Thursday, April 9, 2015

Community Building: Innovation Roundup

In his book, Building Community in Schools, Thomas Sergiovanni says: "The need for community is universal. A sense of belonging, of continuity, of being connected to others and to ideas and values that make our lives meaningful and significant - these are the needs shared by all of us." Schools must develop a community of mind that bonds them together in a special way and binds them to a shared ideology. The quest to become a purposeful community takes care, cultivation and consideration. At The Ellis School, we are building and strengthening a community of amazing educators that seeks to increase the sense of kinship and professional community. People relate to each other to reach some goal, to gain some benefit and finding that perfect balance that supports community takes work. The community of mind that students and teachers share has as its center the importance of providing students with intellectually challenging rigorous academic experience that make them resourceful lifeline learners (Sergiovanni, 41). 

One way we promote a sense of community at Ellis is around interdisciplinary project-based learning with active learning at its core. Teams of teachers from multiple disciplines have developed new courses, curriculum and design challenges across our school. Becoming a learning community where members are committed to thinking, growing and inquiring and where "learning is for everyone" is an attitude as well as an activity - innovation flourishes. Inquiring communities are where administration and faculty are committed to the spirit of collective inquiry as they reflect on their practice and search for solutions to problems together. Check out a sampling of the innovative projects faculty working on together to build a community of inquiry. These projects or courses were presented as a way to build our purposeful community together. 

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