Highlights from my time at the conference included:
- Hearing from a panel of school leaders who have designed non-traditional schedules. Through the implementation of banded blocks with time built in for teacher PD as well as student-led activities, schools are exploring new ways to learn. I was especially intrigued by the idea of a 90 minute English period, and the notion that these longer blocks don't just mean having more minutes to teach the same curriculum, but rather require faculty to learn new ways of teaching their subject. I think this sort of change to the norm is probably good for both teachers and students!
- Under the tutelage of Bo Adams and Grant Lichtman, I participated in a break out session on Problem Solving. We followed High Tech High's Dilemma Consultancy Protocol (adapted from National School Reform Faculty's Consultancy Protocol), starting first by brainstorming some real-life problems we faced in our individual schools. We then chose one dilemma to work through the protocol, and I found the process of facilitated question-asking and brainstorming solutions both practical and impactful. The protocol is something I hope to bring back to my school for use with students (peer mediation) and faculty (generating ideas for changes to curriculum and school infrastructure).
- From another small breakout group facilitated by Bo and Grant, I learned of Brooklyn Friends' "People We Love" project. Much like LREI's "Visibility" project, the initiative invites every member of the school community to share a photo of a person in their life who is LGBTQ. The photos are accompanied by short paragraphs about the relationship, and are displayed in a prominent place on the school campus for everyone to see. I love everything about this project.