Thursday, September 6, 2012

Big Picture, Small Implementation

It is nearing the end of week four at the School of Inquiry, and my blogging time is dwindling away, as it has in the past.  This post was actually supposed to go up last week, really is the small things that you never consider that eventually loom large.  The big picture is often very easy to see, but like much like looking at George Seurat's iconic painting Saturday in the Park, when you begin to look closer it is a lot of little pieces that make up the bigger view.

The largest focus in our preparation has been to build a solid culture and foundation for our students and staff to build their learning on.  I believe that we have done an outstanding job of doing this.  No, not everyone is best friends and sits around the campfire singing Kumbaya all day.  But our students have spent a lot of time discussing the ideals of Trust, Respect, and Responsibility that our the foundation of a New Tech school and based on conversations I have had with them they get it.  They are willing to come to the staff when they have concerns about how they are learning or with students they are working with.  The staff has embraced the change and is working incredibly hard to make an incredible learning environment for students. We have rooms geared towards collaboration and that are welcoming to students.  We have a collaboration suite that students want to spend time in, the building is getting built at a seemingly fast pace. The big picture piece is coming into focus.

It's the little details that occasionally trip us up.  How do we respond to students who are struggle to turn assignments in?  What do we do if a student fails a course and must repeat it?  Do students get the same grade for both subjects in an integrated course?  How do we keep track and formalize decisions that are made by our staff?  How do we utilize the rubrics for the School Wide Learning Outcomes?  How can we help students to be better organized, while trying to be better organized ourselves?  How can we best integrate courses so they blend seamlessly into one course?  How do we manage the tensions and perceptions that exist with those outside of our school within the larger school?

None of these small details is a shock to me.  None are insurmountable challenges.  None are items that can not be thought about, addressed, and creatively resolved.  They are all important though and all need to be looked at closely.  Much like the dots that create Seurat's masterpiece.

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