Heard in the “teachers’ lounge”
Well, not really. We have one little office with a six-person conference table. There are four of us who share it as workspace (including the Principal), but it’s also the place where staff come during prep, and therefore doubles as the “teachers’ lounge.” (And besides, “teachers’ lounge” has certain connotations. Like, for example, the suggestion that teachers are “lounging.” So no, not really a teachers’ lounge at all.)
But anyway, one of the great things about all of us having to cram into this little space is that our conversations kind of smash into one another. And more often than not, the discussions are amazing.
Over the course of a couple of hours yesterday, we talked about:
- How to transform successful projects into long-term, school-based programs that students could choose to opt into. Imagine an 11th grade roster that included two hours working for the school newspaper, two hours with the EVX team, and a community college English class.
- How we might rethink high school learning progressions to focus first on community membership, then on project design and management, and finally on having students design, implement and grow projects tied to internship experiences.
- Ways to rethink our 10th grade Gateway process go better predict which students would succeed with different components of our “Upper House” like internships, college classes, or student-designed projects.
None of this was planned or programmed. None of it was initiated by me. And yet over the course of an afternoon, we all learned a lot just by being immersed in the work, asking questions, and sharing insights.
The best part for me is knowing that these aren’t hypothetical conversations. We learn by working on the school. It is our project. And as much as summer institutes or weekly “un-PD” sessions, it is through these informal conversations that we continue to evolve.