Art Webinars

September 28, 2015


Art Webinars 2015-2016

Webinar #1 – Wednesday, October 21st – 9:00 AM EDT – 5PM Dubai
Standards, Assessment and Understanding by Design – Exploring the Model Cornerstone Assessments
Co-Presenter: Lynn Tuttle, Arizona Department of Education, SEADAE Past President, National Coalition for Core Arts Standards Model Cornerstone Assessment Committee Chair, Member national Coalition for Core Arts Standards leadership committee.
Co-Presenter: Dr. F. Robert Sabol, Purdue University, Past President, National Art Education Association, Expert Advisor on Arts Assessment to the Model Cornerstone Assessment national pilot project, member national Coalition for Core Arts Standards leadership committee.

Webinar #2 – Monday, October 26th – 9:00 AM EDT – 5PM Dubai
Understanding Artistic Literacy and the Structure of the New Standards and an overview of the standards and an update on the state adoption/adaption status.
Presenter: Marcia McCaffrey, New Hampshire Department of Education President, State Education Agency Directors of Arts Education, Member National Coalition for Core Arts Standards leadership committee

Webinar #3 – Wednesday, November 11th – 9:00 AM ET – 6PM Dubai
Arts Standards Alignment with Common Core and 21st Century Skills
Co-Presenter: Amy Charleroy, Director of Arts, The College Board, Office of Academic Initiatives
Co-Presenter Dr. Nancy Rubino, Consultant on International Strategy, The College Board

Webinar #4 – Wednesday December 9th: – 9 AM ET – 6PM Dubai
Deep Dive into the Music Standards
Presenter: Michael Blakeslee, Deputy Executive Director and Chief Operating Officer, National Association for Music Education

Webinar #5 – Wednesday January 13th – 9:00 AM ET – 6 PM Dubai
Deep Dive into the Visual Arts Standards
Presenter: Dennis Inhulsen, Past President, National Art Education Association, Writing Chair, National Core Visual Arts Standards

Webinar #6 – Wednesday February 10th – 9:00 AM ET – 6 PM Dubai
Deep Dive into the Theatre Standards
Presenter: Jim Palmarini, Director of Educational Policy, Educational Theatre Association

Webinar #7 – Wednesday March 9th – 9:00 AM ET – 6 PM Dubai
Deep Dive into the Dance Standards
Presenter: Susan McGreevy, Executive Director, National Dance Education Organization

Webinar #8 – Wednesday April 13th – 9:00 AM EDT – 5PM Dubai
Deep Dive into the Media Arts Standards with
Presenter: Cory Wilkerson, National Coalition for Core Arts Standards Media Arts Committee

To register or for more information email Kevin at

3rd Annual MENA Common Core Conference Press Release

September 22, 2015

KDSL Convenes Third Annual MENA Common Core Conference

Professional Development Targets MENA’s American Curriculum Teachers and Administrators

DUBAI, UAE, September 21, 2015 – On Friday, October 16, and Saturday, October 17, MENA region American curriculum teachers and school leadership teams will convene at the American University in Dubai to discuss Common Core State Standards (CCSS) implementation, share curricula and best practices, and network. Organized by Know.Do.Serve.Learn. (KDSL), a UAE-based education company, this third annual conference aims to advance teaching and learning to benefit the region’s American curriculum students.

In over 25 interactive sessions, participants will be led by expert educators from leading global education organizations to explore the English Language Arts, Mathematics, and the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) curricula that are being implemented across the region, as well as discuss issues related to school culture, teacher support, and leadership. A first for the region, the conference will spotlight the new national arts standards that shape student learning and achievement in dance, media arts, music, theatre, and visual arts. Attendees will partake in collaborative planning and action planning sessions to help practically implement lessons learned during the event.

The conference will be keynoted by mathematics teaching and learning expert Dr. Norman Webb, who is Senior Research Scientist, Emeritus, for the Wisconsin Center for Education Research at the University of Wisconsin. He developed the widely used Depth of Knowledge (DOK) system while at the U.S. National Science Foundation, as well as participated as a member of the CCSS validation committee.

The conference provides access to top education publishers and education organizations. Julie Till, Head of Business Development for Central Asia, Middle East & North Africa at Oxford University Press, stated, “Oxford University Press is delighted to support this valuable professional development ‎opportunity for American curriculum schools in the region. With a publishing house in New York and Oxford, we are committed to providing effective training and resources for schools following the Common Core State Standards.”

Other conference partners include the Northwest Evaluation Association, the UAE Learning Network, Teach UAE Magazine, Hale Education Group, WebbAlign, Interactive Data Partners, Teacher Created Materials Publishing, A-List Education, Triumph Learning, and Scholastic.

