A few years ago I may have said that "things" drive improvement. You know....things like curriculum, the Internet, tablets, computers, reading programs, discipline programs.....
Now don't get me wrong, many of these "things" have brought great improvements and efficiency to the educational landscape.
But programs are fleeting. Curriculum changes. And while technology is changing our lives and transforming the educational and learning landscape, it's effective adoption and implementation is, at its core, an iterative process.
And while there is a place for leadership to introduce "things", real improvement, lasting transformation and innovation is about creating systems and conditions that promote continuous learning and improvement -for all learners.
I have come to realize that I am most effective when I promote the creation of systems and conditions that promote individual and collective improvement (& not necessarily programs).
In a sense we are embarking on a process of creating a "learning incubator".
In the business world, an incubator is a place:
designed to accelerate growth and success..... through an array of (business) support resources and services that could include physical space, capital, coaching, common services, and networking connections .
We are striving to create the conditions and systems where the working professionals are given time, supports, resources and opportunities to reflect, act and network in order to provide for the further success of our students.
Here are a few ways we are creating an incubator for learning:
A Visible and Connected Continuous School Improvement Plan
|Connecting the dots of learning...|
Time for Learning
For the second year we are continuing with our school Learning Teams. This year, we have added a learning innovation grant that teachers can access to further support their learning.
We are currently in the process planning for renewed facilities for our students, faculty, and staff. Some of the key design principles being implemented include: learning neighborhoods, learning commons, transparency and flexibility.
By creating some of these "conditions for incubation" we are already starting to see some new teacher driven initiatives. For example:
- Teachers are implementing online digital portfolios for students (e.g. Freshgrade, Google Drive, etc.)
- New courses/programs have been created including a "Make It" class, a culinary class, technical theatre class, robotics club and the imminent launch of Google Apps for Education for students.
- The increasing dismantling of curricular silos and replaced by cross-curricular and cross grade connections.
At the end of the day- this process is about creating a climate of continuous learning that empowers teachers so that they can, in turn, empower student learning.
As usual, I am still figuring it out.........