Sunday, June 5, 2016

What Have You Learned?

The calendar tells us we are embarking upon the last full week of school for this year in Montpelier Public Schools.  That seems hard to believe.  I am proud of all that we have accomplished this year.

The educational landscape in Vermont is leading us toward proficiency based graduation requirements, via personalized learning plans.  The class of 2020 (next year's 9th graders) will be the first in the state to earn a high school diploma without the traditional Carnegie units.  This is an exciting, albeit challenging time to be a part of education in this state.

This kind of shift in educational thinking and practice aims to measure growth through what students have learned, both in and out of the classroom.  It opens up opportunities for students to show what they have learned on a vacation, on a walk with their best friend, while composing music for their band, while tinkering with computer code, while meeting with a teacher, or while sitting at home and talking with a family member.

The same shift in educational thinking and practice challenges us as adults in the lives of these students.  What are we learning?  How are we changing our practices?  Why does this kind of shift matter for our students?  What is our role in working with our students to measure their growth in this new way?

I am in awe of the way the faculty and staff of MPS have taken on this work.  They have done it with the customary integrity and professionalism I have come to know to expect from them over the past five years I have served in MPS.  This is not something I take lightly or for granted.  The expectations for educators in this state have increased significantly, and I see our educators rising to meet this challenge.

What have I learned this year?  I have learned that no one rises to low expectations, that relationships can make all the difference, and that what we do during the school day ripples into the lives of the families of our students.  I have learned that cancer can inspire, that words can heal, and that when someone retires it leaves a void.  I have learned that leadership means sharing your values, setting direction, and apologizing when you make a mistake.

What have you learned?