Educators and school leaders from the MENA region American curriculum schools are encouraged to attend. To register and view the agenda, sessions and presenter biographies, please visit

KDSL is a UAE-based education company focused on providing professional development to American curriculum educators in the MENA region. KDSL was founded by Kevin Simpson and Alison Burrows, who bring more than 25 years of combined experience in the field of education and training. To learn more, visit and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

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Kevin Simpson, KDSL,, +971 50 289 8417

Principal Leadership Development

September 20, 2015

Recently the KDSL team had the chance to chat with Deborah Tyler, Director of Principal Leadership at the National Association of Elementary School Principals or NAESP.

What advice would you give to a new elementary school principal?

It is so important for a new principal to do a deep environmental scan of their school community. The principal must know all the major stakeholders in order to begin developing trust and building relationships. A new principal must focus on 4 main groups: students, parents, teachers and stakeholders. A lack of situational awareness is the downfall of most principals. They are suddenly thrust center stage where their every action is scrutinized fully. Principals need to have the self-awareness to see themselves through the lens of their stakeholders. It is useful to create a ‘go-to’ group of friends for honest feedback and criticism. An example is in the book “Leadership on the Line,” authors Heifetz and Linsky stress the importance of leaders to move back and forth from the dance floor to the balcony. Leaders become so immersed in their work but they need to take the time to step back and see how all the pieces fit into the ‘jigsaw puzzle’ and are acting upon each other as a whole. It is important to maintain the balance in our lives. This is especially true for a first year principal. This, although, is easier said than done. It is vital for a new principal to make personal time for friends, family, and more importantly self. This allows for more self-reflection and ability to reevaluate thinking.

What are three things an elementary school principal should do daily?

1. Connect with your students: All students need to have faith in you and know you’re committed to working with them.

2. Connect with staff: Realize that everyone in your school is vital to its overall success.

3. Provide constructive feedback: Provide timely and positive feedback to improve your school’s efficacy. This can be achieved through spending time in classrooms and with teacher groups.

How has the role of an elementary school principal changed since you were one?

It’s only been six years since I served as a principal, but I have watched it change drastically during my previous and current roles. The span of responsibility has increased, the major factors being instructional demand and overall needs of students. The greatest change has probably been the overall influence of social media in education and on our students who arrive at school as ‘digital natives’. This means leaders must be flexible to change and be risk takers. Principalship remains one of the most critical factors globally to continue the success of education and our future citizens.

Deborah Tyler is currently NAESP Director of Principal Leadership Development. Tyler has experience as a teacher, school-based administrator, and central office administrator while working at NAESP. Her roles have included the review and assessment of school improvement plans and instructional programs with regard to requirements from the Elementary and Secondary Education Act and the Virginia Standards of Learning. She was responsible for the principal hiring processes, principal performance evaluation and school-based administrator professional development.
Her most recent roles prior to joining NAESP were as Assistant Superintendent of Region 3 and Assistant Superintendent of Cluster 4 in Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS) in Virginia. Tyler was responsible for leading 44 elementary, middle, and high schools. Prior to her work at the Superintendent’s level and the FCPS Leadership Team, Tyler served as principal of Eagle View Elementary School. Working with various FCPS departments, she laid the groundwork to open the new school, including the hiring of all staff, working with members of the community to select a name for the new school and engaging parents in the new school community. During her time there, she worked with faculty members to develop a strategic vision for academic excellence and established professional learning communities.
Tyler’s first principalship was at Pine Spring Elementary School. Under her, the school accomplished the largest school-wide achievement gains in the district and was recognized with the Distinguished Title I School award from the Virginia Department of Education. She received the Milken National Educator award and the Virginia Association of Elementary Principals School Bell award during her time as Pine Spring principal. Tyler is currently completing her doctorate in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies at the Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University.

KDSL Social Studies Consultant- Carly Muetterties

September 17, 2015


The KDSL welcomes our new Social Studies Consultant!

Carly Muetterties is a graduate student at the University of Kentucky, working on her Ph.D. in Educational Sciences. She is currently managing editor of the C3Teachers website., created by the writers of the C3 Framework, is an initiative to empower teachers as they implement the C3 Framework for Social Studies State Standards.

Previously, she was a high school social studies teacher at Tates Creek High School in Lexington, Kentucky, an International Baccalaureate Diploma Program school. She earned her B.A. in Secondary Education in Social Studies, Masters in History, and Masters in German Studies at the University of Kentucky, and her Masters in Education at Georgetown College. She has taught across many ability levels on a broad range of topics including government, economics, anthropology, geography, US and world history. She is excited to be a part of the KDSL team and to help move the C3 Framework forward!

KDSL Online Book Club: Having Hard Conversations by Jennifer Abrams; Forward by Arthur L Costa

September 9, 2015

Having Hard Conversations provides an interactive, personal approach to mastering the art of challenging conversations. The author’s step-by-step strategy addresses a wide range of situations, including communication with supervisees, peers, and supervisors. Emphasizing that initiative and preparation are the keys to a successful conversation, this resource includes:

-Thought-provoking questions and first-person accounts that help educators become more self-aware, effective communicators

-Advice on overcoming personal hesitation about expressing concerns

-Guidance on identifying goals for the conversation and choosing the best “what-where-and-when” for a productive discussion

-Sample scripts and practical tools to help educators prepare for the conversation

To purchase the eBook or paperback, please visit:

WHO: Hosted by Jennifer Abrams and KDSL

WHERE:UAE Learning Network

WHEN: 4 October – 8 November 2015

WHY: By addressing important issues directly and professionally, educators can find self-empowerment and promote an open, healthy school environment.

