All good questions.I thought I would give a brief snapshot of what we, as a staff, did this past PD (Professional Development) Day to answer some of these questions.
In short, it was a jam-packed day full of work, learning, collaboration, planning and community-building. We started the day out with some devotions and sharing from each person about a cool thing that they had experienced over the last little while. Some of the stories shared brought tears to people’s eyes, some stories were funny, some were deep and meaningful. In all cases, the vision for what we are trying to accomplish in the school was clarified in very real ways.
We then spent some time in small groups discussing, debating and challenging one another based on the book, Creative Schools by Ken Robinson. I have referenced this book previously and some of you in the wider community have mentioned that you have also picked it up and read it through. That is cool. It is really important to be a reflective practitioner and to step outside of the day to day business of schools to think through what could be and what should be. There were some really great questions asked and some terrific possible next steps proposed moving forward.
After a short break we worked through about an hour worth of logistical elements that needed to be planned and thought through properly in order to run well. We seemingly never have enough time to do this sort of thing, but it is hugely important to plan and think ahead. This included things like outstanding items from our Ministry of Education Inspection and the school soccer buy-out that just happened yesterday (we lost 5-1, but the weather was great).
Then, we had the opportunity to eat lunch together, off-site, at Edgar & Joe’s Cafe, which is located in the Goodwill building on Horton St. in London. This was a powerful experience for at least two reasons. The first reason is that it gives us all an opportunity to get out of the building and see how a different organization works. What do they believe? How do they function? What is the culture? Why is it that way? Etc. Etc. Second, it provides a platform to learn about how we, at LDCSS, can further partner with organizations like this, who are doing some very Biblical, missional kinds of work. Increasingly, schools are becoming hubs for community engagement. The learning is connected to the outside world in powerful ways. Opportunities like this allow us a window into thinking how we could make a potential partnership with a place like Goodwill, in some shape or form. Check out the pictures below to see some of our staff in the midst of a tour of the facility.
Finally, we got back to school and spent the remainder of the afternoon (which unfortunately had to be compressed due to a lack of time) in various meetings that were specific to some different programs or events. For example, the team that was involved in the production of Much Ado About Nothing took some time to reflect and debrief the production. What was good? What could improve? Etc. The grad committee continued planning for the big event. Sports team coaches spent time going through a plan and projections for the remainder of this school year as well as for next year. And on and on…
PD Days are tremendously valuable in the life of a school. In fact, we are in the process of working out how we can insert more of this time into the school year calendar for next year. We are in the learning business and in order to thrive in this environment, we, ourselves, must be intentional about modeling life-long learning as a staff. To this end, last Friday was a terrific day!