The Washington International School Summer Institute for Teachers (WISSIT): Connecting DC Educators with Project Zero Ideas brings together educators from all types of schools—traditional public, public charter, independent, and religiously-affiliated—as well as from community-based early learning centers, museums, and other educational settings, for the purpose of exploring ideas, pedagogical tools, and frameworks developed at Project Zero (PZ), a research group at Harvard University’s Graduate School of Education.

WISSIT sessions have featured renowned Project Zero researchers Veronica Boix Mansilla, Edward Clapp, Mara Krechevsky, Ben Mardell, Ron Ritchhart, Sarah Sheya, and Shari Tishman, in addition to leading PZ practitioners from the DC area.

The eighth annual WISSIT took place from Monday, August 2 - Friday, August 6, 2021. WISSIT 2021 was completely online, which allowed educators from around the world to attend. The 2022 WISSIT will take place from Monday, August 1 - Friday, August 5, 2022. We are hoping to return to in-person, but we will keep an eye on COVID developments in order to make the best decision for everyone’s safety.

This intense—and fun!—week of professional learning introduces educators to effective strategies for cultivating deep thinking and understanding at all grade levels and across subject areas. The learning will continue into the academic year, as participants gather for workshops and share classroom experiences in person or through online forums.

WISSIT is guided by the belief that the best schools are those where teachers continuously improve their practice through collaboration and reflection. The institute asks participants to reflect deeply on how they design and facilitate enriching, rigorous, and relevant learning opportunities for their students and includes both large and small group sessions, each addressing the following strands:

Building a Culture of Thinking: How do we help learners develop dispositions that support thoughtful learning across school subjects? How do we effectively create a culture of thinking, in classrooms and across a school?

Encouraging Creativity and “Maker Thinking” in Children: What can we learn from the practices of educators in the arts and in the maker movement? How might we encourage creativity, play and DIY habits of mind that are relevant to all disciplines?

Learning Deeply with Museum Resources: What can we—educators and students—learn from objects, artworks and archival materials to deepen our understanding of, and engagement with, the curriculum? How can we leverage the unique museum resources we have here in Washington, DC?

WISSIT has been made possible by generous support from an EE Ford Foundation Educational Leadership Grant, as well as contributions from a number of organizations and individual donors. (Learn more about the history behind WISSIT here.) For more information, contact Jim Reese, Director of WISSIT, at jim.reese@wis.edu.