The Foundation of My Work
In my early years at The Prospect School in Vermont, I was taught to listen and watch for each person’s strengths and perspectives to guide my teaching in every context with every person. That lesson still informs my starting point for every project.
When I walk through school buildings, I often see students and teachers actively engaged with each other around serious ideas and important skills, finding joy in their learning and meaning in their efforts. I also see struggles and conflicts, students with their heads on their desks, and young kids in trouble, adults overwhelmed.
I have seen those troubles turn into successes–tears turn into hope and renewed effort. Working with whole schools shifting to project based learning, portfolio assessment systems and ongoing embedded collaboration, the accumulated experiences and stories of perseverance, dedication and sparks of brilliance provide hopeful lessons, even on the hardest days.
Many of us have participated in a flourishing of effective ideas for instruction and curriculum, school operations and professional learning. Our challenge is often in the details that make it possible to sustain those ideas in every day realities of complex systems, changing mandates and available resources.
Strategic planning, skills, resources and structures are vital yet they are vehicles, not the purpose. Our purpose is to raise children who will someday find a good life and a place in our communities through knowing how to connect, think and contribute.