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CASDA EdCasts explore a wide range of topics to share resources and spark dialog among educators.

Episode 30: The Constancy of Change

In this special episode, Dr. Michael Piccirillo reflects on the changes he observed during his tenure as CASDA Executive Director. We discuss how COVID-19 led to schools altering practices during the shutdown period, and how some of those changes have not been sustained in response to budgetary urgency and political expedience. Mike signs off by encouraging educators to continue their work and to center students and families in their efforts.

The Constancy of Change
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Episode 29: Aligning MTSS to Meet Student Needs

This episode of CASDA's "Everything Education" podcast features Dr. Daina Sisk, Director of Secondary Special Education in the Ballston Spa Central School District discussing how districts can ensure their Integrated Multi-Tiered Systems of Support (MTSS-I) are aligned to support student needs above all else. Drawing upon her doctoral research and her deep experience, Dr. Sisk offers thoughtful insights that can guide both district planning and educator practice.

Aligning MTSS to Meet Student Needs
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Episode 28: DEI, School Culture, and Student Leadership

In this special EdCast Eudora Brennan, a Senior at Chatham High School, joins CASDA Executive Director Dr. Michael Piccirillo and Damonni Farley, Founder and CEO of Common Thread Consultants. Eudora shares her perspective on leadership, the power of student voice and the work of Chatham's DEI Club to build a more inclusive and equitable school environment.

DEI, School Culture, and Student Leadership
00:00 / 33:11

Episode 28: Collaborating for Authentic Co-Teaching

In this episode, co-teaching partners Tracy Sangaré and Michele Sano of Latham Ridge Elementary School in North Colonie Central School District explore the foundations of dynamic co-teaching practice. They share the importance of modeling positive, respectful relationships for their students, and discuss the need for honest, reflective dialog in the lesson planning process and highlight the need for self-awareness as an essential component of strong partnerships.

Collaborating for Authentic Co-Teaching
00:00 / 25:53

Episode 27: Generational Change: Student Leaders Use Their Voices for Change

In this CASDA EdCast, Oneida Students for Antiracism members Liza, Charles, and Royalty return for a follow up one year after our first conversation. The students describe some of the work they have undertaken in the past year and communicate clear ideas for change. The depth of their insight on a range of education and social issues shows the power of authentic student voice and makes it clear that they are true leaders in the effort to build more equitable and inclusive schools.

Generational Change: Student Leaders Use Their Voices for Change
00:00 / 33:00

Episode 26: Behind All Language is Lived Experience

In this CASDA EdCast, Sepideh Yasrebi, a Ph.D. Candidate at UAlbany's School of Education and English as a New Language Teacher in North Colonie Central Schools speaks with Jerome Steele about language and language learning as a social phenomenon. She offers an analysis of ENL theory and practice that centers students' histories, identities and context through a narrative centered framework that emphasizes the fact that language emerges from and reflects lived experience.

Behind All Language is a Lived Experience draft_mixdown
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Episode 25: Never Give Up on a Child: Supporting School Attendance and Engagement

In this episode, Dr. Piccirillo talks to Dave Torres, a CASDA consultant facilitating the Improving Student Attendance Series: Re-engaging Students in a Post-COVID World Roundtable about strategies to support students and families in school attendance and engagement. Dave shares stories and perspective from his career working in the criminal justice system and as an attendance supervisor in Saratoga Springs City Schools. Throughout the episode, he emphasizes the need to meet families where they are, "remove the educator hat," and never give up on students. 

Never Give Up On a Child
00:00 / 25:34

Episode 24: Crossing Boundaries, Building Bridges

This CASDA EdCast features Executive Director Dr. Michael Piccirillo in dialogue with special guests Amy Hawrylchak, Principal at Tech Valley High School, and Shelette Pleat, Principal for CTE at Capital Region BOCES, on the topic of boundary crossing in leadership spaces. This concept allows leaders to move beyond their comfort zone, crossing boundaries into unknown and potentially unsettling space in order to grow personally and professionally. They discuss the benefits of taking these risks in order to better engage in educational equity work, and build more authentic, substantive relationships with both students and colleagues. Their honest exchanges model boundary crossing in practice and should encourage all leaders to move beyond the familiar and towards meaningful growth. 

