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Teaching with Empathy — The Missing Instructional Link

Wednesday, October 7, 2020 @ 4:00 pm - 5:00 pm EDT

Teaching with Empathy — The Missing Instructional Link

Presented by Rachel Jorgensen, Coordinator of Work-Based Learning, Anoka-Hennepin School District, MN; Robert Letcher, Founder, EdGenuis; and Patricia Gagnon, SVP, Programs & Practice, Intellispark

Sponsored by Intellispark

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The concept of empathy has been well explored in many educational circles. The colloquialism, “walk a mile in my shoes,” is a concept which many teachers embrace. Educators strive to take on the perspectives of their students in order to create connections and develop lessons that are engaging; however, as the world of young people becomes increasingly complex due to current events such as the COVID-19 pandemic, enacting empathy may present a difficulty.

For an educator who hopes to see all students succeed and wishes to prepare students for future success, empathy is not optional. The most perfectly designed lesson delivered with impeccable pedagogical execution will not reach students if they are disconnected. Student engagement depends on students’ relationships with their teachers more than ever. The key to building strong relationships is the ability of the educator to know individual students on an authentic level. This means developing an understanding of student culture, home environment, interests, and values outside of the classroom. Educators also must explore learning preferences, strengths, and challenges within the classroom. Getting to know students on this level may sound like an insurmountable task. In this edLeader Panel, we’ll discuss a range of strategies that offer opportunities for success.

This edLeader Panel will be of interest to K-12 teachers, school and district leaders focused on student support services, school counselors, school psychologists, and school social workers.


Rachel JorgensenAbout the Presenters

Rachel Jorgensen is an educator with experience in instructional coaching and teacher leadership with a particular interest in developing equitable practice, culturally responsible teaching, and a focus on college and career readiness. She currently serves as Coordinator of Work-Based Learning in a large Minnesota suburban district which offers her the chance to connect with students on a deep level. Leveraging student strengths and individualizing instruction to meet student needs are at the heart of her philosophy of education. She is grateful to invest her career in helping students find theirs.


Robert LetcherRob Letcher is the founder of EdGenius and is an instructional designer at Junior Achievement. He is a former Sr. Director at K12, Inc. With 23 years of experience in education, Rob has spent 18 of those online teaching and learning. A former school teacher, administrator, curriculum designer, instructional designer, teacher educator, and product manager, Rob’s expertise is both broad and deep. He is also serving as a teacher’s aide to his three children’s normally classroom-based teachers.


Patricia GagnonPatricia Gagnon is the SVP of Programs & Practice at Intellispark. She has worked in education for nearly 30 years, first as a department chair and teacher of high school English and Latin in RI public schools and then overseeing the development of online learning, student success, and college and career readiness solutions for K-20 students in multiple education technology organizations. She continues to explore how to effectively support her own five-year-old’s home learning adventure.



Join the Leadership 3.0: Essential Skills for Innovative Leaders community to network with educators, participate in online discussions, receive invitations to upcoming edWebinars, and view recordings of previous programs to earn CE certificates.

IntellisparkIntellispark is redefining how PreK-12 schools, students, and families work together to prepare successful, future-ready kids. Our easy-to-use tools help to improve communication and collaboration, enable an intentional focus on social-emotional development, and ensure every student is known, supported, and appreciated — creating the conditions for all students to thrive.


Wednesday, October 7, 2020
4:00 pm - 5:00 pm EDT
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