Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Vermont Teacher Licensure... and losing common sense

It's a time when we need forward thinking in education. There's so much to do, so many challenges... especially in the institutions of public education.

Today, my path was delivered some tough medicine.. and so was the path of others in similar shoes in Vermont.

I was informed the Vermont Agency of Education now gives no credit for years of experience to people who taught in independent, private or international schools who are now applying for VT State teaching licensure.

So... teach abroad for 20 years and apply for licensure in Vermont... you'll be listed as a teacher with "zero" years experience.


You guessed it... according to the AOE I now have "zero" years teaching experience. For nine years I taught at a premier Independent school in Vermont. The programs we built there helped inform the Winooski iLab, Mt Abraham Horizons programs, Vermont Act 77 (personalized learning plans) and also numerous other visitors to the lab. I managed over 100 independent student projects per semester... over nine years. I can't imagine, in this context, that all that work now carries absolutely no benefit to me as I seek a Vermont Teachers License.

I'm currently taking licensure classes to get certified as a career tech ed director and a principal... the latter, of course, requires teaching experience.  In order to get a 'Principal's License' now, I'd have to leave my current position, teach for three years and then go through the teacher peer review program, finish my School Leadership Courses, and then apply / seek out my 'School Leadership' license via another provisional license or peer review program.

It means... I won't be pursuing a principal license in Vermont.  I'm not sure if it makes sense for me to continue on this path I'm on for licensure in Career and Technical Education either. I'll have to give that a great deal of thought over the coming months.

Vermont is progressive educationally in so many ways. I feel this is a major step backward. Imagine the lost opportunities to hire incredible teachers with international teaching experience.  At a time when Vermont could and should be recruiting these people... I'm heartbroken.  Imagine the folks who are teaching at private and independent schools across the world who now won't venture into Vermont public education.

It's likely that this would take years to of lobbying to remedy this impulsive and ill-informed decision.

I'm ready for a vacation. I'll hopefully have some time to reflect and do some future thinking.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Dynamic Landscapes 2017... A Smash Success!

The Dynamic Landscapes Education and Innovation Conference, by the customer satisfaction surveys and discussions board members had over the span of the conference was a smash success.

Student Keynotes, and student led workshops at last!  Our student keynote folks knocked this out of the park this year.

What a privilege to help the board shift practice at these conferences over the years, streamline decision making, involve more people in create roles, and help people communication and collaborate. 

It's been an exhausting year in so many ways... but the fruits of this conference certainly help rejuvenate me.

As emcee I receive a lot of credit, but there are so many people who did extraordinary work. My thanks to all involved, attendees, presenters, workshop leaders, organizers, Makerspace artisans and organizers, Vendors (shifting to hands-on demonstrations and tutorials, and of course our esteemed VL Board Members... we all did something special here, a new pathway in Vermont Ed conferences. 

We win!

Friday, January 20, 2017

Building Better Ideas... at Educon 2017

When the theme for Educon 2017 came across... 'how do you sustain innovation?' .... it got me thinking.

I started talking it over with David Jakes and we landed on 'ideas' as a critical source of sustaining innovation. 

One of David's many fortes is on the subject of 'ideation.'

We decided to craft up a discussion at Educon on Building Better Ideas.

What are some common obstacles and ways to overcome them...

  • when you're problem solving? 
  • when you are working with a team? 
  • when problems are complex?


Why do great ideas stumble?

Some ideas, well... suck ; )  Why do some horrible ideas gain traction?

These are timely questions for people in education. There's no shortage of things to do, initiatives, or needs.

How can you 'Build Better Ideas'?

Come with questions... Leave with an understanding of common pitfalls, strategies, creative ways to open up perspectives and... some pathways to build better ideas! That's our goal ; )

We're lined up open up a discussion on this Saturday, session 3 at Educon.  Hope to see you there.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Dynamic Landscapes Education and Innovation Conference, May 22-23, 2017

Dynamic Landscapes May 22-23, 2017 at Champlain College is lining up to be... what we started working toward four years ago.

Your feedback, your passion to innovate... we listened and have worked to create a space to showcase it, share it and build strong collaborative bonds.

Here are the new additions this year...

Student keynote competition: YES! Students will keynote our conference this year!

Student and Adult presentations... and the call for proposals is open! YES! Student strands at last! 100 students get in for free.

... hey, the theme is Authentic Student Voice!

And the tried and true staples return of...

Hands-on innovation lab makerspace

Immersive workshop leaders... 1/2 day and full day. Dive in with an expert and dig deep.

Conference sessions of all shapes and sizes. Build your own schedule and pitch a plan to setup your own workgroups.

Social events to bring people together.


What can your students present here? What problem are they trying to solve? What's 'their' opinion?

Come in and tackle tough issues in education and explore innovation with peers and students.

Customer satisfaction has reached new heights... and DL 2017 is geared to be our best conference yet!

David Jakes, Diana Laufenberg, Matt Kay and Brad Latimer are just a few of our workshop leaders this year. Sign up, and dive in deep with these incredible people.

Check out all the details at the DL 2017 website.

Hope you can join us Dynamic Landscapes Education and Innovation Conference at Champlain College in gorgeous Burlington, VT in May, 2017 ; )