Panelist on P21 Patterns of Innovation Webinar: Distributed Leadership

 

I had the honor and pleasure of acting as a panelist for a webinar yesterday hosted by Partnership 21 (P21) on distributed leadership. P21, while not quite a household name yet, is a large non-profit education organization that partners with schools, industry, and government to support 21st century learning in schools. They have an exemplar program that my school and our cluster of schools were recognized for this past fall.

From their website: “P21’s mission is to serve as a catalyst for 21st century learning by building collaborative partnerships among education, business, community, and government leaders so that all learners acquire the knowledge and skills they need to thrive in a world where change is constant and learning never stops.”

The panel is made up of principals of schools who are doing the 21st century learning P21 advocates for, so I was thrilled to be asked to sit on the panel as well to represent what we do in the Lanier School Cluster within Gwinnett County Public Schools. If so inclined, check out the video above, and consider finding a way to get out to Napa for the Patterns of Innovation conference in March. I’ll be there as a presenter. I’m looking forward to meeting my fellow panelist there as well!

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2017: A Retrospective

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My family after successfully defending.

2017 has been one of the most eventful years of my life. I became a dad; I earned my doctorate; I published an entry in SAGE encyclopedia as well as a few other neat moments along the way. Today’s post is dedicated to recounting and appreciating this past year, so fair warning that this post is selfishly about me and my family. I will unpack and reflect on my pedagogy, of course, but I’ll spend time doing the same about me personally.

A BIG thank you to the many in my life who made this year a special one for me. Continue reading

What Work-Based Learning Has Taught Me about the Classroom, Work, & the Spaces Between

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In the state of Georgia, we have a work-release program for students aged 16 years or older coined Work-Based Learning (WBL). Essentially, if a WBL coordinator at a school uses the program well, WBL becomes a bridge for students from academics to the work force through meaningful internships. Most states have this sort of program and while I have learned more about it over the last three years, this is the first year I find myself in the coordinator position (along with a few other distinct roles). A coordinator is responsible for piles of data, including, yes, grades, attendance, applications, but also, inputting information into a state database, maintaining your own database, evaluations from various businesses, maintaining and developing a roster of businesses, sign-out sheets–the list really does go on and on. The amount of paperwork can certainly be justified. We’re talking about real work, real businesses, adolescents and adults working together for a common good. That all translates to a need for accountability from everyone involved.

In the opening weeks of this school year, my eyes have been opened to the challenges my upperclassmen face and the realities they face in the world waiting for them after high school. If you follow my blog, there is a good chance you know I am an advocate and proponent of using the classroom space as one where not only is content taught but soft/21st century skills are practiced as well. Hence, my strong belief in project-based learning (PBL) as a viable and important instructional method. The WBL program is meant to support growth in these areas as well. Really, before a student even qualifies for WBL at 16 the hope is they have taken at least one course in Career and Technology Education (CTE) where many of those skills are to be focused on continually. What has become apparent in the last few weeks is despite CTE, or even exposure to some PBL, many of WBL students really do lack the soft/21st century skills necessary for their success beyond the confines of high school. Continue reading

A Parent’s Guide to 21st-Century Learning

Edutopia has just released a great digital booklet on how to put a finger on what 21st-century learning skills really are and how they are reflected in project-based learning. Thank you to Suzie Boss for posting it first on her blog.

Here is a link: http://www.edutopia.org/parent-21st-century-learning-resource-guide

You’ll have to sign in to download it, but I’ve skimmed it and plan to send the link to my students’ parents this week. It does a really nice job explaining the what, how, and when questions that come along with shifting the common classroom’s focus away from more traditional settings.

I especially enjoy the emphasis on the four Cs: Collaboration, Creativity, Communication, and Critical Thinking