Crossing Boundaries, Building Bridges draftEDIT
00:00 / 47:01

Episode 23: Summer Programming for the Whole Child

This CASDA EdCast exploring the benefits of enrichment-focused summer programming to meet the needs of the whole child. Mike Laster, Principal at Farnsworth Middle School and Co-Chair of the Capital Region Principals' Center, joins Dr. Michael Piccirillo to share how he plans to implement a summer program that will build on strengths, integrate SEL and accelerate student learning heading into the 2021-22 school year. They discuss the need to move beyond traditional conceptions of summer remediation, question long-held assumptions and discuss how schools move beyond "back to normal."

Summer Programming for the Whole Child_
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Episode 22: Engagement, Equity and Social Justice: Educators of Tomorrow Share Their Vision

In a special CASDA EdCast, Dr. Michael Piccirillo speaks with Royalty, Liza, Jaislyn, and Charles - four student leaders at Schenectady’s Oneida Middle School who are active in both the Educators of Tomorrow and Oneida Students for Anti Racism groups (OSAR). The panelists discuss the importance of teachers building authentic relationships with students and creating safe spaces where all can learn and grow without fear of punishment or embarrassment. They speak frankly about the need for students of all races to understand racism and inequity from an early age - dispelling the widely held belief that they should be sheltered from these issues until high school. Throughout the dialog, they speak to a love of learning - both from teachers and each other - and share a vision of a school system which is grounded in empathy, but building towards justice.

Engagement, Equity and Social Justice: Educators of Tomorrow Share Their Vision
00:00 / 41:36

Episode 21: Every Student is a Gift: Transforming Schools Through the Power of Belief

In this special CASDA EdCast, Dr. Piccirillo and CASDA Consultant Dale Getto are joined by Dr. Eric Cooper and Dr. Yvette Jackson of the National Urban Alliance for Effective Education, two towering figures in the movement for culturally responsive, equitable education. Dr. Cooper shares a profound message about the power of believing in all students' capacity to achieve high intellectual performance and academic achievement. This concept is crystallized in Dr. Jackson's concept of "gifted education for all," which is thoroughly explored in her revelatory book "Pedagogy of Confidence." Passion for supporting students and educators radiates throughout this powerful dialog as all participants offer thoughtful reflections on empowering youth to meet their potential.

Every Student is a Gift
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Episode 20: Developing Antiracist Building Leadership

In this timely episode, CASDA Executive Director Dr. Michael Piccirillo speaks with Aaron Thiell, Principal at Latham Ridge Elementary in North Colonie Central School District about confronting white supremacy in educational leadership. Aaron and Mike reflect on the learning and unlearning that white educators must undertake if they are to move beyond platitudes and develop materially antiracist praxis. Mr. Thiell discusses his own personal evolution in this work and shares the steps he has taken to foster an affirming, culturally sustaining building culture.

Developing Antiracist Building Leadership
00:00 / 51:22

Episode 19: Activism as Education: Young Leaders Confront White Supremacy

In this CASDA EdCast, activists Samira and T.J. Sangaré discuss their experiences as Black students in a predominantly white district and how it failed to adequately prepare them to confront white supremacy after graduation. The siblings share their perspective on the politics of curriculum construction, particularly with regard to US History. They also discuss how learning in activism spaces has helped them understand, analyze and combat systems of domination that create inequities both in schools and society at large.

Activism as Education: Young Leaders Confront White Supremacy
00:00 / 50:30

Episode 18: Systemic Mental Health Supports for Educators

In this CASDA EdCast, CASDA Executive Director Michael Piccirillo, Ed.D speaks with CASDA educational facilitator, mental health counselor and former school superintendent Tony Albanese. They discuss how districts might move beyond encouraging staff members to practice self care and implement meaningful, sustainable supports for educator mental health. Tony draws upon his background in counseling and school district leadership to suggest a process by which schools can collaborate with their teachers and staff members to identify needs and resources to promote sustainable mental and social-emotional wellness. 

