November 2017

Professional Development can be anything that helps you perform better as an educator.  Sometimes it’s a new tech tool to use in the classroom, and sometimes it’s an article that you read or a conversation you have with someone that inspires a change.  Any time you learn, think, or reflect about education, you are developing in some way.

I know time is precious and hard to come by, but try to find some to catch up on articles, read some blogs, or just reflect on your year so far.  Below, I have compiled a list of thoughts and articles that I hope provide some value to you as you continue to grow, stretch yourself, take risks, and evolve as an educator. Enjoy!


The Age of AgilityThis is a very thorough and eye-opening report about the future of jobs/careers and what it means for education.  It is long, but worth the read. Reports like these are becoming more common and will hopefully lead to some significant reform efforts.  Let’s lead the way!

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Student Engagement Drop– This Gallup Poll shows that only 34% of 11th grade students are engaged, compared to 74% in 5th grade.  We can all debate the validity of the poll and make excuses for this decline, but I’d rather focus our efforts on fixing it.  How do we get kids more engaged?  How do we distinguish engagement from compliance? (an oldie, but goodie blog post) How do we create learning opportunities that educate, prepare, and inspire our students to leave HBHS and go change the world? What are the obstacles that are preventing school from being more engaging?  Let’s find the obstacles and figure out how to remove them.

Create Time and New Experiences

We have teachers on our campus who have dedicated “work days,” teachers who allow students to work on passion projects, and teachers who have given students a voice in what and how they will learn and be assessed.  This intentional time allows students to pursue their interests, have focused work time, ask questions, dig deeper, help each other, etc.  This type of ownership of learning is the key to increased engagement, but we know creating time can be difficult if you feel bound by standards or curriculum maps.  Don’t be afraid to look at your curriculum and condense topics, or at least view things through a new lens.  The new lens should be to evaluate everything you teach and figure out if it is relevant and valuable to current students.  Yes, we know you have standards, curriculum maps, and pacing guides, but we also know that at the end of the day we want our students to be prepared and inspired individuals who look back at their high school experience as one that was engaging, challenging, and inspiring, where they felt safe, loved, and supported.  If you need to rethink your curriculum and/or your learning environment to create this experience, do it! Collaborate with your teams, share ideas, discuss what is best for kids and make the changes.  We will help and support you in this transformation…Just keep us in the loop.

“We Are Between Stories In Education” -Bruce Dixon  We are in a state of transition in education where old ways are increasingly being questioned and new ways are being explored.  The physical learning environment is one of those things.  No, not every classroom needs to look like a Starbucks, but we need to understand and acknowledge that some of the most precious learning time for us and our students occurs at places like coffee shops or on the couch and then let’s figure out what that means for our classrooms. 

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Professional Development Opportunities

Ditch Summit (December 15-23, 2017) – An online conference spread out over 9 days.  Flexible, Forward-Thinking, Free!  There are some innovative and inspiring speakers on the schedule so I think it will be good.  I’m in! Get more info and sign up here! 

CUE National Conference (March 14-17, 2018) – This is one of the largest education conferences of the year.  Everyone should go at least once in their career.  If you’ve never been or if it’s been awhile, you should seriously look into going.  It’s worth it.  I’ll pay for your subs! Get more info and sign up here!


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