It’s taken about six months for the conscious realization that being in an office for hours on end is part of why teachers prefer a room full of young minds and new ideas. Just as students surprise a class with a novel contribution half-way through the year, our own team continues to grab for the next exciting spark. Warm weather and travel sent our team back with a new lens through which to examine our own work. It seems that each time we start a discussion, some wrinkle appears that was previously unnoticed – a sign that time truly can refresh ideas.
Our Trailblazers Day (event for enrolled/prospective students) needed to be a kickoff instead of IL101 and our changes reflect that. Icebreakers, a team-building activity, and reflections on who students are as learners start the morning. We then give them the freedom to design an educational space and simultaneously answer the question “what do you need to learn well?” They’ll design, tinker, collaborate, and share. They’ll reflect. We’ll discuss. In a sense, it’s still a microcosm of how we see Innovation Lab feeling next year. Our day will leave students feeling empowered and envigorated.
Community involvement continues to drive project design. How can we take a model water runoff system and involve local partners? Where can student work breathe outside of these walls? Our network of contacts is expanding and we’re confident there is no lack of support in Greenwich. In the same vein, visits from Julie and others at the Greenwich Alliance as well as Superintendent Dr. McKersie reiterated that our community is behind this educational movement. One idea that will never grow old is that students are part of a community ready to support their learning.
Every school we’ve used as a model dedicates a much larger chunk of time to teacher collaboration. But our design process – which includes being in an office for hours on end with teachers – seems to clash with our passion of being in the room with students. While we can joke our office has already them, young minds and new ideas are only six more months away.