You know when reality can’t possibly live up to the anticipation? I had prepared myself for that possibility–that I would arrive at SLA and find just another school.
That the edubloggers I had been chatting with would just be people. Well, ok, they are just people. But fun people, thoughtful people!
But so far, this event has given me much to take home and share with colleagues.
The students are bright and articulate. We had the chance to chat with a group at the end of the day in an advisory period. We asked what the best part of being at SLA was and, by far, the answer given most often was "we are respected and allowed a voice here."
Not the technology, though that’s evident and used effectively.
The teachers clearly love what they do, and Chris Lehmann, the principal has shared a clear vision of what the school should be.
Tori, the Spanish teacher who is with me asked if their experience at school helped them in their internships (they have wonderful opportunities to intern and study in the community once a week during release time). A young man, hair in his eyes, slouched in his chair, raised his hand. "My internship is working with scouts. When I need to teach them, I model my teaching after how my teachers here teach–in ways that I don’t get bored–in ways that really keep my attention." Great answer. Bing, bing.
Keith, our Latin/history teacher, commented on how the students seem so engaged and intellectually curious. Most classes are loud and active, but there is obvious learning going on his this school.
Tomorrow, we will have a chance to share what we’ve seen and talk what makes this work. David Warlick says it well, so please go read this. He says this:
"…you have to walk out of this school with more optimism about education than you walked in with."
I agree, David.