Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Are all roads actually leading to the same place?

Over the last 15 years, how many conversations could have been overheard in this, and probably any other, school that revolved around the multiple philosohphies that pushed our work and how often they seemed to be in conflict? At any one time, we seemed to be following many roads that rarely converged at any point. And sometimes the road we went down one year was quickly replaced the next just as we were ready to implement something of potential value. This, at times, created a culture that said, "So why care? Let's just keep doing it how we do it because it was working already." But I look at the last 10 or so meetings I have been in PLC, Department, Department Chair, 21C, Mentor, Mentee, Faculty, Negotiations - and other than realizing that I have too many meetings, it does seem that there is commen focus, common theme, common questions, and common purpose. Certainly, each are at different places on the road, but they seem to be on the same road. CSAP and NCLB might be standing alone. (Maybe we are becoming a highway rather than just a road and they are more speed bump?!) Essential Learnings, Skills vs Content, Curriculum Revision, Daniel Pink, Constructivist Teaching, Mission and Vision and Goals, the Meaning of the Grade, Collaboration, 21 Century Learners, Lions and Tigers and Bears, oh my. All seem to build on each other rather than in opposition with the others. After some of my time with people from other LPS buildings, not all schools are in this position. Other pressures, like enrollment and CSAP problems, get in the way. With others, their perceived success might blind them. Are all here on board? No ... not yet. Are there growing pains and disagreements and "issues?" Always. But are there discussions of value, opportunities for risk, changes for the better, and most importantly, students who benefit? Certainly. And, of course, there will always be the Ollivettis (Sorry for the spelling of it!) who refuse to move with the times, questioning progress, believing that the old way fits always. I hear that Ollivetti made great typewriters.