Parent Back to School Night Brain Dump Page (PBTSN)
Feel free to use this space to ask and answer questions, share ideas, push back around this concept. To tentatively sign up to hold a PBTSN “Meet Up” please fill out this form.
See an idea you like? Hate? Don't understand? Add a + or - or ? to the end of any given entry.
- Would we want to have one standard presentation/program that every location would show? ++++-- +++++++++++
- Good idea, but how do we produce it?
- A focus and common resources would be helpful for participants
- I think a “common core” message with the ability to customize for our specific needs would be better.+ (focus on common big ideas, essential questions, not standardized program)
- At least the same big ideas and common messages
- I still think we need some customization for local initiatives+
- yes a video clip, but perhaps send it ahead of time and encourage a family conversation so parents can come in prepared. I like this idea but not all parents might be able to access this.
- I think a standard presentation is a good idea; pre-recorded, maybe a 7 minute introductory video that could be followed by discussion, then 3 separate 5-7 minute keynotes or discussions or videos that could also be discussed. This provides for some “quality control” and stops the meeting from becoming just another extension of a school board meeting.
- I lived in a crowded suburb; school districts are literally on top of one another; I think it may be useful to hold a “combined” event of 5 towns so we get a crowd of 100+ people, to create some real energy. Also re-emphasizes that this is a national movement, and not “let’s rip the superintendent” or someone’s platform to announce they are running for school board.
- How are we going to agree on one message? I don’t think we can totally - a private school message will be different than a public than a charter in some ways. In other ways, there will be agreement. If we keep the larger message about the need to change the perception and reality about the role of schools or creating life long learners in a digital age, then the message could work for everyone. I believe one clear message is important and it should be articulated in one sentence. Whether the school is private, public, or a charter there must be authentic learning going on. Our students and our communities would benefit from schools that are using the resources at hand to prepare young people to manage the community. Our community is changing as well because we are connected to Main St. and the whole world. I agree that one message is important yet the details can be customized depending on your particular school situation.I think we have to agree on the big ideas and key messages, not necessarily the delivery It’s important to offer a range of perspectves. I think that there are universal. common messages that cross the lines of private/public schools; afterall, we are all trying to engage in the same core conversation.
- YES, this precisely captures the problem with the current discussion dominated by the Gates/Rhee crowd. At Educon, the keynote speaker was a deputy superintendent in Philadelphia who spoke of 70,000 empty seats, students on hour-long bus rides across the city to find the classes they want, and the need to literally knock down buildings. We had educators from NYC, a system with 1.1 million students who speak scores of languages. The problems of these two systems are vastly different than the problems experienced by the attendees I met from North Dakota, North Carolina, Missouri, Iowa, Nebraska, Canada, etc. Yet we see Rhee and Jeb Bush speaking about how to fix “THE education system” - as though it were one monolith, rather than tens of thousands of individual systems across the county and world with some common problems and some unique problems. So we don’t pretend to have THE ONE FIX - but we put forth a set of principles that do apply to every school; someone suggested the principles behind #educon as a starting point, and I think it is a good one.
- Would this just end up being a local gripe session? Give them the opportunity to gripe in a separate forum, possibly one that we create online How do we stay on message? Design the delivery of the message meaningfully. Parents like to see their kids engaged,the like to hear them talking about what they are passionate about learning. I would use video, student work/presenters, question and answer period...a few brave teachers to demonstrate project based learning etc. You need to use strong protocols so that the conversation stays on track. Just allowing parents to come in and gripe is really not productive.
- Are we listening to them or talking to them?? Both ....maybe send how a KWL type questionaire prior to the meeting...organize thoughtful answers into your presentation We should be listening to them. They know their student and their community. A Paideia seminar format where participants focus on a “text” (could be print, video, art piece, case study, etc.) might work well. This group here could plan the questions, but leave the discussion up to the participants. Suggest questions centered around students. Potential text suggestion: Minnesota New Country School’s student-produced “Mummified Chickens, Mutant Frogs and Rockets to the Moon” http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=7693959170730516557&hl=en# We could ask questions like, “What sounds good about this approach?” “Do you think you would like to be a student in this school?” etc., etc. Both! Setting up a session similar to this particular one allows parents to hear a message, then have time to collaborate and discuss. Parent and student voice is essential. Always have to listen if you want people to change.
