KDSL welcomes English Language Arts freelance consultant

February 8, 2016

Kelly Healey

Kelly Healey is an Education Consultant assisting in the process of modernizing education, increasing student achievement, and moving schools forward.

Throughout her career, Healey has both presented and served nationally and internationally. She has worked with organizations such as WIDA (Word-Class Instructional Design and Assessment), TESOL (Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages), The Dana Center, Measured Progress, WestEd, and Amplify. Healey’s efforts have been featured by The Data Quality Campaign, Education Week, and published in the TESOL Classroom Practice Series. She is currently supporting the Literacy Design Collaborative, a recipient of the U.S. Dept. of Education Investing in Innovation (i3) grant, in providing school leaders in the Los Angeles Unified School District blended professional development and support in designing and delivering CCSS/CCRS aligned curricula to improve students’ literacy skill development.

Before transitioning to consultant, she was a K-12 classroom teacher for over 10 years, and served in multiple administrative capacities. Healey holds a Bachelor’s degree in English from the College of the Holy Cross, and a Master’s degree in Teaching English as a Second Language from Rhode Island College.









New KDSL Intern – Nadine Sibai

February 7, 2016

Nadine Sibai is a senior at GEMS Wellington International School. As an aspiring software developer and mathematician, Nadine brought these subjects together in her Extended Essay as part of the IB Diploma Programme, which revolved around the development of an alternative algorithm to compute the solution to a Sudoku puzzle. She has had a large online presence spanning various social media platforms and is experienced with (micro)blogs, podcasts, web series, and more. This exposure led to her inclination towards the fields of web development and design, through which she has learned HTML5 and CSS3 to a professional degree. Over the past few years she has consistently taken part in extracurricular activities including the World Scholar’s Cup, in which she was declared the second best debater in Dubai, a feat amongst others that qualified her for participation in the 2015 Global Round in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. In her free time, Nadine enjoys horseback riding, playing musical instruments, and competitive video gaming. She currently runs two Q&A-style blogs centered around helping students other students with mathematics and physics, and feels that this internship acts as an opportunity to use and extend these skills at a professional level.

KDSL welcomes Early Years Freelance Consultant – Kathy Ward-Cameron

February 1, 2016


Kathy Ward-Cameron is the executive director/ founding president of the Early Literacy Institute/ Early Learning International (ELI). ELI is a cadre of trainers, evaluators and consultants based in the USA who offer professional development services to help early childhood programs provide scientifically-based early literacy and early learning initiatives for young children. Under her leadership, the ELI team has provided professional development and assessment for several state and federally funded programs, including:

  • Office of Head Start funded Early Learning Mentor Coach (ELMC) program
  • Department of Education funded Early Reading First (ERF) programs
  • Ohio Department of Education’s Early Language and Literacy Classroom Observation (ELLCO) Project


