ISLA’s Virtual PD Week

July 25-29, 2022

Research shows that professional development is more effective when it is customized to the needs and interests of the teacher(s). ISLA’s Virtual PD Week allows staff to choose which sessions they would like to attend, or school leaders can require certain workshops as desired.

PD week includes two tracks: Curriculum & Instruction (AM sessions) and Social & Emotional (PM sessions). Staff can attend both tracks and choose which workshops they would like to attend.

Workshop Schedule

PD Week Schedule

Session Descriptions

Monday, July 25

Addressing Learning Loss: Accelerating Learning

Aisha Ansari

11:00 AM -12:30 PM EST

It is not a big surprise to stakeholders in education that many of our students did not master many concepts due to the pandemic. We automatically want our students to gain the “loss” of academic concepts back by shifting mindsets and changing our craft. We will discuss the following strategies that will allow students to develop a more concrete understanding of their learning concepts:

  1. Academic Discourse – Sentence Stems, Fold the Line and Group Discussions
  2. Assessment Instructional Cycle – Data Protocols and Data Trackers
  3. Personalize Learning – Student Choice and Social Emotional Learning

Fostering Students’ Mental Health

Madiha Tahseen, PhD

2:30-4:00 PM EST

Are you struggling to support your students to be confident and proud Muslims? Are you unsure how to support them in the racism they face? Are you trying to figure out how you can create a safe space in your classroom or school? This workshop is intended to help teachers navigate how to better listen, validate, and support the upcoming generation and deal with the hardships they will face.

Tuesday, July 26

Project-Based Learning

Sarah Malik

11:00 AM -12:30 PM EST

Learn about project-based learning for authentic assessment and beyond. Educators will be trained how to create a performance-based project that engages students and teaches them transferable problem-solving skills.

Strategies for Successful Classroom Management

Kathy Jamil

2:30-4:00 PM EST

This 90-minute session will focus on those highly effective classroom management strategies that great teachers learn over time through experience and practice. What teachers do the first 6 weeks of school sets the expectations and successes for the entire school year. From, “Teach Like a Champion” by Doug Lemov, and the Responsive Classroom model, we will walk through: How to create systems, routines, and practice until mastery; and Follow-through: teacher strategies to reinforce, remind, and redirect.

Wednesday, July 27

Culturally Relevant & Islamic Pedagogy

Quran Shakir

11:00 AM -12:30 PM EST

The interactive and engaging Culturally Relevant & Islamic Pedagogy session has a main objective of defining student success from a broad lens of the Qur’an and then to the narrowed definition of unpacking how we teach what we teach children at our Islamic institutions about identity, self-actualization, and the role of diversity and differences in Allah’s creation. Participants will assess instructional practices and determine ways to rethink and restructure instructional practices and instructional materials to ensure the curriculum is truly Qur’anic, inclusive, comprehensive, and creates an environment for all students to succeed.

Healing Educators: Breaking free from secrecy, toxic stress, and silent suffering

Omar Reda, MD

2:30-4:00 PM EST

Unfortunately, many students get exposed at one point in their young lives to at least one traumatic event going through the school system. Trauma is prevalent and comes in many forms and shapes, it can happen in the context of abuse, neglect, racism, bullying, and other forms of inter-personal violence, it can be caused by separation from a caregiver as a result of death, incarceration, divorce, addiction or mental illness, and for some students it can be due to forced displacement or fleeing extreme circumstances like war or armed conflict in one’s home country. Schools therefore might be the only places of safety and sanity not only for refugee students but also for all traumatized youth.

The aim of this workshop is to expose teachers, educators, school administrators and personnel to the basics of trauma-informed care in a school context. The hope is that, together with students and their loved ones and through the support of school leadership and the guidance of professionals, educators will become a healing force and instrumental tools in breaking the dysfunctional cycles and in empowering their students to untangle the web of trauma. The main focus is on caring for the caregiver, and The Wounded Healer model will be covered in detail as an added tool for healing wounded healers.

