You have to love technology. I am 30,000 feet above Minnesota right now and I am looking over all my notes after having just attended the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS) annual conference in Seattle. From listening to Bill Gates, to meeting my New Head’s colleagues, to seeing old friends and to sessions on strategic planning, internet safety and schools of the future (to name a few) my head hurts- in a good way.
There are so many great “takeaways” from the conference. Here are a few below:
*Curriculum mapping of our subject content is important (and we do that), however, a curriculum map that emphasizes 21st century skills is one that will produce even stronger students. Time to get on that.
* It is time to market outcomes. Let’s create a profile of a Woods graduate. How about this for outcomes this year, 100% of 8th graders got into the school of their choice. Over 50% have been awarded scholarships or honors distinction upon acceptance. Impressive.
* Use technology for personalization in education. This pearl came from Bill Gates. To quote Mr. Gates, “knowledge is there for content..that problem was solved with the text book….the teacher plays a vital role in the assessment and customization of learning. Technology is a promising tool to make knowledge relevant…technology allows for instant feedback.”
* Teams are essential in schools. From collaborative learning by kids, sports and robotics teams to faculty led teams like the differentiated instruction team, the tech team or the faith in action service team. Imagine all these teams working across grade levels to infuse faith, service, instructional methodology and technology into the classroom and as professional development for the staff.
The other piece that we all took away from Bill Gates, who only graduated from high school (I am not recommending that path), was that the folks at Lakeside School in Seattle “got out of his way and let him explore his passion.” Gates designed the first class scheduling program for the school at the age of 16. He found his passion and they let him do “his thing”. The tag line, One Woods, Endless Possibilities seems quite appropriate. Just ask Adeeb Mahmood, class of 2002, why he is in the tech field today. As he told me at lunch one day, he was able to get on one of the first internet ready computers at The Woods and his passion was fired up then.
It is a good time to be working on our strategic plan at The Woods.
Enjoy the video below. It is a story board of speeches given by Pat Basset, President of NAIS, and Bill Gates.