Why Collaborate?

Here is it 10, make that 11 days after my last post in the #AprilblogADay challenge. .

Before all you Type ‘A’ keeners judge me too harshly, let me say in my defence, I’ve been practicing self-care; as in, something had to give. Taking time to read through other blog posts, (you can follow them at the #AprilBlogaDay hashtag on twitter), I remain inspired. Us educators are a clever bunch!

A quick glimpse at the topics I’ve missed has given me some great ideas as my April may stretch into June. One in particular stands out: #whyIlovemyschool.

That just too easy – I love my school, because I work alongside some fun-loving, innovative, motivated, inspiring, crazy in the best possible way, staff. Our kids are the kind who wiggle their way deep into your heart, making work, less like work – yes, even the challenging ones! Is it corny to say, they make me want to be a better person?

Moving further down the topic list, my attention paused at the Why Collaborate? Why indeed! This quickly became a connection to the ‘loving my school’ thing. Our staff have learned to collaborate exceedingly well. We collaborate because we have to. We can’t do what we do alone. Serendipitously our school district initiated a new format for collaboration this year. We have six late start days for students allowing staff 80-minutes of scheduled collaboration time. I remain incredibly impressed with how that time is used. Each staff member developed their own inquiry question. The next step involved meeting up with staff who had similar questions. You can see our list of questions here. The range of inquiry is just part of what makes our school a great place to learn.

I won’t go into details or bore you with data, but we continue to move forward. Six sessions (we’ve completed 4) allows for deep discussions with group members who make themselves accountable to each other (not just to admin). Ideas are mindfully explored. Ultimately, the goal is to implement ways to inspire our students to be life-long learners, providing them with tools in the here and now to learn well. Breaking down our math goal, the results of our student survey overwhelmingly indicates that our students are moving along quite nicely. (Yikes, I almost cracked open some data – sorry)

This past week, there was a round table put on by the CSRI (Canadian Self Regulation Initiative). I was privileged to attend along with another administrator from our school district. In the morning we toured two schools who have been implementing SR for a number of years. The afternoon had us participating in round table discussions. I came away with several useful ideas, as well as an affirmation that we are well down the road of SR in conjunction with SEL (social emotional learning) at our school.

I couldn’t wait to share all this good stuff with our team. Within a day of being back in my own building I had three staff members indicate that they are keen to be part of a SR team. See why I love my school!!

Why collaborate? As well as we are doing, as much as we’ve improved, we collectively have a knowing that Better is Possible.

We’ll keep you posted.

The Story of the Log Jam

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2 Responses to Why Collaborate?

  1. Denise Krebs says:

    Carol,
    Great post. It helps me get to know your sweet school a little, and why you love it. I also explains well your late start days and the collaboration taking place this year. It sounds just perfect, a little like genius hour for teachers. However, my favorite part is that people with like questions are put into collaborative groups for discussion and working together. Together we are smarter, so that is a key piece.

    I have just a couple questions. Are those ten questions you linked to, the ten collaborative groups? What happened to the outliers, who have inquiry questions that weren’t like anyone else’s? Thanks!

    Warmly,
    Denise

    Like

    • First off, thanks so much for such a thoughtful comment. To answer your question, yes those are our groups. Great question regarding outliers. Some teachers have joined groups from other schools or district staff (ie our counsellor). We start school 80 min. late on collaboration mornings (switching to end of day in 2015-16) which allows for meeting time off-site. At our last collab morning several staff wrapped up this year’s inquiry question and chosen a new one to start on next month and continue with next year. Overall it’s been an extremely meaningful process.
      Regards,
      Carol

      Like

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