This last week has provided opportunities to learn from educators that I have admired for a number of years. The week on the road (Atlanta and Winnipeg) was great in terms of the chance to present and interact with colleagues but I also stepped into the role of learner during those times when I was not sharing content.
The Atlanta Assessment conference hosted by Solution Tree featured Doug Reeves as the day 2 keynote speaker. I appreciate that he always brings new research to his presentations but it was his take on a couple of standard items that had me scribbling notes. “Schools and districts are drowning in data but thirsty for evidence” was the first quote I scribbled down and tweeted out. Judging by the number of re-tweets, it resonated well with others also. It was a great reminder to collect data with a purpose and intention to do something with it. “The best vision statements don't need strategic plans or, for that matter, words”, was the second piece that really stuck with me as I thought about the work I do with schools as it relates to defining what they stand for. The best vision statements aren’t about what we do, but who we are.
After two days in Atlanta, I headed north for three days in Winnipeg and the launch of the Hulley Centre, another Solution Tree project. Wayne Hulley has been a mentor and good friend for at least fifteen years and I cherish any time I get to spend with him. Watching someone who presents a topic he passionately believes in, and with such joy is inspiring. I always learn something new and it usually centers on the way Wayne makes everyone feel important and a part of the solution. “Nobody washes a rental car” was the piece that stuck with me as we talked about educators owning the solutions and the plans for moving schools to greater levels of success. I am excited to being a part of his work going forward and know that it will make a significant difference in schools across Canada.
While I am aware of how busy the lives of educators are, this past week has reminded me that nurturing the passion we have for the work we do can make a positive impact. I know it’s important for me to remember to take the time to learn even when I am helping others with their learning goals.