Running through Portland, Reflecting on Change

Update for Mar 30 – Apr 2

This past week, I flew to Portland, Oregon with my family to visit my sister-in-law.  None of us had been to Portland before and we didn’t know what to expect.  I actually preferred not knowing what to expect, kind of like not knowing what a movie is about before you see it.  It just helps me stay focused and stay present. The only thing we did know was that there is a campaign to “Keep Portland Weird”, which sort of summarizes the eclectic folks who live there.

We ended up loving Portland!  It’s a beautiful city with lots and lots of people riding bikes and more street cars than you would ever expect.  I definitely recommend visiting!

The one thing I really wanted to do while in Portland was go for a run.  I’ve been trying to run in every city I visit.  It’s just one of those things I guess.  I actually feel like I see the city differently and experience it in a different way on a run. I was really looking forward to this: I had packed some running gear, researched some places to run, and even plotted out a route on a map.  You’d think it would be one of the first things I did when I got to Portland.

But it wasn’t.

I actually didn’t go on a run until the day before we left.  Why was that?


Fear of the unknown.  Fear of getting lost.  Fear of silly thoughts like not having enough sleep the night before.

The day before I finally ran we were out walking to a shop when I realized that I had been making up excuses not to run because I didn’t know what to expect. Then it hit me: This is like the fear of change we have experienced at times as we work to re-imagine what the elementary learning experience can and should look like.

I quickly got out my phone and jotted down my thought:

I went on my run the next day and enjoyed every step.  Time seemed to fly by and I was finished before I knew it.  I saw a different side of Portland (Literally – I went across the river).  I noticed just how busy Portland is with folks out running and biking, trains crossing bridges, buses and cars honking — It was all around me.  When I was finished, I felt like I had accomplished a lot, even though it wasn’t my longest run or my fastest pace.  I had got past my fears and my excuses and I ended up being disappointed that I hadn’t run sooner.

We all know how much the world is changing and we all know that we have an obligation to respond to this change for our students.  As we continue our work together, re-imagining the elementary learning experience, we will no doubt come to many crossroads where we will be reluctant to cross and that’s OK.  I really believe that fear is apart of the process of changing.

However, we have to remember that we can’t let our fears stop our progress.

Have a great week!


Articles Worth Reading

Upcoming Dates

Mar 30
Teacher Steering Committee Meeting

Apr 1
Staff Meeting (PBIS), 8am
Special Ed Team Meeting, 12:30
Student Housing Committee Meeting (Herb), 4:30

Apr 2
Admin Meeting (Herb), 8am
4th Grade District Math Assessment – 12:45 – 1:45pm
5th Grade District Math Assessment – 2:00 – 3:00pm

Apr 3
No School  

April 6
Tech PD with Kelly Riley, 7:45am

Apr 7
BIT Meeting, 8am
6th Grade Transition Meeting (Spec Ed Team), 3pm
**MEDIA CENTER being used after school, 3:30-7:30

Apr 8
School Community Meeting, 8:50am
PTO Brainstorming Meeting, 7pm

Apr 9
Market Day Pick-up, 5:30pm

Apr 10
Building Advisory Meeting, 8am

Apr 13
Dave & Busters Spirit Night, 5pm
PTO Meeting, 7pm

Apr 14
Student Housing Committee Meeting (Herb), 4:30pm

Apr 16
Admin Meeting (Herb), 8am
**  ADE Parent EdCamp! **, 6-8pm

Apr 17
K-5 Interims — A good chance to update parents before the end of the year!

Apr 20
4th and 5th Grade ELA EOY State Assessments

Apr 21
3rd Grade Spring OAA Reading
Apr 22
3rd, 4th, 5th, Grade Math Unit 1 EOY Assessments

*** Earth Day Dedication of new shed and path in the “Outdoor Education Space at ADE”, 2:30 ***

Apr 23
3rd, 4th, 5th, Grade Math Unit 2 EOY Assessments
*** ART SHOW *** More to come!

Apr 27
Board of Education Meeting at Alton Darby, 7pm

Apr 28
Tech PD with Kelly Riley, 7:45am

Apr 29
Student Housing Committee Meeting (Herb) 4:30

May 1

Staff Meeting — Team Connection Meeting with Dr. John/Board Member, 8:00am

ACE/DCR Project Dates:

Mar 30–REWIND/Take 2 steering committee meeting.  At this meeting we will have an honest conversation regarding the intention of our last meeting and the vision we shared and open it up to conversation regarding: Naming IT (honoring Shannon’s thought) and options/thoughts regarding ways to execute the vision–or modify the vision in order to continue moving forward (i.e. hear from Kim, Karen, and Carolyn and anyone else to collaborate the vision/design).

Apr 8—OPTIONAL Mixer Staff Meeting at ADE 3:45 pm–small group steering committee members lead.  We hope schedules permit your attendance but will understand if this conflicts with already scheduled commitments.

Apr 13–Teacher Steering Committee meeting–Jennifer is going to ask Marcy McNight from Norwich to come and present to the committee regarding the PBL design in 5th grade she has helped to create. 

Apr 21–Staff Meeting with ADE/DCR staff at 3:45 pm at ADE–Teacher steering committee small group explains the vision/design for next year’s extension opportunity to the staff as a whole.

May 6–OPTIONAL STAFF MEETING–work time to collaborate/meet/plan with the people who are teaming up for the extension/design opportunity next year for students.

May 8–Teacher steering committee site visits and work session…
1/2 of the committee will go to Summit Road with CT (CT is working on these arrangments—stay tuned) and 1/2 of the committee will go to Wickliffe with Herb and Jennifer (CT is working on these arrangements—stay tuned). 

We were thinking 9:00-10:30 for the site visit and then meet back at CO at 11:30 at the latest to debrief and have lunch (provided and to be ordered through Aramark).  We would then engage in conversation with the group regarding how to shift our practice as we continue moving forward with our design next year towards students defining their learning path through the options/opportunities that teachers can create/provide for them as experiences.  Could these/are these options/opportunities connected to the networks? This would support students defining the voice and choice in their learning and becomes the heart of student ownership within the design.

Additionally one GOAL for the day is to NAME IT…not pedagogically…or programatically….but based on our Guiding Principles.  So the IT that is named represents the way we do things grounded in those principles–the mantra of “Who We’d Like to Be”.  We will be showing the teacher videos one more time and identifying how these ideas align to the principles established in our Guiding Principles and how these ideas can become opportunities for next year. 

May 13–last teacher steering committee meeting for 2014-15 –The purpose is the thank those who were on this committee and touch base/listen to their perspective of the buildings from which they represent, what they think is necessary for next year to move forward.  We will share with them our “list” of what needs to happen and ask them for their “list” in order to bridge the perspectives to move forward with SOME implementation of SOME ideas for the 2015-16 year.


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