In our School District, we proudly educate all children each and every day with the motto and belief mission ofENGAGE, INSPIRE, EMPOWER.In support of engaged instruction, we apply this motto to our leadership as well. Thankfully, with the support of the Board of Education, I am allowed to participate in high level professional development and thought leadership with other school leaders from around the country to learn and grow as well as to apply that which is working elsewhere to our collective work Deerfield!
Recently on a “vision quest” with the AASA Digital Consortium, I went on a pilgrimage to the “mecca” of digital transformation, 1:1 growth and success, and ingrained and sustained culture. InMoorseville, North Carolina, home of 2013 AASA National Superintendent of the year Dr. Mark Edwards, I observed classrooms, spoke with teachers, students, and administrators, and engaged in thought leadership sessions with other superintendents from around the US. Our commonalities as innovative school leaders in search of solutions and ideas about how to support and continue to support innovative and engaging instructional practices for all children were shared in many communication sessions and thinking sessions.
A neat video we saw in one of our sessions shows the world we live in regarding technological realities as well the world we prepare our students for. As I’ve written many times,for many years, we are preparing children for their future – not for our past.
Some of you might be thinking “why did you go to Moorseville, NC?” – “why is it so special?” Well … for starters, Dr. Mark Edwards is an outstanding leader and he has served as superintendent of schools for nine years – three times the average tenure for a superintendent. And thePresident of the United States of America announced the Future Ready initiativein Moorseville, NC.In Moorseville I saw the results of leadership, culture building, and sustained excellence – and oh, yes – technology too.The technology is not the focus– it’s the learning, the cultural expectations, and the integration of the 4C’s for students and staff.
See Dr. Edwards’ comments after being awarded the National Superintendent honor in 2013:
The Four C’s (Collaboration, Creativity, Critical Thinking, Communication)drive and provide the foundation for excellence in education. The personalization and communication and reach of the technological tools serve as accelerators for instruction.
During this trip we discussed why we need to change – the moral imperative – why we need to change learning for all students and for their future. We discussed the challenges in funding, infrastructure, stubborn systems, and we discussed the hope and the promise for growth, innovation, and change as well. We shared stories of success that we can share and replicate – andwe shared stories of failure so that others may learn what to avoid and not repeat mistakes. We discussed consumption and curation and creation of knowledge, skills, learning, and expression. We discussedCHANGE– first order, second order – sustained change. During this learning experience with superintendents from Virginia, Arizona, South Carolina, Tennessee, Indiana, Idaho, North Carolina, Arkansas, Washington, New Jersey, Nebraska, Illinois, Iowa, Michigan, and Ohio, we continued the needed dialogue about the transition in public education. With the support and guidance of the AASA and other partners and partnerships with those in the public education industry, our quest is to lead education at the highest levels of success for all students.
Through the Moorseville “magic” and sustained excellence and fidelity to its mission, we identified culture building, relationship building, digital resource building – essentially examples of success in PK-12 system leadership. In addition, we started to craft our own call to action for continuing the conversations and leadership of the conversion of our educational system. Our vision is one that activates creativity for all learners and one that leverages technology tools with engaged pedagogy.As Jim Collins points outthrough his team research on excellence, the challenge is not to be good … it is to beGREAT!
also published at www.dps109supt.blogspot.org