“Learning on the job, day after day, is the work,” writes Michael Fullan, one of my favorite writers on educational reform. I repeat a version of this often, reminding our students, faculty and staff, parents, and board members that learning is the work for all of us in a school community. The expectation is that we’re learning every day, both from our experiences and from each other, and that we are sharing what we learn.
Of course, student learning is the priority, and the most visible part of that work. Today, though, I’d like to draw attention to the ways in which we are enriched by the ongoing learning of the adults at Crossroads.
Our faculty engage in professional development both together an independently, on and off campus, through:
- Coordinated summer reading in support of their teaching practice and our community-wide anti-bias/anti-racism work.
- Giving and receiving feedback on their work using an approach called Critical Friends, a research-based format for collegial dialogue.
- Weekly faculty meetings dedicated to collaborative work.
- Attending or presenting at regional and national conferences, which this year have included: the Teaching Tolerance Workshops, the National Teachers of Biology Conference, the AP Conference, Mental Health First Aid, the Private Schools with Public Purpose Conference, and Gestión Deportiva.
Our staff members take part in ongoing learning, as well, through participation in topic-specific webinars and classes, membership in professional groups, and connections to peers in their fields.
Parents and family members learn with us when they attend community events such as our video and discussion series, Race: the Power of an Illusion and Unnatural Causes. I hope reading the Wednesday Notice, attending Parent Ambassador meetings, and engaging with your child(ren)’s peers and teachers are also sources of learning.
For our Board of Trustees, learning is the work during their annual retreat, as well as during full-group and committee meetings throughout the year. Board members bring to Crossroads a range of expertise and experiences; opportunities to learn together amplify the value of their collective wisdom.
As Michael Fullan puts it, “You won’t improve the organization if you’re not working on it every day.” When our mission states that we strive to be an exemplary and engaging learning community, the call extends to all of us who are a part of Crossroads, and it applies in all we do.
As we near the end of the school year, I want to thank you for contributing your learning to our school, both directly and through your child(ren).