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Sunday, February 04, 2018

Teaching/Learning Leadership Memo

The memo I look forward to reading with regard to inspiration related to teaching/learning reads like this.

Dear Educators, Families, Students, and Community Members,

I have been reflecting on where we are as a teaching/learning community. Everywhere I look I see positive examples of extraordinary teaching and learning, examples that include the following. . . .

These examples demonstrate teaching/learning strength because they exemplify engagement, evidence of development of skills, concept, and knowledge, outreach and contribution beyond the four walls of a classroom or school, and struggle, debate, and discourse too. Students leading and active in these programs are taking away lifelong lessons and capacity that will continue to serve them well as they move forward in life.

As I look around, I also see room for growth. First, I have noticed in the systemwide data report that we are not reaching every student. We have outliers, and I'm wondering how we can serve those students better. When we serve our most challenged learners well, we build a stronger educational system for all students.

I also wonder how our curriculum is relevant to the issues of the day, issues of divide with regard to politics, an increasingly interdependent global community, greater inequity of resources across the globe, needs related to health care, education, and poverty, and increasing environmental change and limitations. How can our teaching learning community help students to learn in ways that connect to real world issues and problems, the same issues and problems that will impact their lives greatly?

I also wonder how we can better connect our learning community to the dynamic learning communities around us including local universities, preservation organizations, museums, businesses, and local/state departments. In what ways can we merge our organizations and share our resources to better serve students and the community? I think there is opportunity here, opportunity that will result in greater support for schools as well as greater support for communities and community members.

And, in this time of limitless information and connection, how will we change and direct our communication, collaboration, and community so that we preserve important personal time and home/work balance while also flattening hierarchy and inviting the voices of all stakeholders in with greater choice and leadership? Looking for more modern ways to make decisions, share information, and collaborate in this information age can help us to achieve more while still preserving essential time for happy, healthy lives. Working late into the evening, far beyond the eight-hour/five-day work expectations, and sometimes in subpar spaces do not result in the best work we can do. I believe we have to reimagine our schedules, structure, roles, and processes to energize our best collective work. This is the challenge of our times--a challenge we readily see daily in government, organizations, businesses, and yes, in our personal lives too.

It is limitless where we can grow and go, and our strength will be in our vision setting, processes, and role definition. None of us can do all or be all, but together we can determine vision and direction, and then decide who is going to do what so that we move towards that vision with a regular transparent process of reflection and revision along the way.

We are fortunate to work in such a creative and uplifting industry. Our work is to better lives, communities, and the world by way of educating young children so that they learn happily and leave us with wonderful skills, knowledge, concept, attitude, vision, and energy to live good lives, lives where life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness is not a distant dream, but instead a real possibility with support from one another, public bodies, and strong communities.

If everyone does their part to move us in this direction, we will continue to be a strong, positive team that makes a difference in our own lives and the lives of those we serve each day. Thank you for all you do. I welcome your feedback, response, and ideas as we move forward together.

(This letter to self and others will help me to move forward with my teaching/learning work--the big picture drives the daily work in ways that matter)