Systemic Mental Health Supports for Educators
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Episode 17: Connecting Antiracism and SEL
In this timely episode, CASDA Executive Director Mike Piccirillo, Ed.D talks to Alicia Holt, Research and Design Consultant with Common Thread Consulting about the need to approach Social Emotional Learning through an antiracist lens, and the problems of standardization in a system constructed around whiteness. She also takes us through "Tools to Promote Antiracist Social Emotional Learning in the Era of Covid-19," a practice focused infographic that provides tools that educators can use individually and in community to better integrate antiracism in their classrooms. 

Episode 16: Building Bridges Between K-12 and Higher Ed

Episode 16 features a dialog between Mike and Dr. Jason Lane, Interim Dean of the School of Education at UAlbany. They discuss how the School of Education has supported K-12 during Covid-19 through their remote education website that provides resources and practices for effective online instruction. They also contemplate shared equity challenges facing K-12 schools, colleges and universities and how collaboration across sectors such as healthcare, nonprofit and government can ensure greater support for students.  


Episode 15: Collaborating for Sustainability

Mike speaks with WSWHE BOCES District Superintendent Jim Dexter about the necessity of collaboration to preserve the long term fiscal and programmatic sustainability of school districts. Mr. Dexter emphasizes the founding premise of BOCES - a cooperative of school districts created at the districts' request  to expand the programming that could be offered to students and communities. They discuss how this model of collaboration in pursuit of districts' mutual interest is more relevant now than ever as districts confront the budgetary challenges in the wake of Covid-19. 

Episode 14: Leveraging Engagement for Instructional Improvement
This discussion features CASDA Executive Director Dr. Mike Piccirillo in conversation with Mike Pipa, CASDA’s Instructional Design Coach, former House Principal at Farnsworth Middle School and a longtime middle and high school English teacher. Mike and Mike reflect on relationship building, engagement, risk and rigor through their experience as classroom educators. Then they draw upon their experience in building and district leadership to explore how a systemic focus on student engagement drives instructional improvement and academic achievement.

Episode 13: Exploring Equity in Digital Learning
This CASDA EdCast features Dr. Delicia Greene, Assistant Professor in the Literacy and Learning Department at the UAlbany School of Education. She discusses research presented in her article “We Need More ‘US’ in Schools!!”: Centering Black Adolescent Girls’ Literacy and Language Practices in Online School Spaces.’ Dr. Greene discusses how thoughtfully designed digital learning environments and culturally responsive content outside of traditional schooling structures allow Black girls’ rich language practices and nuanced identity constructions to flourish. She encourages educators to embrace multimodal expressions of learning enabled by digital technology and highlights teachers’ discomfort with some platforms as an opportunity for student agency in the co-construction of knowledge. Dr. Greene ultimately emphasizes that if digital pedagogy is to be truly equitable, it must be grounded in authentic relationships that value the languages, literacies, cultures and histories of historically marginalized students.

Episode 12: Fostering Dynamic Social Studies Dialog
In a special episode of CASDA's EdCasts series, CASDA Executive Director Michael Piccirillo, Ed.D sat down with Professor Brett Levy of the UAlbany School of Education to discuss fostering authentic, engaged dialog in social studies classrooms. Drawing upon Dr. Levy's research, they discuss practices that allow students to move beyond superficial reactions and engage substantively with differing viewpoints to learn and grow to develop civic literacy.

Episode 11: Exploring Equity in Schools 
Kathleen McLean, CEO of the McLean Group and Tracy Sangare, an ENL teacher at Latham Ridge Elementary School in North Colonie discuss the urgency of equity work in schools. They reflect on how curriculum can either affirm or marginalize students of color and share deeply moving personal stories that have shaped their perspective and commitment to educational justice. 

Episode 10: The Journey to the Work
This podcast is the first in a series addressing race and equity issues and their impact on schools. In this episode, CASDA Executive Director Mike Piccirillo is joined by Kathleen McLean, CEO of the McLean Group. They discuss how their childhood experiences shaped their understanding of race and identity and reflect on events that led them to recognize the urgency of anti-racist work in schools. 

