Monday, November 18, 2013

So is Everything all "Peaches and Cream" regarding Initial Implementation of PBE in RSU 3?

I'd be lying if I said "yes". .. things are just going off without a hitch!  :)

I believe in honesty so I'll be honest. .. change is hard!  Are we running into "bumps in the road"?  "Yes"  Are we working to overcome these "bumps"?  "Yes"  Are these "bumps" insurmountable?  "No"  Are these "bumps" opportunities for learning?  "Absolutely"!

Some of these "bumps" include the general issue of change.  Its hard to change.  I don't like to change, you don't like to change. . . students don't like to change, and parents don't like to change.  NO ONE likes to change!  But clearly, not changing is not an option for our children's future (just view my second post that outlines the reasons why RSU 3 is moving to PBE in the first place) so we have to change in order to improve our educational system to meet the needs of all our learners.  If I were to venture a guess as to what percentage of "bumps" are simply change related. .. I'd probably "guestimate" that at more than 50%. . .probably closer to 60% to be honest.

That being said, we have experienced other "bumps" as well.  Here's a quick list that comprises the other 40% or so:

-  TIME and the connected MONEY - there just isn't time in the day to learn and figure out this new model while at the same time asking teachers to continue to "fly the ship".  We're asking teachers to "digest" and implement an entirely new curriculum and a new methodology for assessment.  We're asking teachers to re-think the entire structure of what it is they were taught to do in collage and what it is they themselves experienced as students.  That's A LOT of work, on top of still trying to provide caring and safe environments for children during the day.  If we ask for additional time from teachers to do this work then we rightly need to provide payment for that time.  BOTH resources (time and money) are seemingly in shorter and shorter supply in education!

-  Communication - across a 440+ square mile district, across 9 different schools, and 11 different communities the ability to communicate effectively becomes "stretched" to say the least!  Add in the high cost of gas and not being able to get people physically present for public forums and other on site activities and its REALLY HARD!  This either breeds insufficient information or misinformation - both are equally dangerous and equally troubling "bumps" in the road that we continue to "battle" day in and day out (which I hope to some degree this Blog will help with. .. time will tell)!

- Pacing - for some this change is going "too fast" and for others this change is going "too slow".  Where is the happy "medium" - the balance?  This is unique to every district attempting to implement PBE.  Therefore there are no "right" or "wrong" answers, and often any answer is seemingly "wrong" because at any given time either the "go faster" or the "go slower" group is NOT HAPPY!

-  Philosophical discussions - as I mentioned earlier, change is hard. .. and part of change is talking about and identifying what it is you believe in and then working to make that change a reality for children.  These conversations take time and they are sometimes not pleasant when the individual beliefs of some run into the individual beliefs of others.  In order to be able to have these types of conversations and positively move forward from them, a safe and trusting climate has to be created to allow these types of conversations to occur.  As hard as you work to create this climate, sometimes when the going gets tough you have to step back and work on that again before you can push ahead.

These are some of the VERY REAL challenges we face as a district moving forward.  The key to overcome these challenges is to have a clear vision (which we have) and consistent, patient, open minded, and dedicated/committed leadership at all levels (students, parents, teachers, admin., etc) who stay focused on making that vision a reality over time.


1 comment:

  1. Here's to "keeping it real," Heather. Making a change of this magnitude in how a school district educates its young people, while actually continuing to educate them, all at once, is a bit mind-boggling for everyone involved, I'm sure. I appreciate that there is a strategic process going on, in which layers are added toward the goal of fully embracing PBE. I think that is how change happens best, and with most staying power long-term. I am appreciating this blog, and like how your recent posts take a particular angle, and stick with that angle and focus.