Teaching and Assessing Writing in an Equitable and Student-Centered Classroom

Sep 29, 2021 9:00AM—Apr 28, 2022 11:30AM

Cost $1,050 members; $900 group-rate; $1,575 non-members

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Teaching and Assessing Writing in an Equitable and Student-Centered Classroom

SESSION 1: September 29, 2021 | 9:00am - 11:30am

SESSION 2: November 5, 2021 | 9:00am - 11:30am

SESSION 3: January 14, 2022 | 9:00am - 11:30am

SESSION 4: March 1, 2022 | 9:00am - 11:30am

SESSION 5: April 28, 2022 | 9:00am - 11:30am


This ongoing program seeks to create a community of learners that will explore these essential questions and collaborate on equitable practices in the humanities classroom: 

Questions we will explore:

  • What did we learn from the many ways we had to adapt and transform our classrooms throughout the pandemic? What new practices do we want to take back with us into the “new normal”?
  • What kind of assessment practices support an equitable, student-centered classroom?
  • How do we make the implicit explicit by getting students to understand and articulate the “why” of their writing choices in both argumentative and creative writing?
  • How do you successfully advocate for and implement change in your classroom, department, and school?
  • How can we develop practices that create a sustainable workload and prevent teacher burnout?

In each session there will be time set aside to apply new learning to your unique context.

Participants will explore these pedagogical practices:

  • Utilizing SEL practices to invite the whole student into the classroom
  • Centering collaboration via the workshop model
  • Co-creating rubrics and utilizing standards-based grading
  • Cultivating writing opportunities that feel meaningful to the student
  • Designing assessment practices (such as a portfolio model) that support risk-taking, fumbling, and learning from their mistakes

We will begin with a focus on community building, as well as an introduction to the workshop model. From there we’ll dive into research behind various assessment practices and spend time reflecting on which practices uphold our values as educators. In our last session, we’ll hear from a panel of students who have benefited directly from these pedagogical practices. Throughout, we will provide space to share case studies and to apply our learning to your own classroom setting. We will workshop challenges and celebrate successes. 


This series is designed for 7th-12th grade humanities teachers, humanities department chairs, academic deans, and directors of 21st century learning. New teachers as well as mid-career and veteran teachers interested in reassessing their approach to teaching writing are welcome.

Do you work at an independent school outside of California? Click here for a discount on our non-member registration!



"I learned SO MUCH today. I appreciated your modeling, your thoughtful presentation of the workshop model, the time to talk through examples with peers, and the individual time to set intentions and self-assess. Thank you for such a thoughtfully organized session."

"The facilitators are amazing! They're totally speaking my language, are very relatable, and presented everything in a clear, well-paced manner. Thank you so much for this experience."

"I also very much appreciated the slide show about Jessica's and Melissa's specific practices, gradebooks, standards, and reflections that they use with students. Having these specific ideas is SO helpful, and I can't tell you how much I appreciate your sharing your work with us in a way that we can continue to go back to it! You're right that this is too much to implement all at once, so being able to look at it and use one piece at a time, in the process of making a larger change, is great."

"I liked the final individual reflection about change. I realized something new about myself by looking at my response to change in light of how I might do that at my school/in my department."




Melissa Mirza taught English for eight years at San Francisco University High School. At UHS, Melissa taught 9th grade English as well as junior and senior electives of her own design. She and her colleague, Jessica Osorio, pioneered an experiment that shook up how the department teaches writing. In 2018-2019, Melissa led UHS’s strategic design work on assessment, creating a framework to evaluate how well teacher practices promote and measure student learning. She is the current Dean of Faculty at The Bay School, where she is setting up to launch a multi-year assessment initiative. Outside of her school communities, Melissa has led equity workshops on topics related to Islam and MENA (Middle East and North Africa) at schools and conferences all over the country, including NAIS’s People of Color Conference. She also mentors a cohort of Klingenstein graduate students in leadership development and serves on the planning committee of CATDC’s Women and Leadership Conference.


Jessica Osorio is beginning her sixth year of teaching English at San Francisco University High School. She teaches ninth grade English as well as junior and senior seminar courses of her own design. Outside of the classroom, Jessica coaches faculty as a mentor for new English teachers and as the Ninth Grade Mentor Coach, supporting a team of nine faculty advisors and managing grade-wide student support. She was a facilitator in UHS’ strategic work on assessment, collaborating with an interdisciplinary team of co-leaders to dive into research and re-evaluate the school’s assessment practices. She is a member of the admissions committee and the advisor to UHS’ Latinx student affinity group. Jessica is an alumna of University High School and The Hamlin School.

Cancellation Policy

Life happens. We understand that there will be times when you cannot attend a workshop that you have registered and paid for. We strive to be as helpful and flexible as possible when things out of your control happen. Please visit our FAQ page for detailed information about our cancellation policy and answers to frequently asked questions about enrollment and membership.