Currently, Kathy works with the University of Florida on the Embedded Instruction for Early Learning Project to help inform the ECE field about which professional development approaches appear to be most promising for supporting teachers to implement evidence-based practices with fidelity, as well as the Schultz Center for Teaching and Learning to provide distance learning opportunities for the ECE community throughout the world. She is a master instructor for Brookes Publishing on the Early Language and Literacy Classroom Observation (ELLCO) and has presented nationally on the tool since 2003, specializing on the use the ELLCO to inform and guide professional development. Previously she designed and developed the Practice-Based Coaching training model at Vanderbilt University for the Office of Head Start’s National Center for Quality Teaching and Learning (NCQTL). Kathy also provided consultation on the Teaching Pyramid Observation Tool (TPOT) study with Vanderbilt University, University of FL and University of South FL researching professional development for preschool teachers using the The Pyramid Model for Promoting Social Emotional Competence in Young Children, which includes evidence-based practices designed to support young children’s social and emotional skills and prevent challenging behaviors. At the University of Virginia, she served on the research team for the National Center for Research on Early Childhood Education (NCRECE) professional development study team, My Teaching Partner, researching professional development for teachers using the Classroom Assessment Scoring System (CLASS). Through the University of Illinois at Chicago’s Center for Literacy and the Chicago Department of Human Services, she served as the evaluator of the Head Start Early Literacy and Youth Development Initiative – Project SOAR, an early literacy program which prepared teens and parents to work side-by-side with teachers to enhance the early literacy skills and development of at risk children. As a pioneer in technology in early childhood education, Kathy was on the original field faculty of RISE Learning Solutions which revolutionized distance learning in early childhood education. She also served as the subscription relations manager for the National Head Start Association’s satellite broadcast network, the HeadsUp Network, and trained facilitators of HeadsUp! Reading, a 30 hour early literacy course broadcast via satellite to early childhood programs, libraries and universities nationwide, and was the Illinois state coordinator for HUR. Kathy has been invited to present on topics related to early learning, distance learning and cultural responsiveness at several national conferences, including two US Department of Education Early Reading First Symposiums, and internationally at the Working Forum for Teacher Educators in New Zealand and the Early Childhood World Forum in Canada. Kathy’s work in early literacy is featured in the book, Conversations on Early Childhood Teacher Education: Voices from the Working Forum for Teacher Educators (Gibbons and Gibbs, 2009) and the National Elementary School Principals periodical Principal (2013). Kathy holds a Master of Science degree in Child Care Administration from Nova Southeastern University and a Bachelor of Science in Early Childhood Education from East Carolina University.

American Curriculum Early Years Freelance Consultant

January 17, 2016

KDSL seeks a capable American Curriculum Early Years Freelance Consultant to serve as a key team member in this growing organization and to partner with Professional Minds. The organization seeks to transform K–12 early years education in the MENA region by providing professional learning, school-based support, and institutes focused on alignment to NAEYC.

Know.Do.Serve.Learn (KDSL) offers Global Educational Collaboration Services and the mission is: to partner with education organizations worldwide in order to increase student achievement, teacher knowledge, and education leadership.

• Knowledge
• Action
• Achievement
• Relationships

Services are individualized and tailored to the needs of the organization, schools, teachers, grade level teams, and student achievement data. KDSL employs a blended approach (face-to-face and virtual interaction) at times when serving.

Current collaboration around the world is connected to:
• Professional Development
• Accreditation
• Conferences

The American Curriculum Early Years Freelance Consultant will play an important role in the success of KDSL. S/he will work alongside the two co-founders and the Managing Director of Professional Minds to support professional learning in the MENA region and beyond. The position offers great opportunities for learning and growth. This person will immediately contribute by:
• Working with schools and educators to design an early years professional learning plan;
• Working with the co-founders to recruit, build and manage a network of early years educators and working directly with educators;
• Developing American curriculum focused webinars, forums, trainings and institutes based on feedback from schools
• Provide bi-monthly early years tips for educators

Strong candidates will bring the following skills and experiences:
• Deep content expertise in early years curriculum design and an active member of NAEYC;
• A minimum of 8-10 years of professional experience in early years education, with some hands-on experience in either the state or district early years curriculum design or support preferred;
• A minimum of 5 years of teaching experience in early years and/or an ability to demonstrate genuine respect for teachers and teaching and collaborate with educators throughout the process (preferably a classroom teacher, teacher leader);
• A proven strategic and project management skill set, including the ability to effectively manage multiple stakeholders and meet ambitious timelines;
• Demonstrated experience working effectively on teams and with diverse populations;
• Exceptional written and spoken communications and interpersonal skills;
• Experience developing high-quality, engaging adult learning and facilitation preferred; and
• Understanding of current early years education reform issues, preferably in the areas of curriculum, instruction and assessment.

Strong candidates will possess the following personal characteristics:
• Passion for the KDSL mission;
• Superior judgment and ability to maintain professional, upbeat attitude and sense of humor under pressure;
• A deep sense of personal responsibility and integrity
• A collaborative, inclusive approach to building consensus and taking action; and
• An ability to work independently and collaborate with colleagues and educators in a virtual work environment.

Payment is commensurate with experience. This is not a job but based on project-based work. The location of the project-based work is in Dubai (we are open to a virtual position) with work around the entire MENA region. However, we will hire the most talented and well-qualified candidate.

