When I was a little camper I learned how to build a one-match fire: light good, dry tinder and be ready to blow the sparks into a flame. That is what so many of us are doing in education, and it just does not take that much time or effort. Yesterday two small leadership teams from Design 39 Campus in Poway Unified and VIDA (Vista Innovation Design Academy) in Vista Unified met for about 90 minutes to share ideas and resources. I have reported previously on the new D39C school. VIDA is a new 6-8 school opening next fall under the leadership of principal Eric Chagala and superintendent Devin Vodicka, serving a majority low income Hispanic student population in North San Diego County.
Here are just a few of the flames we fanned; follow and share the links!
- D39C shared some of the modified professional growth-based faculty assessment protocols they have based on the work created by Dave Monaco and his team at Parish Episcopal.
- VIDA is basing much of their design thinking-orientation on lessons learned from Kim Saxe and others at the Nueva School, the Stanford d.School, and David Kelley/IDEO. I suggested they add the growing FUSE collaboration via Bo Adams, Mary Cantwell, and Mt. Vernon Presbyterian Institute for Innovation.
- Since VIDA students are largely an underserved population, I linked them to Eric Juli at Design Innovation Lab School in Cleveland who is finding out that design thinking has a special set of challenges for underserved students.
- Sonya Wrisley of the D39C team shared the powerful lessons they have learned about “letting go” of responsibilities, throwing away most of what clutters her desk, and being physically present in the admin office (which will be called the Welcome Center at D39C). Sonya and her senior assistants will share an open “studio” right behind the reception desk.
- I suggested both teams read the recent blog by Scott MacClintic from Loomis Chaffee School who just organized their first ever all-faculty un-conference: “On a scale of 1-5, when asked how the day compared to previous PD programs, 77% rated the day a 4 or 5. When asked how interested they would be to have future faculty days use the un-conference format, 87% rated it a 4 or 5 on a scale of 1-5. 78% of the respondents said that they would be interested in leading sessions if we used the format again.”
- Hopefully both teams will send some members to the first Martin Connects satellite of EduCon this month hosted by Pacific Ridge School in Carlsbad to connect with innovation-minded colleagues all over the country without ever leaving town.
- Based on the half-day mash-up between D39C and a Los Altos Unified leadership team last fall, VIDA and D39C are going to get their teams together periodically over the rest of the school year to help each other on areas of program, pedagogy, governance, and more.
And that does not even begin to cover all of the program definition and ideas that the two groups shared! What school or district across town could your team match up with for this kind of outward-looking, silo-busting, PLN-building, idea-generating, cross-pollinating, flame-blowing collaboration? Isn’t that worth a few hours a month? Isn’t that worth one match?