We’ve probably all participated in some sort of “visioning” activity. Frequently, the experience itself is what we remember – a highly engaging process that allows people to think outside their boxes in a way that is both refreshing and motivating. The shared experience leads to a consensus about where we are headed and, more often than not, a consensus about the statement designed to communicate the dream. Read more
Anne E. Conzemius
Anne E. Conzemius, a trainer and coach, has served as director of employee development and training for Wisconsin’s Department of Employment Relations, and as assistant state superintendent at the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction.
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“This is a social justice issue,” Superintendent Demond Means tells a room full of educators and community members. “All means all! We made a commitment as educators when we walked into our classrooms for the first time that we will reach every kid in our classroom. We didn’t make a commitment to reach 75% of the students.” (Promoting Excellence for All: A report from the State Superintendent’s Task Force on Wisconsin’s Achievement Gap, page 8)
You might not expect to hear these remarks from the superintendent of the district named the #1 K-12 district in the state of Wisconsin the past three years, whose high school achieved an ACT composite score of 26 and whose middle school, it was learned just the day before, is being recognized as a National Blue Ribbon School.
As a child, I loved to sit on our front porch to watch approaching thunderstorms play out over our small town in central Wisconsin. I always knew just when to take my place on the porch, positioning myself in front of my grandmother’s window. It wasn’t because I had seen or heard a weather forecast, but because there was something about the uncertainty of the air that signaled the arriving storm. First there was stillness, then rumbling, followed by the full fury of the storm – lightning, thunder, swirling winds and rain.
We continue to be amazed at the number of teachers who view professional development as something that is done to them– planned and led by others and often disconnected from a teacher’s actual practice or the school’s culture. One would think that by now we’d realize how silly this notion is and that we gain little in the way of results from such an approach.
The school year is barreling toward the finish, yet you still have a list of things to do that is a mile long. In spite of this, we want you to pause, breathe, and take some time to reflect on all that you’ve accomplished.
By our very nature, as educators we have our eyes on what’s next. But, if we don’t take time to reflect, how will we learn? As importantly, where will we find the energy to keep going?