Schools of the future (or of the now)

We are fortunate in Wyoming, as we, unlike other states, don’t have to bond for the building of new school facilities.  Our state is quite wealthy when it comes to natural resources with coal lease agreements paying for school facilities each and every year.

We are fortunate in Rock Springs that our enrollment has continued to increase, graduation rates have continued to increase, and attendance has continued to increase causing a capacity issue at Rock Springs High School.  To that end, we are in a position now to have the state build for us a 120,000+ sq ft satellite facility.

You might think, cool – a new building with new possibilities; and you’d be right.  The other side of this is the work that goes into the planning of the spaces, curriculum, scheduling, staffing, and over all management and design for this satellite facility.

I am fortunate enough to work in a district that is truly forward thinking, having a desire to be as innovative as possible, and to be surrounded by amazing people who are, mostly, like minded.  Today, I spent the whole day with many of those people talking about, debating, and hammering out some early (very early) stage planning of our new facility.  They call it a charrette – fancy way of saying let’s get a lot of really good people who are invested in the long term of this new building and have them really cut to the relevant pieces of this new site.

Weekly, it seems, I am engaged in a great educational conversation with my good friend, colleague, and co-worker Bruce Metz (@metzbruce78) with the topic being educational reform, innovation, and the 3 R’s (relationships, relevance, and rigor).  Bruce is an amazingly passionate educator who is so good at these 3 R’s that he struggles with anyone who doesn’t get it like he does…today Bruce had a room full of people singing his song.

What is important about all that I listed above is this…in Rock Springs we are currently at a very important crossroads in our 9-12 educational paradigm.  We have a lot of staff, a lot, who want to be innovators and want to be changing the paradigm.  We have a small, vocal minority who are very traditional (ie:full frontal lecture) that do not and cannot see the reason for change.  I am hopeful that this group, this facility, and this opportunity do not pass them by and become only another excuse for them to complain about ‘change for change’s sake’.

It is critical that we are always moving forward, innovating, adapting, and changing.  Darwin’s work on the Galapagos Islands, summarized in The Origin of Species, encapsulates it well; ‘Adapt, Migrate, or Die.”  I will just leave that phrase hanging there…it can mean so many different things.

I enjoyed my day listening to others think aloud about education in its current and future forms.  Can’t wait for next Thursday and Friday when we reconvene…should be quite interesting.

Thanks for reading my ramble…

Inspire others,
Darrin

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