Thursday, June 25, 2015

VPA Leaders Conference, June 25 2015

Get Things Moving: Theory Into Action Steps
VPA Leaders Conference
Berlin, VT

"Schools are often cultures of 'add.' Initiatives pile on, one after another until people reach the breaking point and the core mission and values begin to drift. 'Time in schools' can be reclaimed to unlock innovation and even, yes, promote civility!"

We want to move things forward in schools... but we often think and do things the same way. Business goes on, as usual, and things don't change. Many innovative changes are often an 'add' and they struggle to maintain motion.

Here are five ways below to start changes in motion. It'll build collaborative time, creative time, promote socialization, and start to unlock traditional barriers to innovation.

They're simple. They don't cost anything. They create motion you can build on.

Summary notes:

1. School Schedule: Unlocking PD. Included, not added

2. Master Schedule: Understanding the 'Student perspective'

3. Choice Time / Day / Interdisciplinary projects: Interdisciplinary, connecting

4. Advisory: Done well, it has many positive ripples

5. School lunch! We can do better

I've been helping many schools explore these threads and how they relate to their special circumstances. Here are some other posts called 'What Are We Teaching and Why? that will help conjure some ideas and debates!

Let me know if I can help!

Friday, June 19, 2015

Domestic Terrorism, A Hate Crime in Charleston, South Carolina

The shootings in Charleston, South Carolina were an act of domestic terrorism. They were a hate crime. Let's hope the modern media stops labeling this as simply a 'tragedy.' There's more to it.

Chris Lehmann puts it eloquently in his recent blog post:

"We can not afford, as a nation, to treat the continued hatred, prejudice, and violence against those who do not neatly fit into the dominant paradigm – racially, sexually, religiously – in this country as isolated incidents. To do so is to perpetuate the myth that there’s nothing anyone can do to stop the violence and make a better, more just, world."
"Today, I have tried to use social media to speak to the hurt and anger I feel, not because I think I have much to add, but simply because I want all SLA students and families — especially our African-American students — to know that I stand with them. In a moment of tragedy, I would never want any student — especially our African-American students — to have to question for a moment where I stood or if I cared. And I am writing this now in the hope that students know that I never think it is enough for me to exhort them to action, rather that they understand I, too, will use my voice to demand a world where being black no longer means fearing for your safety anywhere you go — even in sanctuary – in church."

As usual, Jon Stewart nails something our modern media refuses to acknowledge.

We must delve deeper into the worlds hate. We must expose it, speak up, and strive to change it. And we must do so relentlessly. More people need to speak up against the acts themselves, and how they are reported in the main.

As Stewart mentions, let's put a magnifying glass on South Carolina, who still flies the confederate flag, who still heralds the name of racists on it's roads and monuments. What could such an inquiry do to expose hatred and it's symbolism?

Speak up and challenge media outlets. Speak up at schools about this horrible crime. Believe you can make a difference by speaking up about it.