Largely due to the work of Rick and Becky DuFour, the education world began to value the importance of allowing enhancements to grow organically from teachers with administrators supporting their ideas. The acronym associated with this is PLC ~ professional learning communities. You can see evidence of these PLC’s at RHS by scrolling though previous blog posts. As recently as June 2017, the various PLC’s participated in a showcase to share accomplishments. The results were amazing and impressive.
While the value of what was presented in June is not questioned, we reflected over the summer about whether these learning communities were happening largely because we were telling teachers they had to happen (the answer being most likely yes) and would they happen if it was not an actual “requirement.” In other words, we want to move beyond compliance. We wanted staff to spend time on projects that they are truly passionate about with content that would positively influence the HS. Time was spent looking at the Google 20% concept and the FedEx Day. While some amazing things grew out of those experiments, there were issues with those ideas as well.
Our reflection resulted in a modification to the PLC. This year we are asking teachers to participate in a passion project. The parameters are simple~ they need to be involved in “something” that will enhance RHS. They can work alone, in small groups or in large groups. While we will provide time for them to do this, they are free to also utilize time outside of the building. We began initial conversations about this idea on opening day and have already had staff collectively and individually doing things that are improving both our academic world, our extra curricular offerings and the overall culture and climate of the school.
Between what the students are doing with Cornell and the staff generating projects based on their passions ~ we should have some pretty awesome outcomes by June!!!