EdcampIS on March 4 at the Bryn Mawr School

Shannon Montague, Karen Blumberg, Chris Shriver, Peter Gow, Jonathan Martin, Tammy Rice, Jen Cort, Amanda Macomber, Kristen Kennedy, Molly Smith, Alex Northrup

What was a take-away from NAIS this year (#NAISac)?

Share a meaningful service project

Molly Smith of Friends School of Baltimore shared about notes she took from Lauryn Evans of Francis Parker (San Diego) presentation at NAIS

Kristen Kennedy went to a service learning presentation where students jump into different places in the community to learn/make change considering students and schools are often in a bubble. At Bryn Mawr School, 6th grade embarks on a unit, “How to build a better Baltimore?”

When learning is meaningful, it’s ever so much easier to get student buy-in

Peter Gow talked about a project, “The City at Night”. Kids drove around the city and learned out of school, and it was real and powerful.

Amanda Macomber shared about Youth Service Opportunities Project http://www.ysop.org/

Jen Cort shared about Martha’s Table in DC http://marthastable.org/ 

Jen - kids at Sidwell Friends had to go to “work camp” six times a year to perform service in some capacity as part of the Quaker tradition

“when you say it, you mean it” = “talk the talk, walk the walk”

A good school mission statement basically states “don’t be shitty”

Super valid to take kids on an outdoor ed. trips in the woods, kids go campings

Also super valid to take kids to the city and visited the towns around the woods

What’s it like for people who cannot/will not escape a city? What’s it like for people who cannot/ will not escape their village?

What is our expectation/definition of children “getting it”? Kids can really fully comprehend and apply grammar until college. Brain development, scope and sequence, multiple connections all sink in later. What we want them doing in college, how do we prepare them for that? (Backwards design!)

Montessori Age-Appropriate chores



Jen Cort (educational consultant) shared a quote she heard at Dr Woodbine’s presentation at the main stage “We need to wrestle with our external comforts and internal truths”


Tammy Rice (St. Paul’s School) talked about fair/unfair in terms of civil rights.

Peter Gow - how we get kids to be common engaged actors in the quest for justice/equity. Why does innovation always have to do with technology and gadgets?

Karen “maybe we can have a Director of Elevation as well as/in lieu of a Director of Innovation

Amanda and Molly says you create a course about equity/diversity/social justice course and how to be a practitioner.

Make room for it in the curriculum to promote and sustain institutional change

Chris - pointing students in charge of the course and leading it is the key. Have kids invested in meaningful conversations about diversity and equity. Let students teach the faculty what they’ve learned in a teach-in

When kids lead, they’re demonstrating how they want to teach and learn (student voice/student choice)

How to build a culture of innovation? - common vocabulary is key!

Do you drive the problem child or difficult family out, or wait for that “A-ha!” moment when they get it?

Need for cohesive and consistent conversations and messages

Amanda - we all have a different expectation about “education” and what schools are responsible for teaching. What is the definition of education, schooling?

Molly and Chris - there are pieces that should be “community learning opportunities” and if a message isn’t part of the culture of their home but will help the kids be better citizens, then the school may/should feel compelled to stand in and offer space for discussion and learning opportunities

Karen always says:

Peter Gow says that Emily Johns of Putney shared that the schools doing the work are the schools staying out ahead of the prevailing culture

Glenn Singleton of Pacific Educational Group “Courageous Conversations about Race”  If you can have a courageous conversation about race, you can have a conversation about anything. Glenn’s team came to Brearley...all fac/staff/admin attended PD.  Powerful just to hold this event.

Grant Wiggins is dead.  Grant Lichtman is alive.

Tara Kinsey (Head of School at Hewitt) tweeted about Susan Cain https://twitter.com/tara_kinsey/status/837411021417496577

Introverts need to learn public speaking; extroverts need to learn public listening. @susancain praises work of @StillWatersNews #nais2017

Ideas for having more meaningful conversations:

1. Stay engaged

2. Experience discomfort

3. Speak your truth

4. Expect and accept nonclosure http://www.uvm.edu/rsenr/nr6/Readings/The_Four_Agreements_of_Courageous_Conversations.pdf

Peter Gow’s Independent Curriculum Group (ICG)  http://independentcurriculum.org/

Tammy saw this in action in Kristen’s innovation space: Rocket Book Wave notebooks in action https://getrocketbook.com/

Reminded Karen of Livescribe pen and system https://www.livescribe.com/en-us/smartpen/

Reading/Watching list:


Brave New World

City of Ember

Plato’s Cave

Soylent Green

Karen’s blog post of the event: https://karenblumberg.wordpress.com/2017/03/04/edcampis-baltimore