Refugee Educator Foundations of Practice Learning Community

CPL News Archive

Refugee Educator Foundations of Practice Learning Community Pilot Launched


In July of 2019, the Refugee Educator Foundations of Practice Learning Community was launched.

Rensselaerville, N.Y. – The Carey Institute’s Center for Learning in Practice launched Refugee Educator Foundations of Practice (REFP) Learning Community Pilot on July 15, 2019. A community of 114 educators in the states of Arizona, New York and Washington joined the Center’s inaugural pilot cohort. The cohort will participate in a 12-week online course and offer feedback on the REFP learning design, dialog with colleagues from various states, schools, grade levels, and content areas, and enjoy the support of a facilitator/coach and a community of practice over the 2019-2020 school year.

“Participation of educators and school administrators is a critical element in developing a sustainable strategy for refugee educators to connect, build their skills, curate content, and reflect on their practice. The participants’ feedback is central to the ultimate course design,” says Director Dr. Diana Woolis, of the Center for Learning in Practice.

Participants in the REFP pilot course will earn 30 state-approved professional development (PD) hours as well as a certificate issued by the Center for Learning in Practice. Each state’s participants will earn PD hours from these issuing authorities: Office of English Language Acquisition Services of the Arizona Department of EducationContinuing Teacher and Leader Education by the New York State Education Department, and Puget Sound Educational Service District in Washington. They can also earn micro-credentials and digital badges from the Center’s Refugee Educator micro-credential stack. The Center currently offers 5 micro-credentials designed to highlight the competencies and commitment of classroom teachers, as well as teacher educators and program designers, working with students of refugee backgrounds. The participants are also encouraged to build an e-portfolio as they work through the course to showcase their expertise as a refugee educator.

Each state cohort is being led by an expert refugee educator who will facilitate the online course and coach and mentor members.

Arizona’s cohort is being facilitated by Meg Riley. Meg is currently working for Prescott College as a program director of AmeriCorps grants focused on education and economic opportunity. During her 17 years in public education, she served as a classroom teacher and department coordinator. Meg spent the majority of her teaching career working with students of refugee background at the high school level. She specializes in building relationships with students, families, and community partners and in building positive teacher communities.

New York’s cohort is being facilitated by Jes Cerutti. Jes is a Nationally Board Certified Teacher in English as a New Language for adolescents, and she has taught in New York City for 14 years. She is also an adjunct professor at the College of Mount St. Vincent where she teaches courses in the graduate TESOL department. In past years, she has facilitated several professional development classes and lectures working with the Expeditionary Learning Schools network. She was the recipient of The R. Gaynor McCown Excellence in Teaching Award in New York City in 2013.

Washington’s cohort is being facilitated by Marissa Winmill. Marissa, a native of the Philippines, teaches English Language Learners at Kent-Meridian High School, one of the most diverse high schools in the nation. Marissa holds her National Board Certification in Teaching English as a New Language and a Master’s degree in Educational Leadership with principal certification. She serves as a board member for the Washington State Professional Educator Standards Board and as a leader for a network of teachers of color in Washington.

“This opportunity to bring refugee educators together in dialog with each other is critically important if we are to retain, sustain, and empower quality teachers committed to working for equity and inclusion. Every teacher is tasked with doing so much these days and under such challenging circumstances, and often they are trying to do so in relative isolation. We are thrilled to bring over 100 educators together to focus discussion and practice on working with students and families of refugee backgrounds, and we have an amazing inaugural cohort assembled from our facilitators to our participants. It will be very exciting to see what materials they produce and share, what problems they collaboratively solve, and what innovations they generate within this learning community,” says Julie Kasper, Refugee Educator Academy program manager at the Center for Learning in Practice.

This pilot project is underwritten by an international funder and offered free to participants. A second cohort will be forming in January 2020. If you are interested in joining or learning more, please contact Julie Kasper at

The Center for Learning in Practice seeks to improve professional learning and knowledge sharing in and across civil society organizations through sustainable-learning programming, research and services. Its Refugee Educator Academy strives to increase the number and accelerate the preparation of qualified refugee educators and service providers in the United States and around the world.

The Carey Institute for Global Good is a not-for-profit organization founded in 2012 by William Polk Carey and is dedicated to building a strong, educated and just society. We provide education, tools and resources to practitioners of the global good to help them succeed. We put practitioners first — teachers, journalists, farmers — because we know that they have the power to change their communities and inspire others to do the same.