Yesterday, Nikki and I were creating the form that our staff would use to share their Passion Project proposals. Halfway through our creation of the form I stopped and asked, “is this just busy work or is doing this of value to both our staff and us?”

Asking that question prompted a discussion about how we wanted whatever it ended up being to allow staff to process their thoughts, capture them, and ultimately share them so we can provide feedback. All said and done, we agreed that the medium and the content was appropriate for what we were hoping to accomplish.

I think about this regularly. Is what we ask staff to do (in PD or anything, really) authentic and purposeful? Or, like much of education, is it all about accountability and policing? What if you asked the same about our work with students?

Over the last couple years Nikki and I have worked hard to ensure that staff PD is actually developing something and not just a checklist of things to accomplish. To do this, however, you have to be critical of your own work and be willing to scrap ideas through the input of others. You have to be purposeful in your planning and authentic in your implementation. The minute PD becomes a “gotcha” is the minute that you lose potential for learning.

The same holds true for our classrooms. Think about yourself as a learner and what you love and what you absolutely hate when it comes to structured learning. Kids aren’t that different, so create opportunities that speak to both of your interests.

Intrigued by the Passion Project? More about that coming soon…

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