The Observation and Feedback Course began in 2013, so this was our 8th year of training hundreds of evaluators across the Boston Public Schools. 236 leaders and educators participated in the Observation and Feedback Course in 2020.
Jess launched the "Not So Distant Learning" course in August 2020. This free online course prepares you for hybrid and remote learning by guiding you step-by-step.
What I have come to understand about Jess is this: She is a teacher first. Her work is always grounded in strong instructional practice. Her professional development courses are rich in both content and pedagogy. Jess models high quality instruction for teachers, and is able to do that because she has a deep understanding of instruction herself. For me, Jess’s leadership in BPS is hugely important for this reason: She brings to the district the qualities that all schools should be able to expect of their leaders: experience, knowledge, relationships, and deep sense of purpose.
Neema Avashia, 8th Grade Civics Teacher, Boston
I have had the opportunity to work with Jess as a co-designer and co-facilitator of adult learning in several settings and have been consistently impressed with the knowledge, skill and passion she brings to the work of creating effective adult learning experiences. In each of these endeavors Jess was highly professional and goal oriented. She kept the experience of the learner at the center of all decisions and used feedback from each session to improve the planning and execution of the next one. Jess is an educational leader who brings a high degree of expertise, instructional rigor, and cultural competence to her work in service of adult learning.
Mary Driscoll, Elementary Superintendent, Boston Public Schools
Jess’s professional development training has helped me to grow as a teacher. I appreciate that Jess presents us with clear focus areas and then provides us with strategies and activities to help teachers meet these goals in the classroom. I appreciate the fact that Jess not only shares her own vast knowledge, but encourages teachers to learn from each other by sharing what they are doing in their classrooms. Jess has helped me to be a more reflective teacher, and has reinforced the idea that teachers should always be growing and improving their practice.
Ariel Velez, 6th Grade English Teacher, Boston
I have so much respect for Jess because she's a leader who still gets what it means to be a teacher. She runs full-day PD sessions for 50+ people and makes the session feel relevant, engaging, and fun for all. She's also an educator who is always so clearly and passionately focused on improving teaching and learning. She's able to have tough conversations, whether it's leading a diverse group of educators to talk about implicit bias, steering assistant superintendents, or coaching teachers 1-on-1. And she has a big picture/systems thinking view that is essential for effective teachers and leaders in Boston.
Mark Lonergan, Instructional Coach and Networker, Boston Public Schools
I have found Jess to be a facilitator who applies adult learning theory that maximizes each learning experience. She values the knowledge and skills each learner brings to the table and adapts her instruction to meet their needs. During school closure, I witnessed Jess quickly adjusting content and delivery to support staff. Her calm and firm demeanor is a constant that provides the nurturing environment that adult learners need as they continue to explore uncharted waters during the reopening of schools. Without reservation, I recommend people taking a course with Jess. The course participants will walk away with resources and learning that can be immediately applied to their work.
Monica Hall, Administrative Professional Growth Specialist, Boston Public Schools
I have been lucky enough to learn alongside Jess Madden-Fuoco on and off for several years. She designs classes that give teachers more than information. Because she focuses on application and sharing knowledge among the teachers in the class, we actually have the time to create plans that we use the next day, week, or year. I didn't just learn about Understanding by Design; I created units that I still use 5 years later. I didn't just learn about observation and feedback, I practiced observing and being observed, including observing Jess as an evaluator and giving her feedback! I didn't just learn about Restorative Justice; I experienced it with my classmates and wrote circles that I use. And when COVID struck, the way Jess moved our latest RJ class online gave me immediate concrete ideas for how to plan my own remote learning classes.
Melanie Allen, 6th - 8th Grade ELA Teacher, Boston