Monday, July 25, 2016

Empowering Innovation

I just got back from day one of our annual district leadership summer retreat. Perhaps my favorite part of the retreat is when we learn together through reading and sharing, and this year we read The Innovator's Mindset by George Couros.

We typically "jigsaw" the book, each of us reading and sharing a chapter or two. By far the best is the conversation that is sparked, as we connect new learnings to our practice and stretch each other to think different.  Though hard to summarize, a couple things resonated with me that will apply to my work this year:

-The world around has changed dramatically over time due to new technology and advances in science, yet schools typically have not made the same changes. We still tend to operate on the same system created decades ago when most students were working on the family farm in the summer.

-Innovation is a mindset, not a tool or a technology. Innovation is the ability to question, create, struggle, collaborate, invent, fail, and reflect.

-Innovation is about empowering our learners, staff and students included. Motivation to do anything, for kids or adults, comes when we have choice over what we do.

-The internet and social media has brought connectivity and idea sharing to new heights, as we can now be connected locally and globally. Rather than technology replacing face to face interactions, it can enhance human interactions.

Most important is the role we leaders play in modeling and fostering an innovator's mindset in our schools. As I sat listening to my colleagues I realized that we make each other better. Not because we agree on everything, but because we collaborate through questioning each other, creating plans for change, learning about and struggling with new ideas, failing (often!), and reflecting so we can readjust our path for the district. I feel so fortunate to be able to work with a group of innovators who truly keep students and staff in the forefront, so thank you for pushing me to be better each day.

I hope you take minute to view our work here to see what the leadership has been learning and contemplating for our work in Orange and Petersham, and I'd love to hear your thoughts/feedback. Feel free to comment or email me anytime!

1 comment:

  1. LOVED how the book differentiates school as consuming but that learning is about creating. Makes you think a little differently about the assignments we give students and what is going to be more influential in growing achievement. No one comes to school eager to do a worksheet!
    Supt Thomas