Thursday, September 8, 2016

Level Up!

For the past three years, our district has done something very innovative and transformative with professional development. We have dedicated a day each year to learning about technology innovation that consists of a keynote speaker followed by breakout sessions on various tech tools. The best part of the breakout sessions is that they are led by innovators within our own district! The professional development day is called Level Up and it is a great blend of everyone hearing the same inspirational message while still being able to choose breakout sessions that are meaningful to them. Here is a quick recap of the program history and how they helped me grow professionally.

Year One: Keynote Adam Bellow gave an inspiring presentation and challenged the way I looked at technology in the classroom. At the time, I wasn't on Twitter and did not have a Facebook page for my school. I didn't know who Adam was at the time, but was inspired by the talk and set up my first twitter account in one of the breakout sessions. I also used a Chromebook for the first time. I was a babe in the woods, just exploring what was out there.

Year Two: Keynote Eric Sheninger presented and I was excited because I had been following him on Twitter and had read his book "Digital Leadership". I co-presented my first breakout presentation on Twitter and had started sharing my educational blog and student successes on social media. I was starting to branch out and so were others in the district.

Year Three: Keynote George Couros was amazing and our whole staff was familiar with his book "The Innovator's Mindset" as we had read it as a group over the summer. I again presented on Twitter and also on educational Blogging. Several other school leaders (both in the classroom and throughout the district) presented as well. People were realizing that innovators and experts were to be found throughout our district.

Level Up is what professional development should be. An inspiring message heard by all, utilizing experts from outside and inside the district, and most importantly...choice! Professional development needs to be relevant to educators and without choice that is difficult to accomplish. So, knowing what professional learning should look like and knowing that we have done it, my issue is this...Why are we not doing this with ALL professional development? We started a change in our building last year and we will continue and improve upon it this year. Staff meeting times will be focused on professional development. Staff will be given a choice as to what types of things we will learn. Finally, we will utilize the experts in our building (and in the district) on various topics ranging from technology to differentiated learning to Genius Hour. It's time to change how we do professional development and as with any change it needs to start with us. Great things can happen when we dare to step out of our comfort zone and Level Up!

"Creativity is not a talent. It is a way of operating." - John Cleese

"It is not enough to be busy (the ants are busy), we must ask: 'What are we busy about?' " - Henry David Thoreau

"Creation is in part merely the business of forgoing the great and small distractions." - E. B. White


Monday, September 12: Celebrate Monday Assembly 9:05 - 9:25 am
Tuesday, September 13: Fire Drill 10:00 am
Wednesday, September 14: Achievement Team Meeting 8:15 am
Thursday, September 15: Staff Meeting 8:05 am
                                         Elementary Principals Meeting 1:00-4:30 pm
                                         Open House 6:00-6:30 pm / Curriculum Night 6:30-7:00 pm

Monday, September 19: Celebrate Monday Assembly 9:05 - 9:25 am
Wednesday, September 21: Lock Down Drill 1:30 pm
Thursday, September 22: Staff Meeting 8:05 am


     Adam Bellow 

     Eric Sheninger

    George Couros

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