Thursday, July 28

Differentiating Through Choice

Angela Elkordy, PhD

11:00 AM -12:30 PM EST

As an educator, you may know options for differentiation include: modifying the demonstration of learning or product modification by process or processes and/or by content. In practice, however, it can be difficult to create, assess and manage the logistics of differentiation, leading teachers to feel overwhelmed. This interactive workshop will explore instructional strategies and practical ideas to purposefully design learning experiences that engage and empower learners through choice. Key topics include: instructional technologies, cognitive task level, learning design, learner motivation and agency and evidence-based practice.

Positive Discipline

Eamaan Rabbat

2:30-4:00 PM EST

Positive Discipline: Fabulous educators can only be fabulous if they have a class that is attentive, engaged, and productive. So what do we do when things go wrong? This session will focus on behavior issues that may arise in a classroom and the ways to best address them so that you can focus on the learning. Where does positive discipline begin, and what is the role of teachers, parents, and administrators in the equation? How can we engage students in a positive way within the Islamic paradigm? What are some ways to get students excited about their learning while remaining respectful with their teachers and others? In this interactive workshop we will answer these questions, discuss how to create a positive learning environment, and learn practical strategies to maintain a disciplined classroom.

Friday, July 29

Reimagining Arabic Pedagogy: Teaching & Learning with Ed Tech

Nadia Selim, PhD

10:00 AM -11:30 AM EST** (Please note: different time for Friday than previous days)

Students are experiencing the integration of educational technology at unprecedented levels. The pandemic created a prolonged learning-from-home situation that was greatly aided by educational technology but also underscored the potential implications of the digital divide. Video conferencing applications (e.g. Zoom and Microsoft Teams) became a fixture in many educational contexts. Various platforms that support group competitions (e.g. Kahoot!), interactive whiteboard activities (e.g. Wordwall) and students’ creativity (e.g. Padlet, Voki and Powtoon) are extremely popular. Many schools make use of learning management systems that deliver a whole host of functionalities (e.g. Edmodo) or subscriptions to resource platforms (e.g. ClickView and twinkl). Arabic teaching and learning can benefit significantly from these technologies. Teachers often incorporate many of these opportunities into their teaching. Digital tools could create engaging learning experiences. However, two key questions for Arabic teachers are: (1) to what extent is the incorporation of technology in Arabic classrooms guided by language pedagogy? (2) are ineffective methods being repackaged? In this session, we will reimagine Arabic pedagogy with an emphasis on teaching and learning with educational technology.

Designing Student-Centered Classrooms (Teaching Arabic: Who & How)

Nadia Selim, PhD

11:30 AM -1:00 PM EST

The notions of student-centric classrooms or student-centric learning environments are familiar to most educators. In this approach, the student is placed at the centre of the pedagogical act. Arabic teaching that follows this approach underscores students’ active role in the process of acquiring Arabic and conceives of teachers as guides or facilitators. In some respects, this is consistent with the notion of an ‘active seeker of knowledge’ [Talib-ul-‘ilm (the ‘requester’ or ‘seeker’ of knowledge) or in this case, Talib-ul-‘arabiyyah (the ‘requester’ or ‘seeker’ of Arabic)]. In this setting, students’ independence and autonomy are supported. The learners in this environment are encouraged to explore Arabic, experiment with it, and also make mistakes. An Arabic learning environment that is student-centric will focus on who students are and how to best guide them in their journey of language acquisition. This session will focus on Arabic pedagogy that facilitates student-centric learning environments in which we first ask who is learning and how do we help them rather than what are we teaching?

