Being the principal at Thomas Haney Secondary School is a very cool gig. Our model allows a variety of interesting opportunities for creative work in our role as administrators. My friend, and former THSS principal, Sean Nosek, mentioned to me that we would be facilitating a lot of tours…he was right. In my first year we hosted approximately 15 tours for educators from all over the province and from as far away as New Zealand. Part way through last year we started wondering what happens when our guests go back to their schools? They all love the tour, but does it lead to lasting change at schools?
At the same time, our admin team was reading about design thinking and Lean Start Up methodology. We started talking about the possibility of creating a new kind of tour….with a new post-tour conversation….and we wondered….
How could we build upon the great work Sean and the previous administrative teams had done in promoting innovative schooling?
What would happen if the tour became less of the focus?
What would happen if the tour acted as a disruptive event for our visitors and we followed that disruptive event with a facilitated dialogue for school teams to consider how structures can be adapted to fit with our incoming curriculum and graduation changes?
What if we took elements of design thinking and combined them with the relevant components of the Lean Start Up Methodology that fuels tech start ups?
What if we could develop the rocket fuel schools need to gain the confidence necessary to start a collaborative process that ignites change?
Ignition 2015: School Re-Launched is a 2 day learning event for individuals and school teams wanting to move beyond discussing innovation and move to actual implementation in the school renewal process. Charles Tsai, of Social Creatives, will kick off our event with a keynote titled “From Excellent Sheep to Motivated Elephants: A New Vision For Mass Education.” We will then take a tour of Thomas Haney Secondary before learning about how to scale innovative practices in our middle/secondary schools. Topics we will explore include: the concept of time, flexible scheduling, learning spaces, teacher collaboration structures, and using meaningful data to tell your school’s story. It should be noted that our purpose is not to promote the Thomas Haney model as the ideal model for every school. Rather, our purpose is to give you the tools to back to your school to create innovations that work for your school.
Ignition 2015 will give participants a chance to use Design Thinking and the Lean Start Up framework in planning transformation. These are structures and mindsets that can be taken back to schools to assist in change efforts. A unique feature of this event will be a focus on the user experience of teachers in the transformation process, something we believe is often neglected when personalization and transformation are discussed. Individuals and teams will leave with a practical, actionable set of strategies to use as well as a network of colleagues from other schools who are also involved in school renewal efforts.
We had the opportunity to preview some of this conference material to 25 staff from Timberline Secondary this Spring. From Principal Jeremy Morrow:
“Thank you for such a great day at THSS. The effort you all went to present, host, and challenge our staff was so valuable. The quality of the ensuing conversations has been inspiring and I have had a number of our staff express that this is the ‘best’ pro-d that they have participated in. It was refreshing to have so many people experience looking at a school that lives ‘outside of the box’, enabling staff to look freshly at some of the assumptions that we have been making….Again the ideas that are coming forward both system wide and course/department specific have been really exciting. I appreciate the way in which you helped create such powerful conversations.” This year, Timberline Secondary has moved to self-directed afternoons, an initiative led by staff. See their progress here:http://www.sd72.bc.ca/school/timberline/Programs/flextime/Pages/default.aspx and here: http://www.sd72.bc.ca/school/timberline/Pages/Flex_Calendar.aspx
Ignition 2015 is affordable, practical and has been developed with action in mind. We will go beyond the ‘why’ change needs to happen, and explore the ‘how’. Please see our Eventbrite link with all details here: http://www.eventbrite.ca/e/ignition-2015-school-re-launched-tickets-15999112777
We look forward to working with you.