On a beautiful Saturday morning in October hundreds of educators from numerous states in the Northeast descended upon New Milford High School for a day of learning, connecting, and reflecting at The Edscape Conference. As I addressed the crowd to begin the event I was in awe of all the passionate educators who took the time to gather on a weekend for the sole purpose of getting better at their craft in order to better meet the needs of their students. Do the reformers know or even care about events like this? I’m guessing it wasn’t even a blip on their radar as there wasn’t a single session on standardization, accountability, performance pay, or the Common Core. Instead session after session provided educators with fresh ideas, proven strategies, invaluable connections, and the confidence to pursue innovation.
As the co-host I had the luxury of popping in on every single session to get a feel for the presenter and the learning environment that he or she had established. What I saw in each room were engaged educators eager to learn and open their minds to the possibilities that the 21st Century presents. From Diana Laufenberg’s keynote, to the exciting hands-on sessions provided by Teq, to the inspiring discussions at lunch, Edscape was about transforming schools in a way that benefits all of our students.
So how should school be structured and operate? This is something that must be decided by those in the trenches (teachers, administrators), stakeholders (parents, BOE), and most importantly the students. As Diana described so eloquently schools should be inquiry-driven, student-centered, relevant, foster creativity, community-based, and emphasize mentoring. I could go on and on, but I am fortunate that members of my PLN and the media (The Record and Patch) have already shared detailed reflections and analysis on Edscape. Please take the time to read their thoughts, which portray an event that I was honored to be a part of:
- #Edscape by Tom Whitby
- Edscape Reflections by Maureen Devlin
- My First Conference Experience by Ms. Sullivan
- The 3 Ls of #Edscape by Lyn Hilt
- #Edscape by Michelle Lampinen
- Edscape 2011: A Retrospective by Lisa Fusco
When reading the powerful quote by Gandhi at the beginning of this post, I believe that the greatest takeaway from the Edscape Conference was that individual educators need to be the change that we want to see in education. The reform talk and subsequent push is not going to subside anytime in the near future, but each of us has the capacity to initiate positive change in order to create a teaching and learning culture that pushes our students to think critically, unleash their creativity, actively solve problems, promotes service, and inspires students to challenge themselves. This is the type of reform that I want to be a part of. Thankfully, this is my reality.
MARK YOUR CALENDARS NOW!!!! Edscape will once again be held at New Milford High School on Saturday October 13, 2012.
(A special thank you goes out to Teq. Without this educational partner, Edcape would not have happened or been a success.)