In December, a gathering of 20 educators from five Ohio school districts* took place at Grandview Heights High School, marking the inaugural meeting of our organization's High School Innovators Group. This new initiative emerged from the expressed desire of teachers to exchange experiences and insights with peers who are navigating transformative practices in their respective settings.
“We didn’t know exactly what to expect, but it was a great day,” one participant reflected. “I walked away with new ideas and resources, new professional relationships, and new inspiration.”
“It was amazing to hear the variety of things people are working on,” added another teacher.
“Authentic learning can take so many different forms, but everything we shared was aligned with student engagement and empowerment. Kids are capable of so much when we provide them with opportunities to lead and grow.”
The day was framed around participants’ experiences in the past, present, and future. Group members reflected on their own high school careers, discussed current innovation efforts, and projected changes they hope to implement in the next five years. Teachers and administrators engaged in these activities together and clearly enjoyed collaborating.
“Teachers and leaders need each other,” said one principal. “A shared vision is essential, and I’m so glad we’re here together to focus on what we want to accomplish.”
Several resources were provided for participants’ consideration. The PAST Foundation’s new Portable Innovation Labs were shared by PAST staff member Brianna Agomessou. Group members also received a list of recommended books, articles, websites, and videos from Partnerships staff members, Ellen Erlanger and Kathy Meyer, who facilitated the half-day session.
What’s next? Ellen and Kathy are awaiting additional feedback from participants to determine that very thing. It’s likely that the High School Innovators Group will have continuing contact in person and virtually, and that other school teams will be added along the way.
And who knows? Perhaps similar groups for elementary and middle school educators are right around the corner.
*Participating school districts: Grandview Heights, Fairbanks, Margaretta, Tallmadge, and Upper Arlington.