Friday, January 31, 2014

Learning Too Much

Over the last 10 days, I've learned too much. My body, my head, my everything is tired. Tired of learning, connecting, and talking. Having the opportunity to attend Educon in Philadelphia and FETC in Florida have been great learning gifts, and I'm so thankful that my district sees this. I've learned and consumed so much in a very short time. Connection and conversation were almost 24 hours a day, and in this exact moment as I write, I can feel a total collapse coming on. So much good stuff that I can't handle any more. I wonder if our kids ever feel this way. Do they get to this point and feel this way? If so, we need to provide them a place to nap and a space to not have to talk to anyone. It is an overwhelming feeling. It is a reminder that we need moderation in learning as well as everything else in life. Providing space for decompression, relaxation, and reflection are essential features to cement learning. Because of so many friends and allies in education, life is good. Because of so many friends and allies in education, I'm out of energy.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Welcome to Educon

Where does the garden grow? I’ve planted a lot of vegetables in the education garden over the past three years. It has fed me during some dark moments of my career, and it has yielded me some of the best experiences of my career. It has been about people, place, and experiences, and I’m so grateful for being blessed to interact with some of the best in the business. With any garden though, the winter comes and winter passes. There are dormant moments before a fresh set of seeds is sown. During these periods, we have a choice. We have choice to enjoy the remaining harvest, plant new vegetables or prepare the garden for a fresh planting of the same. In most cases, we do a little bit of each of these things. This weekend for me is an opportunity to nurture my garden and prepare it for the next moments. It is about absorbing the sunlight of new ideas, tilling the soil that grows hardened from our echo chamber, and surrounding the garden with the best elements for a bountiful harvest. I’m so thankful for my professional learning network. It is layered group. From those in my district, to my friends and follow learners around Missouri, to the larger network around the country, this village is what it takes to support me. They energize me, question me, and lift me up, and it is this group that gives me hope that education will grow into greater greatness in the years to come. Educon in Philadelphia is an opportunity to break bread, share a brew, and stare into the soul of excellence in education. My cup is full. I’m blessed, and I can’t wait to share the bounty of my harvest. 

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Twas the Night before Educon- A Preview Musing

The work of the Science Leadership Academy has been a symbol of hope for me for a long time. It has been the place where I have imagined that student engagement is oozing from the system, and kids were passionate about their learning at this crazy level. I’m worried about being disappointed. I know that Chris and his staff have worked to make this a reality, but I also know that all journeys are in process, and from a distance, it is easy to think of SLA as a finished product. I hope that my expectations aren’t shattered. I’m trying to reorient my expectations, but I am super excited about being in a place of learning that I can embrace fully without holding my nose at times. As I worked to build this type of place as a principal, I was always aware of the warts and the weak spots, but I never let the public know about them when they visited. Maybe I should have. Maybe my transparency should have been bigger. We don’t need to scale SLA, but we need to inject hope, ideas, resources, and passion into the system. I want to feel the DNA of SLA, but I don’t want to clone it. We are wholly wrong in education if we just replicate stuff and airlift it into new place. The systems are unique, and the solutions are unique. I’m fully ready to just be happy at SLA, soak in the energy of what is possible, talk to great people, and all the network that continues to grow to seep in. There is no going back after tomorrow. The mental model of SLA will become the reality that is SLA. I couldn’t be happier. 

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

A New Vision for the Core Learning Space in Schools

I was blown away by this incredible piece put together by super hero librarian Joyce Valenza. Her storytelling, passion, and vision for our library spaces is so compelling. I want the libraries that I support to grow into these kinds of powerhouse places of learning. Take some time to watch the video.

School Library Story from joyce valenza on Vimeo.