Terry in response to my admiration of the Kern site, says:
…but don’t get sucked into the administrative frame here. You want to be where the friction is, where it gets hot, right on the classroom floor.
Yep, the classroom is where the heat is. But there is enough heat on the communications/pr/building relationships with community end of it to warm me up a bit as well. I know I’ve talked about this, but I keep seeing a school Web site that through it’s collaborative flexibility not only informs but connects. We’ve struggled mightily to get our community to pass budgets and referendums with no success in the last five years. (Note: And I would gladly take these struggles over the those that others are experiencing…) Part of the reason I think is that there is little outreach, little opportunity for participation in the functions and philosophies of the district on the part of community members. I think in this place, with this community, a Web log/Web site could do much to change that.
I’m not saying WL/WS is the cure for a disorganized, unfocused effort on our part to bring community into the process. But I think it can help. Most people don’t want to show up at board meetings. Well, let’s let them participate from home. Let’s syndicate news from the different departments to make it easy for community members to keep up via e-mail. Let’s look for ways to highlight the good teaching and good learning that takes place here through teacher and student-created content. Let’s connect parents and their students and put them in the learning process together. (This, of course, is WAY too scary for most because of the obvious accountability it would require.) Let’s open up the virtual doors a little bit, huh? If we’re doing what we are supposed to be doing, we should be chomping at the bit.
(Then again, maybe I’m naive. Or maybe I just want to keep believing this grand vision so I don’t have to sit with all of the other incomprehnsible stupidity of what is taking place in the world right now. Or, maybe I’m just stupid…)
Easy to say, tough to do. Kern has the shell. But it’s a huge district. We’re just one huge school. Even that is more than I can wrap my brain around.
Classrooms ARE where the obvious benefits lie, and I’m happy to report that even in my new job I’ll be able to teach one class a quarter. So my experiments will continue. But I want to check out other fronts too.
Terry Elliott says
This is such a measured and wise response. I will send an extended response of my own in a bit, but definitely today. Maybe by e-mail. The beauty of blogs.