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Mind the Gap

Session 5
John Schinker — Brecksville-Broadview Hts (OH) City Schools

The session begins with a brief presentation outlining the problem. We know that we want inquiry-based schools that foster collaboration and problem-solving, that teach students to be effective learners, and that equip learners to be creators, producers, and innovators as they work to address the challenges of their generation. At the same time, though, increased pressure to improve test scores coupled with a vilainization of teachers and public schools and severe budget shortfalls has left many schools paralyzed. We all leave these conferences enthused about the possibilities. But when we go home and get back to work, we face the realities of the current situation, and our best laid schemes are cast aside.

Once the stage has been set, we will explore the question of who can effect change. All of the stakeholders seem to have the ability to scuttle change. Administrators, teachers, parents, students, and alumni all have an interest in maintaining the status quo. Working in homogeneous teams based on their roles, participants will be asked to address these questions: (1) What can I do to effect change in my school? (2) How can I support and encourage change among the other roles? (3) How can I create a sense of urgency for change in my environment?

Once the participants have had the opportunity to explore these questions in their homogeneous groups, we’ll re-group into heterogeneous groups to share what we’ve come up with. Teachers, administrators, parents, and students will share their perspectives with one another, developing an appreciation for the challenges of the other roles, and identifying ways we can work together to improve our schools.

Conversational Practice

Participants will conduct small-group discussions with one another in role-based groups initially. While this depends on the composition of the participants, the goal is to have a group of teachers, a group of principals, a group of educational support professionals, and hopefully groups of parents and students. Then, participants will represent their roles in heterogeneous groups that allow everyone to see these issues through each of the lenses represented. Finally, participants will share their conclusions with the larger group.

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Presenter Profiles

John Schinker
John Schinker
Brecksville-Broadview Hts (OH) Schools


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