Last Friday morning at the Marriot Conference Center in Denver, Colorado, I found myself at the Superman-themed table introducing myself to six other educators who would become my new teammates. I had never met any of them prior to that day. I was there, along with three of my other colleagues from the AIMS Center, and my six new teammates, and everyone else in attendance, to begin a two and a half year professional learning journey. We were there to attend the first of five sessions of Learning Forward’s Academy. Learning Forward’s mission is to build the capacity of leaders to establish and sustain highly effective professional learning, and that mission aligns well to the mission of the AIMS Center, which is dedicated to assisting teachers facilitate the development of a robust mathematical and/or scientific knowledge within their students. The Academy is definitely a good fit for myself and my teammates as we embark on this two and a half year journey.
Learning Forward says that the Academy experience shall be “an extended and profound learning experience that immerses members in a model of inquiry- and problem-based learning. Academy members work collaboratively to gain knowledge to solve significant student learning problems in their schools, districts, or organizations.” Before we got to Denver, we were asked to draft a “Plan of Practice,” which detailed what we would be focused on, and working on finding a solution to, during our academy experience. My plan is to work on strengthening professional learning partnerships and experiences that schools, districts, and participants have with the AIMS Professional Learning division. Specifically, I want to make sure that the model of learning we use to facilitate professional learning is current, supports ongoing sustained professional learning, and is based on research and current best practices for our participants nationwide.
Our Learning Forward Academy class facilitators put us straight to work on tasks. The learning curve was steep but highly engaging. We gained insight through collaboration as our team worked on becoming familiar with the principles and standards for professional learning. We worked on refining components of our plan of practice and setting goals to accomplish what we had proposed. I have lots of work to do between now and when we meet again in December, but I am energized and looking forward to all that this journey with Learning Forward brings. Look forward to my next post after the next meeting of the Superman team.