Saturday, April 5, 2014


Discover. Play. Build.

 Ruth Ayres has created a wonderful spot for sharing moments from your week. She even has  a page to give you all the details you need to know about sharing your own celebrations. So head  on over and see what everyone else is celebrating. 

Wow. What a fast week. I left at noon on Sunday with my competency based ed team, drove to Minneapolis, flew to Boston, and drove to Concord, NH. We finally got to our rooms  about midnight. UGH. We were up and at Pittsfield Middle High School by 8:00am. It was a short night, but well worth the trip.

My celebrations this week, tend to revolve around this experience

Over and over again we were impressed with the staff and their willingness to share everything with us. We spent two days with these people. We met with students, teachers and administrators. They shared how they went about changing to competency based ed. They stressed what they believed were the things that they felt were the most important in building by in. They were honest in the areas they received a little push back. We heard the statement, "If we had it to over again..." several times. 

And, more than what's in their head, they shared hard copies... One of the reasons we wanted to visit a school was to actually see what was going on. See how they did things.  Teachers handed us rubrics and competencies. They shared with us all the information about student portfolios and student led conferences. All great examples that will get us moving forward.

At each juncture of the move to competency based ed, students were involved. They are truly a student centered school. Every committee has student members. Their site council has more students than adults! We brought two students with us on this trip, so they immediately found a student to partner them with. They were able to visit classes, eat lunch and visit with other students during the first day and part of the second. They brought a perspective to the conversation that we wouldn't get otherwise.  

Student choice and voice has been at the forefront of my teaching this year. I've always allowed student choice, but this year, after taking part in several #stuvoice chats (Monday nights at 7:30 Central Time) I've made it a bigger part of my teaching world.  I loved hearing everything they had to say about including students.

Visits to see how other schools work are eye-opening. You find new ideas, see what works and what doesn't work, and realize what you are doing well on your home turf. Our students came back with a new perspective on our high school and so did the rest of our team. In our quest for what's best for students, I think we realized that we do some things pretty well.

Another nice thing about visits, is the appreciation of home.  Wednesday morning found us on the road again for our trip home. Rush hour traffic is not for this group of teachers. At one point on the way back to Boston a sign reported it would take us 31 minutes to drive 7 miles. Not one of us thought we could do that every day :)

Saturday Mornings
After a week of go-go-go, it's nice to sit home this morning, in my pj's and sip on that extra cup of coffee.  No rush to get to school, no rush to finish up a lesson plan, no rush to make a meeting. Saturday mornings...a good time to reflect and celebrate a great week.

And, because I got used to listening to this every morning this week. A little video bring a smile to your face. 

Live Aloha...


  1. What a great trip and so much learning for your team! That must have been so powerful to have students along to get their perspective. Your school is on a journey!

  2. You certainly had a great trip, realizing that you do many things well and getting additional ideas to keep growing. Have a wonderful weekend - resting and getting ready for a new week

  3. What a great trip! I am a little envious as we are facing changes that are not student centered. Look forward to reading more. Have a great weekend!

  4. That trip sounds like such a wonderful experience! Sometimes getting away and having the time to discuss and grow together around a shared experience makes such a different, not to mention being able to see other teachers in action and to reflect on what they are doing. So fun. I hope you had a nice relaxing Saturday. I love Happy but hadn't seen the video with the minions. So cute! Thanks for sharing!

  5. I'm wondering if you are still recovering from this incredible trip!?! Hope you are doing well.


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