Exactly on year ago, I jumped off a cliff. I packed my Prius and drove east to visit more than 60 schools over three months and 10,000 miles. I had a couple of parachutes: some financial sponsors and the moral support of family and friends. It was a long trip, lonely drives punctuated by jolts of passionate energy from educators and students who are creating a new learning ecosystem in real time. My friend Marc Levinson says it must be nice to lead the life I have now: quiet time at home to think and write. I told him that when you jump off a cliff, quiet is all you hear until the loud splat at the bottom. I feel so blessed to have not heard that splat yet!
In the last year I logged those 10,000 miles in my car and many more in airplanes visiting schools and working with school leaders all over the country to share what I continue to learn. By rough count I have had the chance to work with well over 3,000 educators in the last 12 months. I have had 90,000 blog views and almost 12,000 views of my TEDx talk, which is nothing in this viral world but seem like nice round numbers to me. My book is mostly completed and I hope that my discussions with a major educational book publisher go well in the next round. I have connected via Twitter with an enormous network of adults and young people all over the world who care about education, learning from them and sharing ideas in return. Articles summarizing aspects of my journey have come out via ISTE, NBOA, and in Independent School Magazine this winter.
One of my main goals when I set out last year was to make connections for others who did not have the time to get in their own cars and make my journey. That is happening! I have talked to many educators who now have contacted colleagues at the schools I visited and learned from each other about what they are doing to change their schools. I am collaborating with more public schools and districts and finding areas where public and private schools can learn from each other.
In the next year, through my work with The Martin Institute for Teaching Excellence and the National Business Officers Association and many others, we are going to connect a lot more people to ideas and opportunities to lean forward and think differently about schools. Thanks to all those who hosted me on my journey last fall and continue to host me on my journey to help transform education from the assembly line to the ecosystem. Thanks to all those who are helping me avoid the sound of that splat at the bottom of the cliff!