The Mosaic Professional Development Project

Through the Mosaic Professional Development Project, we collaborate with educators to build equitable, healthy classroom and school communities that foster mutual respect, connection, and a celebration of differences and that motivate all members to achieve at their highest potential.

Our staff works together with your professional learning community to identify its greatest strengths and struggles as we address the following three crucial questions:

1)    How does this community build a strong foundation for a healthy learning environment?

Building a sustainable, positive school climate is like building a physical school. There must be a solid foundation based on mutual respect, collaboration and care. The elements that affect the social-emotional development of students must be addressed proactively, early and often. Just like a physical classroom has walls and a roof as physical boundaries, so the social-emotional classroom must have clear expectations and procedures as behavioral boundaries.  Relying solely on behavioral management is a “quick fix” approach, much like hastily erecting scaffolding on sand.  We aim to support your community in building an equitable school from the foundation up.

2)    How does this community make social-emotional learning relevant to students’ lives thereby deepening and extending its impact?

We focus on the concept of interconnection. Understanding that our individual actions are affected by and affect the larger world puts individual and classroom behavior in the context of social systems. Understanding these systems is key to becoming a global citizen. It is key to understanding that not only is our behavior shaped by those systems, but also that our individual behavior can help to shape them and that we can have a positive impact on the world.

3)     How does this professional learning community model behaviors that are essential to creating the healthy school climate it envisions?

Modeling has proven to be a very effective technique in academic instruction.  The same is true for social-emotional instruction and in creating a positive learning climate. When teachers model the behaviors they expect to see from their students, these behaviors are more likely to become the cultural norm of the community. We support teachers who would like to build their skills in assertive communication, nonviolent conflict resolution, and overcoming cultural bias.

The Mosaic Project also aims to model through our practices. Just as we encourage teachers to create collaborative, equitable classrooms, we create a collaborative, equitable project. We work with each school to tailor the program to meet each individual school’s needs, as well as each individual teacher’s needs.

Your professional learning community makes selections from the Mosaic Tool Box and our menu of processes to achieve its goals.

The Mosaic Project’s Tool Box includes but is not limited to:

  • Anti-bias Work: The Mosaic Project has a multitude of activities that explore the systems in the world that unfairly favor or marginalize specific groups of people.  Using empathy as a foundation, we motivate participants to help create a more peaceful, just, and inclusive world.
  • Assertiveness Skills: The Mosaic Project defines assertiveness as “being strong without being mean.”  The “fight or flight response” can be deeply ingrained in us. Often, we feel we must respond to conflict by fighting (being aggressive) or running away and/or hiding (being passive).  When we are assertive, we are respectful to ourselves and everyone around us. Body language, what you say, and how you say it are important factors to consider when being assertive. The Mosaic Project provides methods to explore being passive and aggressive and the contrast of being assertive. We also explore how to be an assertive ally to others. Perhaps most importantly, we support teachers in modeling assertiveness so that students have clear examples of what assertiveness looks like.
  • Conflict Resolution Protocols:  Teachers will learn how to model and teach Mosaic’s  5 Tools for Conflict Resolution: 1) Stop, cool off, and take a deep breath; 2) Talk using “I Statements”; 3) Listen; 4) Empathize; 5) Make a plan that works for everyone.  We provide lessons (including songs) for each of the tools that support both teachers and students in using the process to resolve conflicts peacefully.
  • Empathy Enhancement: Empathy is at the core of Mosaic’s work. Empathy is defined as the ability to “put yourself in someone else’s shoes.” Our lessons help to build the capacity for empathy in different situations and to overcome the barriers to empathy that  both teachers and students face.
  • Language:  Having common language to discuss challenging issues is essential when creating an equitable classroom. Words such as stereotype, prejudice, discrimination, and ally are defined. Lessons and analogies are also used to support both understanding and the use of the words.
  • Peer Mediation:  We support your teachers in creating a school-wide program in which students help their peers to resolve conflicts. 
  • Setting the Stage for Success:  We provide a multitude of activities to support the classroom community in making agreements and setting up systems that set the stage for a successful school year.
  • Team Leadership:  In creating a healthy school climate where everyone works together as a community, it is essential that the school’s faculty model the behavior they expect to see from their students.  Mosaic provides methods and activities to inspire a school faculty to become a strong community and an example for the younger members of the school community.

The Mosaic Project’s Menu of Processes includes but is not limited to:

  • Professional Development Workshops and Retreats:  We can provide training for your entire faculty through workshops and retreats.  
  • Individual Coaching:  We can work with individual teachers one on one.
  • Video:  We can video teachers in the classroom and provide detailed feedback as we analyze the video together.
  • Classroom Observations:  We can observe your students and teachers in action.  This can help us determine which tools might best serve your school.
  • Co Teaching:  We can co-teach lessons on Mosaic Tools with your teachers.
  • Setting Up Safe Spaces: The Mosaic Project can give suggestions and work with teachers to create spaces for students to take breaks (cool off) and resolve conflicts.
  • Training Mentors:  We can train selected teachers to mentor other teachers within your school in using Mosaic tools.

The Comprehensive Mosaic Professional Development Project includes:

  • 26 hours of facilitation, tailored to a school’s needs, which is generally distributed as follows:
    • 1 two-hour goal setting meeting
    • 1 six-hour staff workshop/retreat
    • 1 three-hour staff workshop (focused on a theme or topic of your choice)
    • 3 one-hour focused small team workshops
    • 10 hours of individual observation/coaching
    • 1 two-hour wrap up/next steps meeting