I have been holding back on sharing with you a “project” that we are implementing in our school district this year. I held back because it wasn’t until today that we unveiled the “project” to our district wide staff. They got to hear about it first.
This “idea” is not a one-time event, not the next thing to come around. It is here to stay. It is to become part of our culture. It is designed to re-capture the joy in education.
Our “movement” is called Innovate Wildly! Our slogan, mission statement, catch-phrase, motto, call-it-what-you-want is "Unleash your passion for teaching and learning".
I am tired of seeing educators figuratively beaten up by so many. Far too many teachers and students have had their fires extinguished. No more. We can sit back and let it happen, or, we can do everything we can to make a difference. We can bring the passion back into our profession. Innovate Wildly! will help us do that.
Innovate Wildly! was inspired by Rushton Hurley (@rushtonh, nextvista.org), a well known educator, speaker, and cheerleader for kids. During his closing keynote at the 2014 MACUL Conference, Rushton shared a story where the Superintendent of the Singapore American Schools, Chip Kimball, challenged his teachers to Innovate Wildly. I heard that phrase and my wheels started spinning.
I met with our Curriculum Director, Kristy Rogalla (@KristyRogalla), and shared my thoughts that we should encourage our staff to do just that: Innovate Wildly! She agreed and our project had legs.
The MACUL Conference at which we heard Rushton was an unusual one for our district in that we were able to send over 40 teachers and administrators. Kristy and I convened an informal meeting to capture the momentum of the conference and to push forward. During that meeting, we asked for volunteers to be part of a team do help us determine our next steps. Five teachers stepped forward: Kevin Groothuis (@MrGroothuis), Becky Steele (@beckysteele), Amy Hage (@amy_hage), Lori Barr (@LbarrBarr), and Kristin Terrigno (@KristinTerrigno).
At our first meeting with those teachers, I shared my "vision" about Innovate Wildly! I voiced my opinion that it is time to re-ignite the fire that inspired teachers to become teachers. To make a long story short, we are on our way. Our team has grown and we are ready to change our world.
On Tuesday, August 26, at our district school year kick-off, Innovate Wildly! was launched. Where it goes, we will have to wait and see. There is no manual for this. No recipe. We will build this as we grow.
To keep you in the loop, visit our newly created website where we intend to share our successes, failures, inspirations, and resources. Check it out here: innovatewildly.weebly.com Follow us on twitter at #JPSiWild.
Join us as we Innovate Wildly! and unleash your passion for teaching and learning.
Posted by Dave Tchozewski
Director of Information Technology
Jenison Public Schools