Friday, October 9, 2015

Bill Rich's Opening Volley

   I'm Bill Rich, Director of VT-BLTN. After teaching middle school for two years in Montpelier and high school for sixteen years in Colchester, I founded Red House Learning, committed to helping educators use what we know about the brain to inform what we do in the classroom.
    This year's kickoff attended to many of the lessons we learned last year about how to make an innovative, blended course like this work. Just consider what's in place now that wasn't last year at this time: job descriptions for the adults involved, a calendar forecasting the rhythm of the year, an on-line course platform in place, a website and a facebook page, student blogs, responders to students' blogs, and twice as many students, just to name a few! Tim did an outstanding job using this clarity to engage our adult team in leading different parts of our kickoff at Middlebury College. So great to see so many more people--students and adults--contributing to this exciting effort.
     My top three ah-has so far this year: 1) The success of last year's students made it easy to fill up this year's course; students can spread good news quickly! 2) Great ideas need a system and infrastructure in order to bloom. 3) We have a terrific and deep team this year.
     My wonders: 1) How do we ensure that students experience the right amount of independence and structure? 2) How do we proceed in ways that make sure that what we're designing is replicable in schools? 3) Do we want, and are we ready, to have 100 students next year?

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