Friday, February 5, 2010

Do you believe?

Ordering food is the hard part. Close to 100 people are expected, but will they really show up, tired educators at the end of a long day? How many of them will have something "come up"? By the time we started, however, we realized we'd have to have chairs brought in and I began to wish I'd decided on one more platter of cheese.

Over 100 educators arrived in the end - administrators, teachers, university instructors, student teachers - to think together as productive partners in a network of educators - the Network of Performance Based Schools. Our task? To achieve our collective "dream with a deadline": an equitable future with quality outcomes for every learner by 2020. In each network school, teacher design an inquiry question to discover ways to improve learning. In our region, we meet formally three times each year to share ideas, ask question, and learn together. You can see some of our work in progress at our Mid-Island Wiki.

Here are educators deciding that it's "too late to wait," as Peter Senge says, and are working in teams in their schools or, if in their school there is no one to work with, with educators in other schools, and if there is no one to work with in their district, with other educators in our province. They are refusing to work in isolation. They are pushing themselves to think about research-based practice, designing focused inquiry questions to examine their own teaching and learning, and implementing formative assessment daily.

Is it going smoothly? No. It's messy, hard work that forces us to think hard, work hard, redesign the way we do things in schools, test our own preconceptions - and meet together at the end of a long day. But here is gold medal work that makes you want to say, "I believe."

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