Speaker Bios

Angela Elkordy

Assistant Professor, Learning Sciences Education, National College of Education, National Louis University

Angela Elkordy, Ph.D., is Assistant Professor, Educational Leadership, at the National College of Education, National Louis University, Chicago, IL. She is the Founding Director of the Learning Sciences programs. Dr. Elkordy is passionate about empowering educators’ practice through research and teaching in the learning sciences, instructional technologies, leadership, and research. She is the lead author of Design Ed: Connecting Learning Sciences Research to Practice, published in 2019 by the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE). 

Dr. Elkordy served in PreK-12 contexts as a teacher and school leader for over a decade. She continues to build capacity in teachers and school leaders through her work in higher education and consulting through Learning by Design. Dr. Elkordy shares her knowledge through professional networks, publications and conferences.

Learn more at and (LinkedIn – love to connect!).

Aisha Ansari

Aspire & Reach Educational Consulting, Co-Founder

Being in the educational industry for more than a decade, Aisha Ansari brings many tools of the trade to the educational field. Graduated with a double Master’s degree in administration and teacher leadership with ESL concentration, Aisha has the experience from being a building principal to a classroom teacher. She also had the privilege of coaching and mentoring teachers in Klein Independent School District as well as developing a viable curriculum for students for 6th,7th and 8th grade middle school. She initiated many programs at her campuses that became a catalyst of change to better serve students which helped improve gaps among students. A proud presenter at the district, regional and state level, she had an opportunity to share her knowledge of instructional practices that benefit ALL students.

Eamaan Rabbat

Rabata, Education Director

Eamaan Rabbat was raised in the United States and in Syria, where she benefited from renowned female teachers of the Islamic sciences, including tajwid, sirah, hadith, fiqh, and aqīdah. After moving to the United Arab Emirates, she earned her Bachelor’s in Mass Communications with concentrations in Advertising and Journalism and later earned a Master’s in Educational Leadership and Administration. Since graduating university, she has dedicated her time to the education and upbringing of children and adults. She has held various positions in educational institutions and schools, and volunteered at various educational centers. She has been honored to serve as director of the Ribaat Academic Institute since its inception in Fall 2013 and presently serves as Rabata’s Education Director. In her current role, she is a teacher of youth, teens, and educators in addition to overseeing three online academic programs: The Ribaat Academic Institute, which focuses on traditional Islamic scholarship for women, Rabateens, an engagement program for teen girls, and Dragonflies, a spiritual development program for Muslim youth.

Kathy Jamil

Learning in Tandem Consulting, Owner

Kathy Jamil is owner of Learning in Tandem Consulting and the current Director of Education for United Way of Buffalo and Erie County. She was a school principal for private and public schools for 19 years. She has consulted educational organizations & nonprofits for over 20 years, focusing on policy, curriculum & instruction, leadership coaching, and organization management. She works with school leaders and teachers on practices that yield strong student outcomes nationally and abroad. She is currently serving on the Child Care Resource Network Board, NYS Early Childhood Advisory Committee, and Trocaire College Board. She holds a Master’s in Educational Leadership and is a Doctoral candidate working on a qualitative study in Critical Race Theory that looks at how silencing of marginalized students influences their decisions to drop out of school. The research seeks to highlight the importance of fostering student capital to counteract the inequities embedded in school cultures and standardized practices.

Madiha Tahseen, PhD

Family & Youth Institute, Research Fellow and Community Educator

Dr. Madiha Tahseen is a Research Fellow and a Community Educator and the Research Director at The Family and Youth Institute. She holds a Ph.D. in Applied Developmental Psychology from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC). Dr. Tahseen’s research interests include individual and group identity development, parenting, acculturation, and risk and protective factors of Muslim adolescents’ healthy development. She has presented her research nationally in both academic and community settings. She has been a community organizer for more than a decade serving the American Muslim community in varying capacities. She is also an Executive Board member of Stones To Bridges, a non-profit organization that provides an anonymous online platform for Muslim youth to address their emotional, social and behavioral needs.

