One quick note before the BOE update below – we were fortunate to continue connection with Mid-Pacific’s eXploratory program over in Honolulu. This time, Mark Hines was able to pull together two humanities teachers to chat with Mike and Kyaiera about how they plan projects, their reflections on individually designed versus more structured projects, and were even nice enough to share some documents with us afterwards. They continue to be a valuable partner in our research and design. l
Below is a summary of our headmaster’s update to the BOE about Innovation Lab.
We were surprised with a visit from one of our board members (Adriana Ospina) on Tuesday at our last evening info session of November. At the Board of Education meeting last night, she commented that she “had the utter joy to go to an info session” and “it was amazing – I wanted to go beyond what we get from the report and see the parent reaction. The energy in the room when you got there was great. Every single thing that a parent could come up with they knew and they addressed in a very open, very sincere way with no false expectations.” We are appreciative of her kind words and are excited for the last info session before Thanksgiving this Monday at noon.
Last night, at the same meeting, Chris (our headmaster) gave an InLab update to the Board on our behalf. He said it’s “an innovation I’m clearly passionate about” and “by all assessments this… has already surpassed our expectations for it… deeper learning is not limited to one educational model.” Julie Faryniarz from the Greenwich Alliance for Education prefaced Chris’ comments with a fantastic introduction, encouraging BOE members to join us, that they fully support us, and that “Greenwich is the place with the capacity to take hold of innovations in teaching.” We agree!
Some responses from our Board of Ed (organized chronologically, video below):
- Two comments mentioned assessment of student portfolios and that InLab should include an objective element – one suggestion was peer-reviewed portfolios. We feel including community members is another option as well. We also understand the need for objective ways to decide if InLab is successful.
- There were questions about the timeline and when the board would be updated and asked for approval. This was answered the board policy below.
- There was a concern that Innovation Lab is straying from a pilot and towards a full program. Chris’ response was appropriate – InLab must be fleshed out enough for students and parents to feel comfortable committing to it. Chris said, appropriately, that “we don’t have the luxury of piloting just an idea – we have to pilot a program.”
- A follow up question was why we don’t start smaller, with 45 instead of 90, for example. Our response – we need enough students to generate four full time teachers to be fully committed to the program.
- The Board commented that we are following the Board policy for pilots, that we’re not necessarily restricted to a certain time, and that two years is appropriate as far as getting data goes.
- Another comment included support for the tools or resources we might need during the pilot and we are very appreciative of this show of support.
- Laura Erikson said “I’m a big fan of the blog” and we appreciate the support! Keep sharing our stuff!
Chris’ comments begin at 1:01:30 and end at 1:19:22, available below. (Looks like you need to go to Vimeo to watch.)