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APPLE Project Brief

Mature students studying in library

Mature Students In Further Education Class With Teacher

ASYNCHRONOUS LEARNING – We have created 6 short, recorded presentations providing an introduction to the APPLE Institute.  Team members are asked to review each session prior to attending the whole group convening.  The videos are posted to the FCSN YouTube page under the playlist “APPLE Institute“.  Pdf versions of the presentation handouts are available by clicking on each title.

An Introduction to APPLE

Welcome to Family Engagement

The Power of Advocacy

What is a SEPAC?

English Learners and ELPACs

The Leadership Compass – Identifying Your Learning Style



Defining Team Values

Strong core values can be a guiding force for group interaction.  Everyone should be involved in establishing values to help your team move in the same direction.  Every team is different and needs to spend time to define what is meaningful to them.  Research shows that having well-defined team values help members feel a greater sense of inclusion and allow for better communication.  In creating a list of shared values, a team will:

  • create better understanding and communication
  • help people to function and work better together
  • create better co-operation and alignment of people towards a common goal
  • help to focus attention on the right issues, and
  • create greater value for all the stakeholders.

Progressive Stacking

Progressive stacking is a technique used by group facilitators to ensure minority voices are heard by allowing members of minority communities to speak before members of majority communities.  Underrepresented groups can include women, people of color, members of the LGBTQ community, and individuals with mental or physical disabilities.  The process can create opportunities to address unbalanced power dynamics in a group.  While this technique may not provide the same comfort for everyone in the group, for those who come from a place of privilege, it allows them to gain an understanding of their peers’ experiences.  Progressive stacking encourages voices that are not typically heard.

Leadership Compass

Every member brings strengths and skills to a team.  Understanding how individuals approach teamwork, leadership and communication will help a team function better.  The Compass activity will help team members learn that while everyone has a predominant style, all styles are effective leadership styles and important to a team. This activity allows team members to consider their own working styles as well as the styles of others,  as a tool for self-reflection and leadership growth.  A goal is to have teams deliberately build skills in all directions to enhance personal and team performance.

Co-Design: A Force of Creativity and Collaboration

Co-design is a process of partnering and decision-making that engages diverse peoples to collectively identify problems of practice and innovate solutions. Co-design has the potential to foster change-making that is responsive, adaptive, and equity-oriented.  The purpose of co-design workshops is to discover unique perspectives through collaboration and to include user and stakeholder opinions in key decisions.

Introduction to the Team Planning Process

A key feature of the APPLE Institute is the development of an Action Plan by each district team.  Using a consensus-driven process, each team will develop a shared vision, address needs and challenges within the district (using a SN(W)OT analysis) and create an Action Plan identifying 2-3 areas to address in the next 12 months.  Each team is assigned an FCSN Facilitator to guide the team to completion of its unique plan.


Introduction to Storytelling

Personal family experiences provide valuable insight into system dynamics.  Learning to tell a personal story that conveys information and inspires reflection, without embarrassment or over exposure, is a critical skill.

Deep Listening

Active listening helps us to lower our fear and discomfort level by establishing a sense of safety and trust.  It is an explicit practice of bypassing stereotypes and bias by focusing on listening to another person without responding or judging.  It set the tone for building on commonalities and generates energy for change.

Effective Communication 

Improving communication skills around respectful conversations allows diverse, and perhaps controversial perspectives of team members to all be given consideration.  Discussions should occur respectfully, leading to better working relationships and greater understanding.  Difficult conversations are ones in which opinions differ, the stakes are high and/or emotions run deep.