Sunday, September 4, 2016

Culture, People, Projects

Back in May (2016), three High Tech High teachers emailed me to say they wanted to make sure that we scheduled time to design powerful projects for our students in the upcoming school year. I was the newbie, incoming director--and I barely knew their names!! BUT, I knew they were VERY serious about designing powerful projects. In fact they had already prototyped a plan for our first days back together in the fall... (They were very pushy!!! which I LIKE!!)

Together, we created a simple survey with 3 questions like these and sent them out to our peeps:

1) What are the top 3 outcomes that you would like to see as a result of our time together during the August Staff Days?

2) What sort of support do you feel you need with project design and project planning?
    A. HABANERO = "I'm on FIRE!! I can get it done and support others."
    B. SPICY = "I am more than capable of spreading the flames of PBL"
    C. MILD = "I'm cooking and the grill's warming up!"

3) What would be absolutely delightful during our August Staff Days?

We met twice in the summer to review the survey data and to gain insight into each person's needs and the needs of the larger group. Three major themes emerged:

                                                                                       Image: Work Rules! by Lazlo Bock

Culture = who we are, what we believe, and how we work together. People = how we care for each other. Projects = designing transformative learning experiences (EPIC--projects that call people to ACTION).

Those three teachers: Jade, Jeff, and Rowan pushed us and helped us to design powerful learning experiences for the adults.  We do NOT have it all figured out, but we have a strong commitment:

"To Be Excellent to Each Other & Do Badass Work." It's more like a journey than a destination and it's a badass journey! (I like saying badass, by the totally agrees with my sensibilities as a jarhead!)

My role is to support their direction and our commitment.  I continue to be AMAZED by their love for each other, the passion they possess for designing powerful learning experiences for students, and their love for High Tech High.