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VEN Video

WHO WE ARE

We are VEN Consulting, LLC.  We are the creators of The Virtual Educator Network.  Our company is composed of three individuals, Drs. Johnita Porter, Ken Horne Jr., and Kelly Anderson.  We formed our partnership after receiving our Doctor of Education degrees from Michigan State University.  Our dissertation in practice research created a form of online professional development for educators, The VEN.  Each of us has an interest in improving student outcomes through the educators who instruct and support children.

At the beginning of our research, we knew we wanted to create a system where educators could come together and receive support on challenges they were facing in their problems of practice.  In the midst of our brainstorming and beginning stages of formulating our research plan, Covid-19 hit the United States.  Ever determined, we changed course slightly by moving the system to a virtual format.  However, we remained committed to our goal in developing a system to support educators, collecting data on the experience, and analyzing the result.  The result is The VEN, a dynamic virtual professional development structure.

Click on the video below to learn more about the components of the VEN.

WHAT WE DO

We bring educators together from all levels of education, roles (not just classroom teachers), years of experience, and backgrounds.  The VEN structure is unique. The VEN is made up of five pillars, or components (shown below). Typically, in collaboration and learning, teachers meet with colleagues in the same grade or vertical cohorts (i.e. content level teachers from a specific level--elementary, middle, high, meet).  In The VEN, educators meet in a virtual environment to discuss challenges they’re having in their work.  We train facilitators to work alongside educators, in this process.  They lead the group through a protocol we’ve created that asks guiding questions, keeps conversations productive, leads to suggestions and recommendations, and holds educators accountable.  The facilitators also ensure The VEN is a safe space where people feel comfortable sharing.  Facilitators also assist with the relationship building among participants.

The Pantheon below illustrates how the VEN components work together to impact teacher and student outcomes.

Content.Pantheon image 9.9.21 (1)

WHY IT'S IMPORTANT

There are many reasons why The VEN is an important part of educator professional development.  Currently, education is an industry heavy on accountability but lacking in support.  The reasons for this quagmire are numerous: federal regulations, lack of funding, disparities in how education is implemented, teachers being seen as workers instead of professionals, the diversity of student needs...the list is endless.

The VEN improves this predicament by creating a place where educators can not only support each other, but use their expertise to brainstorm solutions to challenges.  This is not a “sit and get” style or “train the trainer” approach to PD.  This is a “educators come together from all levels, roles, and positions and use your expertise to help your fellow colleagues tackle challenges they’re facing in their classrooms, offices, gyms, and media centers” type of model.  In the process, relationships are built, staff feel validated, creative ideas are brought forward, and problems are addressed.

WHAT ARE PEOPLE SAYING ABOUT VEN?

 

 

“The Ven is a place where educators can collaborate to share ideas, work through challenges and offer viable solutions”

-Kenyatta, Elementary support educator

 

 

“[I] appreciate all the ideas”

-Tracy, Social-Elementary grades educator

 

 

“If you have a problem, bring it to the VEN.”

-Dana, High school algebra educator

 

 

“There’s something that feels different about this [the VEN].”

-Amanda, CTE Instructional Coach

 

 

“It feels good to not be alone.”

-Kristen, High school social worker