Nicole Dimich Vagle is an educator and author. As president of Lighthouse Learning Community, I have trained, facilitated, co-designed and networked in ways to create more engaging and meaningful spaces for students. I also firmly believe in the power of teachers and tapping their expertise and passion in ways that increase achievement, learning, and confidence.
My experience as an educator has been varied. As a teacher (Eden Prairie and Byron, MN), I was committed to seeing the possibility in all of my students. As a program evaluator (Princeton, New Jersey), I learned the power of data both to understand impact and to tell stories of implementation that promoted transformation. As a "reform" specialist (Minneapolis), I worked in an urban setting to help implement small learning communities. Facilitating student work conversations, create a meaningful focus for small learning communities, facilitate student focus groups and conduct student surveys to deeply understand the impact of these projects on the student experience. I worked on data projects (Osseo and Minneapolis, MN) to create more systematic data systems that could effectively and efficiently provide more targeted information to teachers and schools alike.
I train and facilitate work on classroom assessment (United States, Canada and beyond) practices through Solution Tree and the newly launched Assessment Center with colleagues Cassandra Erkens and Tom Schimmer. We strive to provide guidance and empower educators to put Assessment at the Center in ways that promote hope, efficacy and Achievement. More information and resources can be found on the All Things Assessment website.
I attended Concordia College in Moorhead, Minnesota, where I earned a degree in Secondary English Education and Psychology. I have a masters in Human Development from St. Mary's University.
Quivale R Roberts is a freelance writer, spoken word artist, educator and social worker. She has worked professionally as a writer for five years after having worked in the field of social services and education for 25 years. She also has been writing and performing spoken word for over 20 years. Quivale earned a Bachelor of Social Work from Washburn University. She also holds both a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and a Master of Social Work from the University of Kansas. Recently, she has begun teaching spoken word and using narrative techniques with students. These modalities are used as means of empowerment and vehicles for learning and applying empathy with an expected outcome of improved emotional intelligence and academic achievement.
Looking back on my learning journey there are two interactions that made all the difference: supportive relationships and a continuous current of collaboration.
Fifteen years in the classroom teaching grades 7-12 social studies was the most intense learning experience of my life. Thanks to the support of those around me, two accomplishments stand out. The first was volunteering for a prototype grade level team, based on the DuFour PLC model. The primary outcome of this experiment was that the school moved forward building a professional learning community. However, more central to my professional practice was developing the relationships that shaped my learning journey until this day. The second was becoming a teacher who was intentionally scheduled with “difficult” kids. What I first perceived as a burden, led to a collaborative life-long mission to help ALL students become successful learners.
Life takes unexpected twists. As the role of standardized testing grew my interest in classroom assessment, especially as described by Rick Stiggins as “assessment FOR learning,” increased as well. This led to a master’s degree at Hamline University, informed by assessment systems and the resultant data. . At Centennial Middle School I developed a position as a school-based assessment and data coordinator, helping teachers develop common high-quality assessments, used collaboratively, to inform instruction and foster student investment in learning. My current position is at Twin Cities International, where I do similar work in a K-4 setting.
Relationships and collaboration continue to fuel my passion for learning and assessment in new ways. A chance encounter with Nicole Vagle at a national assessment conference led to becoming a part of Lighthouse Learning Community, assisting with the work of supporting teachers and schools on their assessment journey. In addition I have been selected as an Assessment Associate with Solution Tree and their assessment arm, The Solution Tree Assessment Center.