“I can’t wait to get back to school and continue exploring these ideas and to make things happen for my kids, faculty, and ME!’ Yup, we’ve all been there at that once in a lifetime conference or PD session where we leave so charged up we can’t wait to put into practice an innovative idea we know will help move our students, faculty, and ourselves to a higher level of personalized learning and success. So let’s check in with Cyndy Bliss (Myrtle Grove Middle) and Philip Sutton (Murray Middle), two of our August 2017 #LeadingSchools alums from New Hanover County Schools in Wilmington, NC.
Since returning from Boston, Cyndy and Philip’s Personal Learning Network includes their active engagement in a new peer-driven protocol they discovered called MasterMinds, where a group of up to 10 colleagues convene using Google Hangout 1 hour per week. Grounded in a peer selected book study, they invest 5 minutes on Celebrations, 15 minutes on the book study, 10 minutes on follow up from the previous week’s “hot seat topics” and then one lucky peer gets to put out their personal “hot seat topic” issue and the remaining time (25-30 minutes) is spent getting ideas and feedback from their 9 peers. Cyndy says, “This has been phenomenal in gaining new insights and Leading Schools has contributed to my confidence in doing this.” Their MasterMinds group consists of 3 principals, 4 assistant principals (2 traditional and 2 charter), and 3 lead teachers. They maintain about a 90% participation rate each week and have started a Google Community on the hot seat topics where everyone is on the lookout for relevant resources to post and share with the group.
Philip reflected on his post-#LeadingSchools by sharing that one of the best takeaways has been, “In our staff meetings we try to mimic #LeadingSchools in creating smaller breakout sessions and allowing people to rotate through various innovation activities such as the use of spheroes and other new resources or activities.”
Thanks to Cyndy and Philip for making time to reflect with us on how they are keeping the impact of #LeadingSchools thriving in their lives and schools beyond Boston!