I had some amazing experiences this week. Actually, I have some amazing experiences every week; it’s one of the benefits of being an educator! A few of those experiences stand out and connect deeply to the professional journey that I’m finding myself on. This past Wednesday, I attended the latest in a series of meetings through which a group of colleagues are working together to develop a concept born from a collective desire to share the responsibilities, the challenges, and the joys of educating students across our district. We are hosting a conference focused on the incredible work that the teachers in our buildings are engaged in. We are relying on that work, as articulated by those teachers, to fill the sessions of the conference. It’s turning out to be an exciting model for authentic, real-time, professional learning. I’m very much looking forward to attending!
Many of the teachers in our district have integrated varied degrees of Ron Ricthhard’s Making Thinking Visible philosophies and routines into their instruction. By way of the upcoming conference, those teachers are teaming up to communicate the process and outcomes of that work to their colleagues. Our committee, which is made up of administrators and teacher-leaders, is dedicated to the careful design and implementation of a platform for them to do so. Together, we are all working hard to so something amazing for children that no one of us could possible do on his/her own. It feels good. It’s exciting. As we brainstormed, hashed out the possibilities, and boiled it all down, I realized repeatedly how significantly enhanced the possibilities became as a result of our teamwork. Working together works!
One of the connections lies in the nature of my assignment as it stands today. I was recently given the honor of serving my district as an Interim Principal for an elementary school community who’s Principal is healing from an accident. Fortunately, she is doing well, and all signs point to a speedy recovery. I will officially begin this adventure on Monday. I am truly honored and humbled by the opportunity. On Thursday, I visited the school to say “hello,” and to begin building relationships with staff, students, and parents. I was amazed!
This community, through a challenging time, has come together brilliantly! The halls are energized and filled with learning artifacts, the classrooms are beautifully and intentionally designed, decorated, and maintained, and the people are warm and welcoming. In collaboration with our central office administrative team, through deliberate and authentic partnerships, and with a universal expectation of distributed leadership, this phenomenal learning community found a way to thrive during adversity. They are doing it together. Again, working together works!
When I arrived back at the Middle School where I serve as Assistant Principal, I was quickly reminded of what I have known for some time. The collaborative, value driven, nature of our population is outstanding! Leaving a school community that I love, colleagues I’ve grown and connected with for four wonderful months, and an incredible group of students and parents, even if it’s only for a few weeks, is a significant action for me. The knowledge that they will continue to thrive during this shift provides me with significant joy! Already, they are working together, setting up structures, communicating next steps, and putting all of the pieces in place that will make it happen. They are working together. Again, and one last time, working together works!
The fact is, we are always better together. As I move into the second half of this incredible school year and prepare for a new role that I’m honored to fill, I will keep collaboration, distribute leadership, and teamwork in mind. I will listen, I will encourage and support, I will value the good fortune of being surrounded by incredible colleagues, and I will be thankful that we are in a position to provide the highest quality K-12 education to a district full of amazing students!
Dream Big. Work Hard. Be Well.