HOW: Order the book and register

How to register: Email your name, school, country and email address to Kevin Simpson at

Jennifer Abrams is an independent consultant who specializes in new employee support, effective collaboration in a multigenerational workplace, and having hard conversations. Jennifer’s publications include Having Hard Conversations (Corwin, 2009), and The Multigenerational Workplace: Communicate, Collaborate & Create Community, (Corwin, 2013) and the upcoming book tentatively titled, Unpacking Hard Conversations: Strategies for Finding Your Voice Around What Matters, (Corwin, 2016). Her blog, Voice Lessons, is at and she can be found on Twitter @jenniferabrams.

American Curriculum Mathematics Freelancer Consultant

September 8, 2015

KDSL seeks a capable American Curriculum Mathematics Freelance Consultant to serve as a key team member in this growing organization. The organization seeks to transform K–12 mathematics education in the MENA region by providing professional learning, school-based support, and institutes focused on alignment to the Common Core State Standards.

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 Mathematics Freelance Consultant will play an important role in the success of KDSL. S/he will work alongside the two co-founders 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 a mathematics professional learning plan;
• Working with the co-founders to recruit, build and manage a network of mathematics educators and working directly with educators;
• Developing American curriculum focused webinars, forums, trainings and institutes based on feedback from schools
• Provide monthly mathematics tips for educators

Strong candidates will bring the following skills and experiences:
• Deep content expertise in K-12 mathematics, curriculum design and understanding of the Common Core State Standards;
• A minimum of 8-10 years of professional experience in K–12 education, with some hands-on experience in either the state or district mathematics curriculum design or support preferred;
• A minimum of 5 years of teaching experience in mathematics 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 mathematics 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 Only serious applicants need to apply. We will contact you if your background matches the position.

KDSL Fall Interns

September 7, 2015

Ali Syed

Ali Syed is a student who is in the middle of completing his IGCSEs at Wellington International School in Dubai. He believes in hard work and perseverance and strives to make whatever difference he can in his community. He has been part of numerous voluntary set ups to help other people in his community. While in London, Ali used his role as a scout to organise events and participate in them, ranging from Christmas fairs to supermarket bag-packing for the elderly. Ali has a passion for sports and has been involved in his school cricket team. Ali was also a volunteer at the DP World Tour Championships of golf held in Dubai. He also enjoys playing table tennis and is an avid follower of cricket and football. In his spare time, Ali enjoys particpating in martial arts. He currently holds a black belt in K-Kwondo and is learning Karate in Dubai. In addition to this, Ali has a love for creative writing and was a winner of the 2013 Haileybury Arts Competition and still enjoys entering various writing competitions throughout the year. Ali is a keen reader who enthusiastically enjoys both fiction and non-fiction. Ali also took part in the Chevron Readers’ Cup 2015. He is in the process of learning French and Arabic. In the future, Ali hopes to complete the International Baccalaureate and study journalism or economics in the United Kingdom or United States. Ali believes that his internship at KDSL will give him a fantastic opportunity to gain some insight into what it takes to be a professional and is looking forward to working with a highly qualified team. Ali hopes that KDSL will help him improve his writing skills and teamwork abilities.

Farida Foda

Farida Foda has recently completed the first year of her International Baccalaureate. She has moved to around 4 different schools which has greatly influenced her as a young adult as now she has acquired characteristics regarding her social and communication skills due to the diverse cultures in which she faced. She moved abroad at a young age forcing her to adapt to her new international schools in Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. Over the years Farida has contributed to her community, when she lived in Egypt during Ramadan she volunteered to help pack around 1000 food packs for the people in need. She also volunteered as the photographer for an afterschool club, which mentored children in an orphanage. Her job as the photographer was to help others in the school understand the struggles of an orphan. Through these experiences she realized that her aim in life is to help others. Her job as the photographer at the orphanage helped her understand that she can use her growing creative skills while still contributing to her community. Her committed attitude was exhibited during her constant drive to train for the Spartan Race, which is a 5k race with obstacles. This race was a real challenge to her mental and physical health and the race created a balance between her mind and body. During the last 4 years her grandmother was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and kidney disease. Whenever Farida was on holiday in Egypt she contributed and tried to take some of the responsibility to take care of her grandmother. As her grandmother’s case deteriorated Farida had a larger role to take as she took night shifts to watch over her grandmother while her mother rested. Farida’s aspiration in life is to work for UNICEF as an unbiased photographer which presents photos from both sides of the story to help open people’s eyes to the neglected global issues such as the lack of education rights in some countries. She believes that undertaking this internship she is getting a head start into the working world as KDSL is the type of organisation in which she hopes to be part of someday.


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