Friday, October 28, 2016

Inacol Symposium 2016

Yesterday's keynote, Jim Shelton, made a strong point about the need for the people doing the work of changing school to a personalized learning model to tell their stories in compelling ways.  He highlighted that good deep thinking and data and research are important, but they don't move the needle, they keep it from falling back.  Its the stories of success and implementation and movement and of KIDS that really makes the changes we are working towards happen.  He reminded me that the PR efforts we put in are not for fame or glory, but rather to advance the cause that the model of school in America needs to shift and it needs to do so dramatically on a large a scale for the future of the country.

In the midst of a presidential election like one we have never witnessed before, the power and influence of social media and stories is evident and in our face.  The 24 hour news cycle is not dominated by pensive, purposeful, and thoughtful pieces, but rather by sound bites and stories that grab peoples attention.  So, there is power in grabbing people's attention.  We need to do that work, the work to keep kids and education at the top of mind with policy makers and legislators whose pen strokes and penchants for quick wins can create laws and policy that hinder and even hurt kids as the attempt to maintain the status quo.  Or, less tragic, but equally frustrating, they create laws that create bureaucracy, that create procedures, that take take time away from teachers who are really doing the work to reach kids and make them great.

I heard a call to action.  I heard not just a reaffirmation that the work we are doing in my district and is in important, but that there is a need to be a part of a broader conversation that can move policy and practice.  We have proof points around the country where we know both viscerally and through student achievement, that competency based, personalized learning works for each and every student. It creates equity, levels the playing field, and inspires educators, parents, and students.  We need to share that inspiration, we need to embrace the message, but most importantly, we need to be the message.

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