What can you tell about a school in one visit when the kids are still on vacation?
Well – quite a lot as it turns out.
I had the opportunity this week to visit the Robert C. Parker School which is a wonderful progressive pre-k through 8th grade school up in the Albany area.
I was there to conduct a workshop introduction to design thinking for the faculty at the invitation of Meg Taylor, the head of school.
So what did I learn?
Well – some things are obvious from the start. The setting is beautiful and facilities welcoming and warm.
This was the first day after the long Thanksgiving weekend which is always a time of high pressure in schools. It’s the start of the December rush and there’s always too much to do.
I was especially appreciative therefore of the time that teachers took to spend delving into design thinking with me. And delve they did and with impressive energy, creativity and a general willingness to give everything a try.
A short tour of the school at lunch time allowed me to see the classrooms, playground, gym and a get a glimpse of big outdoors at Parker. No students to give to give the place life but the evidence of authentic learning was everywhere.
So, while school is not school without students it can still be a place where it is clear that learning is valued. And in any good school it is the teachers that make the difference.
At Parker I met a terrific group of people who sparked with ideas, collegial energy and creative thinking. We worked on a few ideas together. I don’t know what will come of any of them but with those intellectual resources on tap whatever Parker does will probably be something imaginative, exciting and true to the Parker tradition.
Thank you Parker people and thank you Meg for giving me the opportunity to experience a little of your school.
And here’s a little movie of our time together.