Please submit a compelling cover letter, two references, sample workshop you have presented (agenda, presentation, supporting materials), sample video of you as a facilitator, and a resume to kevin@kdsleducation.org. Only serious applicants need to apply. We will contact you if your background matches the position.

ASCD Welcomes the Gulf Cooperation Connected Community

January 10, 2016


ASCD Welcomes the Gulf Cooperation Connected Community

We are proud to welcome the Gulf Cooperation Connected Community as our newest addition to the ASCD Connected Community family! The GCCC will serve educators from the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, and Oman, with the mission of utilizing ASCD’s global community and resources to improve the quality of teaching and enhance student achievement in the region.


New KDSL Art Consultant

December 16, 2015

KDSL welcomes our new art consultant: Cory Wilkerson


Ms. Wilkerson is a free-lance education consultant in standards based arts instruction and assessment, currently serving as project manager for the State Education Agency Directors of Arts Education and the National Coalition for Core Arts Standards. In her home state of Pennsylvania, Ms. Wilkerson has served on several state wide initiatives in arts standards and assessment, co-authored the Pennsylvania Theatre Education Framework, co-chaired the Pennsylvania Standards Aligned Systems Committee for the Arts, and served as faculty for the Governor’s Institute for Arts educators. On assignment to the National Coalition for Core Arts Standards, she assisted with the work of the writing of the new national core arts standards and serves on the Media Arts Committee who oversees the new Media Arts standards. Ms. Wilkerson has presented on standards for the International Society for Technology in Education, the Arts Schools Network, the National Alliance for Media Arts and Culture, the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies, SxSW Edu, the Educational Theatre Association, the Arts Education Partnership, Young Audiences Arts for Learning and various arts education organizations throughout Pennsylvania.

SEADAE Goes to Dubai: Presenting on the National Core Arts Standards in Dubai by SEADAE Project Manager Cory Wilkerson

December 9, 2015

One of the hats I wear as an independent arts consultant, is that of Project Manager for the State Education Agency Directors of Arts Education (SEADAE). One of my most interesting assignments for SEADAE was to support SEADAE involvement with the National Coalition for Core Arts Standards (NCCAS) and the writing of the new National Core Arts Standards. This exciting work eventually led to adding another hat, as Project Manager for the piloting and benchmarking work that followed publication of the new National Core Arts Standards in June of 2014. Recently I was honored to represent the State Education Agency Directors of Arts Education and the National Core Arts Standards at the Common Core MENA conference in Dubai, United Arab Emirates on October 16th and 17th, 2015. The conference was hosted by Know, Do, Serve, Learn, an educational consultant group offering professional development to educators in the Middle East and Africa regions. I took a few moments to blog about the sessions and what I learned there from a group of dedicated educators and administrators making schools better across the Middle East and Africa.

Interest in the new arts standards in the Middle East was sparked by a proclamation in January of 2015 by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President and Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), and Emir of Dubai . Sheikh Mohammed declared 2015 the Year of Innovation in the UAE, launching a seven year national innovation strategy with the goal of propelling the United Arab Emirates into a leadership role as one of the world’s most innovative nations. The plan places an emphasis on education as one of the key factors. In conjunction with this launch Sheik Mohammed came out with a strong statement for arts education in the schools, driving the interest in the new arts standards.

Ayesha Almazroui quotes Sheik Mohammed in a news article written for the Emirates newspaper:

“Today, more than any other time, we need to boost innovation among young people,” said Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President, prime minister and Ruler of Dubai, during the Cabinet meeting in November. How about we start by adding strong and solid arts education programmes to the school curriculum?” –Sheik Mohammed

(as quoted in the article “In the UAE’s year of innovation, don’t forget the arts” – The National online, January 25, 2015.)

Currently few schools in Dubai have specialists in arts education or feature arts education within the curriculum; therefore visionary educator Kevin Simpson, Managing Director of KDSL Global Education Services, reached out to SEADAE for a source of professional development in the new National Core Arts Standards for the October conference. SEADAE will also be facilitating online workshops for KDSL in the spring of 2016.

