Yesterday, we held our first #edcampdavis at the middle school for our half day of professional development. It is no surprise that the 3 and a half hour event was massive success. That is not to say that the edcamp style program would work everywhere to the same powerful level. I don’t believe it would.
So that begs the question: What is it about us that had this very simple process be so remarkably impactful for our community?
There are a number of catalysts for this success. First, we walk the walk of being a community of learners who exemplify the growth mindset. Our approach to yearly professional development programming manifests this attitude. Entirely created, developed, and executed by members of our faculty and staff, teachers have 8 PD strands to choose from for areas of study during the course of the year.
This element also reveals another key trait that had yesterday be so meaningful for our group- so many of our people are accustomed to raising compelling topics, and facilitating meaningful conversations on those topics.
Further, we are a culture that easily finds comfort in a room of colleagues having candid discussions on even the most sensitive topics (having difficult conversations with parents was one session yesterday, for instance).
Finally, a significant contributor to the positive climate we felt in the building yesterday is the wide-spread experience with this model that many of our people have had prior to executing our day of learning. Many of us have participated in edcamps, so there was leadership and guidance even in the process of building the board while we ate.
As a culture that walks the Dweckian walk, we benefit from opportunities to share our collective knowledge, creativity, and passions as educators.
The edcamp model works for us because it provides a forum that allows us to play to these strengths with great ruach (spirit) while also making our kehilla (community) stronger in the process as we build kavod (respect) for each other and deepen our chochma (wisdom).
At a time when so many schools are looking to outside sources for PD, we choose to tap into the incredible wealth of talent within our walls that lends itself to the fluid, organic collaborative model that edcamp provides.