubator: Exploring Decision-Making through Media Literacy gathered in Philadelphia to begin designing instructional models.

Teachers and staff from schools in Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, and North Carolina gathered at the Kimpton Hotel Palomar in Philadelphia to talk about grade-level initiatives designed to bring Decision Education and media literacy into their schools. The program aims to empower educators to create sustainable initiatives teaching Decision Education skills and concepts for enhancing students’ media literacy, which can be replicated in other schools and contribute to the growth of the Decision Education movement.

Denise Lau from DreamHouse ‘Ewa Beach charter school works with her fellow teachers at the Decision Education Incubator Retreat in Philadelphia. Photo credit: Aaron Stallworth

Denise Lau from DreamHouse ‘Ewa Beach charter school works with her fellow teachers at the Decision Education Incubator Retreat in Philadelphia. Photo credit: Aaron Stallworth

“Opportunities for collaboration across different roles tend to be limited in school settings. But this is actually something that the Decision Education Incubator emphasizes in our design process,” said Alliance Education Senior Manager, Abby Sheffer. “We believe bringing together staff with different perspectives to share their ideas and insight will contribute to stronger instructional models for students. We hear often from our school partners that they are grateful for the time and space to focus and collaborate on these impactful decisions.”

The gathering afforded Incubator teams and Alliance staff the opportunity to talk through how to enact their visions and begin implementing individual plans in August of this year. Teams engaged in the phases of design thinking, from discovery, interpretation, and ideation to experimentation and evolution. They then participated in exercises, including developing a prototype based on a change they want to see in their schools. Of the multiple approaches, one example included an instructional unit to teach students how to detect fake news, aiming for them to engage with media sources effectively. Teams could then use formative assessments like journal activities for students to independently identify elements of fake news.

Gillian Wible (Assistant Principal, Cristo Rey Philadelphia) shares her experience with the Incubator program and how to deepen connections between teams. Photo credit: Aaron Stallworth

Gillian Wible (Assistant Principal, Cristo Rey Philadelphia) shares her experience with the Incubator program and how to deepen connections between teams. Photo credit: Aaron Stallworth

As Incubator teams continue working on their projects in the coming months, team members will participate in virtual monthly coaching sessions with the Alliance. They will also collect relevant student and teacher data and artifacts to document learning, implementation strategies, and the student experience to share with the Alliance and, eventually, other schools.

Decision Education helps students develop a variety of real-world skills—which include some of the same skills emphasized through media literacy. From the ability to navigate information found in the media and learning to evaluate the validity of sources to being mindful of confirmation bias, many of the valuable skills and dispositions found in the teaching of media literacy are also captured through Decision Education. Both fields empower students with the skills necessary to navigate and evaluate the variety of information they receive. From there, Decision Education teaches students how to make better decisions based on that information.

“Decision Education will be very beneficial to our students and school community,” said Incubator Retreat attendee Kyle Domkowski—a teacher of eighth grade English and social studies at Rowan-Salisbury School System in North Carolina. “After brainstorming and planning with my team members, members of the Alliance, and staff from other schools, our community needs to gain the knowledge and repertoire of media literacy and decision-making skills to help guide them with a clear and consistent future in the world of education.”

Learn more about the Decision Education Incubator here.

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