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Pole Holders

Well I have had a few days to go over everything I gained from two amazing days of Pro-D at Thomas Haney Secondary. It all started last Friday when I snuck into a day designed for administrators, consultants and leaders. I was so happy I did. If you ever have a chance to go to a prod with Eric Chagala, EdD and Dr. Kaleb Rashad, it is a must and will be your greatest experience.

The energy in the room was great. The group rock paper scissors competition was engaging and got very rowdy but made for a great supportive environment to start our day.

It all started with an in depth analysis of ourselves and understanding our identity and how & what that brings to our community. A great discussion time about the design process and creating a hack followed.

What really hit me at the center and was my aha moment was the slide below.

The just of the photo is that you have people living content on an island and they one day see a new island across. Some people will jump in and swim to it. Some will stay back and watch if you get eaten by a shark. It needs to be safe before they try and finally there are the pole holders who will stay put and fly the flag for you to see to comeback too. This really resonated with me and I could so see this analogy at play in my school community.

As a small school, who changed to a flex model for survival of the school and the betterment of the student opportunities, I can really see this model at play. I am the swimmer who jumped in feet first and changed all my classes and content to fit this style of timetable. I needed to figure out a way to cover all my senior high classes in 2 hours a week and 2 hours a week of student seminar. This meant I needed to put the learning back onto my students more. I now have an open lab set up and its ready for them to do the labs at anytime outside of set class periods. We also eliminated the small task assignments and implemented more design project based learning that they work on at their pace. So yes my room can have 5 classes going on at once but it works for them and me.

So now we as a school have been in this model for 4 years and I see some are now swimming with me more and more but we still have the pole holders. Yes we all have those who can't change but what hit me was I never thought about their why. Why is the change hard? What stops them from getting in the water? What is the underlying current? Yes this has blown my mind.

I loved both days so much. I meet many people that I admire or chat with on twitter. I reconnected with many. I met my puppy love. But really the learning as always was so great.

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