Nadia Selim, PhD

Associate Lecturer, University of Sydney

Dr. Nadia Selim is an Associate Lecturer working at The University of Sydney in the Department of Arabic Language and Cultures. She is a researcher and Arabic language and cultures educator. Dr. Nadia’s research interests include Arabic language pedagogy and education with an emphasis on Arabic language learning in Australia, Arabic learning in Australian Islamic Schools, L2 motivation and experiences, as well as using digital resources in L2 learning. She has conducted professional development sessions for teachers and cultural awareness sessions for staff at different organisations.

Omar Reda, MD

Board-certified Psychiatrist

Receiving his master’s degree from Harvard University in Refugee and Global Mental Health after completing medical school in Libya and while undergoing extensive training with the University of Tennessee, Dr. Omar Reda is a board-certified psychiatrist, Harvard-trained trauma expert, and the author of Untangled and The Wounded Healer. Dr. Reda is a leading expert in Psychotraumatology and Trauma-Informed Care as well as the mental health of Muslims, immigrants and refugees, the Libyan revolution, and the Arab Spring, and is the author of several books and a highly sought-after dynamic public speaker.

Living in Portland, Oregon with his wife and three daughters, Dr. Reda’s passion for healing focuses on tackling the family dysfunction and youth vulnerability resulting from trauma.

Qur’an Shakir

Clara Mohammed Schools

Qur’an Shakir is a seasoned school leader and practitioner with 30 years of experience in the field of education spanning a variety of industries, ranging from head master (director, principal) of a top, private Muslim American school to serving in capacities of Master teacher, teacher, communications coordinator, curriculum coordinator, board development, online learning management, technology, student relations, results-oriented instruction, transformative professional development and transformative in-service. Throughout her career, she has developed and partnered with small organizations to establish in-house instructional functions, as well as played a strategic role with larger organizations.

In addition to being certified as a Jegna, master educator, guide and distinguished leader, Madame Q currently serves as a school consultant, a radio talk show host, a freelance writer, a leader in interfaith relations, and a called-upon motivational speaker. A Fulbright Scholar, she is founder of several organizations and initiatives, including Powerful Youth in Charge (PYIC), an organization for tweens and teens that teaches them the power of leadership and being their own best advocates; The Taalib-Din Company, which promotes learning Islam through games and competitions; Taqwa Productions Inc., an Islamic media production company; and UISA (United Islamic Schools of Atlanta), an organization of Islamic school leaders.

Madame Q is an active board member for several organizations that serve youth, including, but not limited to the Interfaith Children’s Movement where she is committed to advocating for children and empowering them to advocate, lead and serve; the Drug Rebound of DeKalb Juvenile Justice where she advises and supports the juvenile court in efforts to help adolescent participants learn to live drug free and crime-free, Camp Butterfly Girls International, the National Education Council (NEC) of Sister Clara Mohammed Schools, member of the Global Association of Islamic Schools (GAIS), and more. A native Atlantian, Qur’an Shakir and her husband, William Abdul-Khaaliq, reside in Atlanta, GA.

Sarah I Malik

K12Uplifted, Co-Founder

Mrs. Sarah Malik is a certified educator and has over 12 years of experience working with Islamic Schools in the USA as a school principal, team leader, instructional coach, teacher, and professional development provider. She is the co-founder of K12 Uplift-Ed, LLC. Mrs. Malik earned a Master of Science in Biology for Educators from Clemson University, a Graduate TESOL Certificate (Teaching English to Students of Other Languages) from the University of Southern Mississippi, a Bachelor’s Degree in Science, Mathematics, and Technology – concentration in Health Science from SUNY Empire State College & and a Bachelor’s Degree in Islamic Studies from the International Open University. Mrs. Malik believes that training school teachers, administrators, and board members – by updating their educational knowledge and enhancing their professional skills – is a constant need, strategic move, and a great investment that pays off in the short and long-term. She is an
exemplar of her beliefs and is constantly seeking knowledge.

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