My big takeaways from observing the Catlin Gabel middle school J-Week:
- Fun, energizing engaging, rich, fast-paced, student-centered, real-life.
- Tiring, maybe a bit too full.
- An incredible pilot that the school can use to drive a deeper learning model across the division.
- What is next?
- Gather feedback from all stakeholders.
- Synthesize and filter the feedback; find the big, common themes that stand out. What worked well? What did not? Where are there opportunities to overcome the inevitable obstacles or stumbling points?
- Use those big takeaways to inform where you go next. Don’t stop. Find the lessons from your pilot that get you closer to the school’s North Star, and apply them more widely.
- Develop the next iteration!
Just a few months ago, the wonderful faculty at Catlin Gabel were a bit gun shy of this process. Planning a completely new week seemed a pretty daunting task, particularly when we established that students would be intimately involved in the design. That is not a normal part of building a new scaffold. Yet, here we are, just a few months later and the faculty teams are working more collaboratively and the week was a resounding success. It was, to be sure, pretty exhausting. This kind of week is unsustainable every week, for both teachers and students. But the highlights were a lot higher than the lowlights were low. The kids were highly energized, and I absolutely guarantee that a few years from now, this is a week and a set of lessons that they will remember.
Particularly when Catlin Gabel follows this week by applying the lessons they have learned across the curriculum and the pedagogy. Remember: the process IS the product!
Thanks for following along this week, and if you want to connect with the team here, I know division leader Barbara Ostos will be happy to hear from you and share!