Episode 9: Exploring Student Empowerment 
In this special EdCast, we are joined by Ricarlo-Luis Grevely, a senior at Schenectady High School. Ricarlo discusses student empowerment and student voice, the Teen Advocacy Group’s efforts to initiate dialogue on equity issues, and a newsletter published  to celebrate Hispanic and Latinx/o/a Heritage Month.  

Episode 8: Relationships and Empathy: The Foundation of Safe, Supportive Schools
CASDA faculty member Brian Farr and Thomas Andriola, Chief of Policy and Implementation at the NYS Office of Youth Justice discuss how the concept of school safety must be contextualized for all students to be safe and thrive. They explore ideas such as ACEs, implicit bias, SEL, restorative practices and building relationships in the course of a fascinating, informative, and often moving dialog. 

Episode 7: Instruction for Equity: Culturally Responsive Text Sets for Literacy and Content Engagement
CASDA Executive Director Mike Piccirillo speaks with Carmella Parente and Kerri Messler of Schenectady City Schools about their work utilizing text sets to help students access rigorous social studies content while reinforcing Schenectady's commitment to equity and social justice. Click here to learn more.

Episode 6: Exploring Culturally Responsive Practices in Odds-Beating Schools 
CASDA Executive Director Mike Piccirillo speaks with Dr. Kristen Wilcox of UAlbany's School of Education and the NYKids program about how schools she has studied leverage cultural responsiveness to better serve the needs of their students and produce "odds-beating" results. Click here to learn more. 

Episode 5: Tackling Chronic Absenteeism
CASDA's Rebecca Gardner speaks with Andrew Kourt, principal of Walter B. Howard Elementary School in New Lebanon, Brian Bishop, assistant principal at Averill Park High School and Dr. Antonio Abitabile, principal at Hudson High School about strategies to engage students and promote attendance. Click here to learn more.

Episode 4: Exploring College and Career Readiness
Shenendehowa High School Counselor Gretchen Lynch discusses the current landscape of college and career readiness and what we can do to help students prepare for life after graduation. Click here to learn more. Click here to view excerpts from Shenendehowa's "Senior Planner."

Episode 3: The Changing Role of EdTech: From Innovation to Integration
CASDA Faculty member Carly Mead is joined by Gina Fusco, Director of Instructional Technology at Lansingburgh Central Schools to discuss the evolution of educational technology, strategies to prepare for computer-based testing and women in STEM. Click here to learn more.

Episode 2: Alternative Educators: Serving Students Beyond the Stigma
Mike Schell, a Social Studies teacher at HFM BOCES Adirondack Academy joins CASDA's Gregg Weinlein to discuss the challenges and rewards of working in Alternative Education.  Click here to learn more. 

Episode 1: Teaching and Learning with ELLs
This episode features Kurt Hassenpflug, an ENL teacher. He shares his background, experiences and insights into topics such as ELL Co-Teaching. Click here to learn more.
Connecting Antiracism and SEL
00:00 / 45:16
Building Bridges Between K-12 and Higher Ed
00:00 / 26:57
Collaborating for Sustainability
00:00 / 33:03
Leveraging Engagement for Instructional Improvement
00:00 / 1:07:41
Exploring Equity in Digital Learning
00:00 / 33:59
Fostering Dynamic Social Studies Dialog
00:00 / 40:02
Exploring Equity in Schools
00:00 / 39:58
The Journey to the Work
00:00 / 45:31
Exploring Student Empowerment
00:00 / 27:15
Relationships and Empathy
00:00 / 48:58
Instruction for Equity
00:00 / 28:55
Exploring Culturally Responsive Practices
00:00 / 08:29
Tackling Chronic Absenteeism
00:00 / 36:16
Exploring College and Career Readiness
00:00 / 30:30
The Changing Role of EdTech
00:00 / 34:01
Alternative Educators
00:00 / 41:20
Teaching and Learning with ELLs
00:00 / 28:45
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