Building School 2.0. It's the second time I've picked up the book and started to read. It's another one of those books where almost every word matters and only six pages into the text, I'm already overwhelmed by potential and possibility. Hence, I'll write as I read making connections along the way about how the wonderful practice, principles, and vision of Science Leadership Academy can positively inform, challenge, and move my practice as an educator forward.
How often do you and your colleagues focus your conversation, efforts, and goal setting on these questions that lead SLA's work:
How do we learn?
What can we create?
What does it mean to lead?
Again and again Lehmann and Chase promote conversation, discussion, questioning, and growth, yet in many American schools dialogue is looked down upon and diminished. Hence a first step to improving any educational environment is to focus on the leading questions above.
Project Based Environment
Where do we embed project/problem base learning to foster student success?
What is the ratio of direct teaching to project/problem based learning? How often do you and your colleagues consider pedagogy and do you focus on the values espoused by SLA: inquiry, research, collaboration, presentation, and reflection.
Where is our current structure working well and where can we change structure to improve what we can do for children?
How long are your classes? Do you leave enough time for more laboratory and performance based work? Do we create "arts-enriched, small-classroom-sized, deeply humanistic" teaching spaces?
Learning Beyond the Four Walls
How do you and your colleagues promote learning beyond the four walls of a classroom?
How can we minimize and streamline administrative tasks leaving more time for teahcing and learning?
In what ways can you streamline administrative tasks in order to effect the best possible programs.
Meaningful Educational Experiences
How do we ensure that students' educational experiences are meaningful?
Are the learning experiences you design and promote meaningful? Do we use technology in meaningful, deep, productive ways rather than just promote technology as an "online worksheet"?
How does our shared practice honor those we partner with including students, colleagues, leaders, families, and community members?
Do our practices honor the people we server and partner with? Do we blend "humanity and scholarly" inquiry? Are we creating "healthier, more relevant, and caring" schools? Do we truly believe that the kinds of schools we lead will empower that kind of world--are we committed to the deep impact school has on society, and look at schools as a place to develop a strong citizenry?
Do we support the kinds of schools for others that we support for our own children or do we have a double standard in this regard?
When and how do we make time for fun!
Do we make time for fun?
Do we use our spaces effectively so that school is essentially a "home away from home."
Are our spaces "modern and humane"?
Parents and Families?
Do we make good time and attention for collaboration with students' families?
How do we partner with and serve parents and families in school? Do we regularly invite family members to be part of the school conversation, goal setting, and vision creation?
How do we collaborate effectively with colleagues so that we are providing a responsive, caring, and effective teaching/learning program for children?
Are our collegial conversations question-driven?