It is important to note that education reform within the UAE places a great emphasis on high standards and American curriculum schools with curriculum aligned to American national standards are very popular, with many using the Common Core standards for ELA and Mathematics. Responding to the needs of educators teaching American curriculum, KDSL began an annual conference bringing together teachers of American curriculum schools across the Middle East and North Africa to share strategies and attend workshops with keynote speakers on the cutting edge of issues in education. In year one, KDSL focused on Common Core implementation, in year two they added the national science standards, and this year, which marked the third annual Common Core MENA conference; KDSL added the arts to featured presentations.

The conference was structured with a morning keynote followed by concurrent sessions with late afternoon “unconference” times held open for informal sharing and planning. Workshop presenters made themselves available to the over 200 participants during for the last open sessions of the day for informal conferencing and mentoring. On the first day of the conference I presented a modified version of the standards orientation developed by Marcia McCaffrey for SEADAE. The goal was to introduce the participants to the structure of the National Core Arts Standards and teach them how to access the standards on the National Core Arts Standards website. I was also asked to point out possible connecting points for alignment with Common Core standards along the way; which I did by comparing the Common Core ELA anchor standards and Math practices with the National Core Arts Standards anchor standards. By identifying the large overarching concepts present in all, we were able to quickly make connections between the habits of art making and skills needed to problem solve and learn in other discipline areas.

Sessions on the second day of the conference placed an emphasis on hands on help with curriculum planning. Arts education is just emerging in the area, and often delivered as arts integrated activities by the general classroom teacher. For this reason, I was charged with presenting a session specific to finding alignment with Common Core.   I asked them to start with what they were currently doing; to think about what their curriculum currently looks like and what they would teach on Monday. Next I challenged them to identify how their curriculum and Monday’s lesson plan, might connect with (for classroom teachers interested in arts integration) or align to (for arts specialists) the National Core Arts Standards. Thanks to our partners at the National Art Education Association, I had a fabulous graphic tool to utilize as a focus. Dennis Inhulsen, NAEA Chief Learning Officer, gave permission for me to utilize a modified version of the NAEA lesson design challenge tool in my workshop.
Starting with the artistic processes; I asked the educators to identify ways these might be habits of mind for artmaking and points of transfer of learning. Comparing anchor standards in the arts to anchor standards in the Common Core ELA and Math, we looked for connections in cognitive processing. We were not interested in reading and doing math in the arts classroom, but instead considered what happens when works of art become “text” for literacy and the cognitive processes in arts making are articulated to cross over to mathematical practices as problem solving skills. After identifying artistic processes and anchor standards, we drilled down to discipline specific grade by grade performance standards.

Although few in number, the arts educators who attended the sessions were mighty! I found them so eager for the information, that we began conducting ad hoc sessions in and around the other conference sessions, over and above my scheduled workshops. Two types of educators were drawn to the arts sessions; either administrators who were looking to start or reinforce arts offerings, or arts specialists teaching visual arts, theatre or music. (Dance is often culturally forbidden in public so dance education is rare). The administrators were excited about the possible alignment with the Common Core – they saw the connections in cognitive functions and were convinced of the value of the arts and arts integration to invigorate their curriculum and engage students in higher order thinking skills. The arts educators were hungry for discipline specific guidance in standards based curriculum planning.

Not only was I able to provide professional development, but I also received professional development. I found myself engaged and invigorated by listening to the conference keynotes. Dr. Norman Webb, Wisconsin Center for Education Products and Services presented an eye opening session on the intent, application and meaning of his Depth of Knowledge and Nicole Zdeb, Senior Director of Academic Services for the Northwest Evaluation Association inspired me with her work on literacy and the Common Core ELA standards. Most importantly I got to mentor and engage with some dynamic young teachers who are paving the way for high quality, standards based arts education across the UAE, the Middle East and Northern Africa.

Want to learn more about arts education and the UAE?

Resources cited

Education UAE – United Arab Emirates Embassy

In the Year of Innovation, Don’t Forget the Arts by Ayesha Almazroui – The National online

American Education in the UAE – Teach Magazine




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