I had the privilege last week of working with a great bunch of educators at the NYSAIS Think Tank at the Carey Conference Center in Rensselaerville, NY. The location was perfect, the company inspiring and the work energizing. And facilitator Ann Mellow provided leadership and kept us all moving forward.
It was at this event last year that we re-branded professional development as professional learning and collaboration. It was also the launch pad for the NYSAIS Community – a virtual space for all those who work in the 187 member schools across the state.
Again this year it was a two days long cool thing. But along the way there was the opportunity to share a personal one minute cool thing.
Participants included the leadership of NYSAIS and a wonderful range of great people from NYSAIS schools. That meant for a fun mix of cool things from personal stories, resources, inspiring video, a relaxation exercise and anecdotes and lessons from school life.
George Swain told the story of his upcoming Tour de PDS – a 300 plus mile bike trip connecting with all of the mid-Hudson Valley towns and villages where PDS families live.
A mere 150 miles a day over two days.
Part of the preparation was to engage a lower school class in figuring out the best route, mapping the miles and connecting the dots in the best ways.
You can see a short video of that below.
All very cool.
He also showed the floor plan of the Middle School Learning Community
currently under construction in the Gilkeson Center at PDS. It’s an exciting and fluid design to accommodate an exciting and dynamic middle school program.
My cool thing was to add to that and do a little unseemly boasting about the middle school faculty.
They had been working with the design in the spring and figuring out how to plan for the new year in the new space.
Take a look at the orange area on the floor plan. It’s labelled Faculty Workroom.
“What do we need that for? We don’t need a faculty room. Why not make it a learning space for all of us?”
Now that to me is very cool. And one big step ahead of the very forward-looking school designers at Fielding Nair International.
All credit to those teachers and to the the culture of collaboration and innovation that they continue to build.
And now the brief video of second and third graders working on that bike route in math class.