- (added 1/31 - had to leave early!) We have to focus the parents first. Help them discover what we already know. A successful lead in I have used is to start with a think pair share on Powerful Learning. Ask them to think about their own most powerful learning experiences - whether it be in Kindergarten, High School, College - or informal learning. Then,small groups share their experiences, with the task of charting the common elements.As you can imagine - they are the same every time and probably can be linked to our common core beliefs about education. I have used Wallwisher to share in the past. Here is the result from our District Accountability Committee: http://www.wallwisher.com/wall/d20powerfullearning A Google Doc like this would work as well. (@NancyW)
- Can we produce a common message and then personalize for our location Paideia seminar helps do both. Yes.. Think along the lines of companies..they produce a product then market it to target communities..
- Does there need to be a separate focus on minority parents? I feel they will be a critical piece of gaining transformation mass....
Please include ALL parents without distinction because all parents have the same basic desire for their student to succeed. I agree ...remember that at the core, this is about the kids not the parents necessarily.
- Will this be set up as a conference or a collegial circle atmosphere? Or both? I think a collegial circle
- Will this be a one day event or two day, similar to Educon? One, parents have limited time. I think one but perhaps some followup for parents who are interested in a deeper conversation. There are many parents working in tech savvy environments who can be allies and supporters of the ideas and messages that we craft.
- Would there be a keynote? I think it would be best to have a keynote
- Would there be a proposal form for parents/teachers/admins that want to facilitate sessions? Yes...Absolutely and one for students willin to demo
- Make a video that captures the “new story”+++
- We’d need to script it; ++ I think the biggest challenge may be to make a strong enough case for WHY; how do you get people to see that? Using student work!
- Opportunity to get kids involved++ Highly recommend student involvement Ditto and presentation+ Showing work, and involving parents using the kinds of tools that we want them to visualize their kids using and creating with - this is crucial; otherwise you go back to everyone’s shared experience and understanding of school, which is the old paradigm that people are attempting to change.
- I absolutely think we could/should get kids involved - strong message + I think, though, in some areas a preliminary step might be to find a group of students w/i a school or district who might not be satisfied or well-served. In some cases kids do not know what they do not know; they accept the current structure because it is comfortable; same with many parents.
- Make a parent Ning to continue the conversation Yes but keep in mind some parents are not Ning savy
- Use facebook. Using anything else wont work.+++ Not everyone is on Facebook
- What if we use a similar model to TEDx? Have one or two videos that everyone shares but then each location addresses local or specific needs in small presentations - perhaps live. +++
- I think we need to share some information (the telling part) but I think we have to make it clear that we are open to hearing from parents (solutions, ideas - not gripes) + +++ ++++ (But it needs to be a 2-way conversation, not just listening to parents, but helping parents hear educators. Many of us are both, anyway.) I agree, I like the JFK RULE “Ask not what your school can do for you but rather what can aspire to do together”
- Would it be useful to use the opportunity to collect data from parents? For example about what priorities they have for the mission of our school And how do they see their children growing as global citizens
- From my experience, parents who have not had opportunities to discuss need several sessions before they begin to open up and share. The first first few live meetings can be a little difficult but then it gets better. Having something like a video and other materials with some guidance available ahead of time for parents to view and reflect on will help them prepare for a live discussion with one another.
- Set up a CoveritLive for participant that are verbally silent, but have comments to share (We’ll have to encourage these parents to bring laptops and teach them how to use the program or others)
- Have to ask ourselves what other means of communication will we use? How will we communicate to the parents who were not able to make it? How do we continue conversation and involve other (I see ideas around this) I would video to provide for future viewing for parents that could not come
- Use clickers in the audience to gather real time data
- The more modeling of engaging inspired learning, the better!
- i suggest local meetups previous to the event - one week each month - ie: seth godin’s , then by the time the event comes.. we’ve got some parents thinking about possibilities/potential - and sharing that with others, in the grocery store at the soccer game. and we have some great feedback for the event. maybe a video we share at the event are the parents, spliced together from all the local meetings, sharing voices. personally - i think the story we have is- we can now facilitate individual definitions of success in public school. so the questions/local conversations would be prompting parents to notice rather than assume, to dream boldly, to connect to others so the boldness spreads, and then - to take action. what if the spliced video showed, the infinite ways we all define success - then the meeting could reinforce that notion and explain how that can now happen. how we can now facilitate success per person. that it’s no longer ridiculous. that assuming the same success for all is what is standing in the way. Kate Fridkis is a great resource for gracefully sharing the options we have as learners - could be a great resource for leading the pre-event meet ups.
- what if we create a fact sheet of sorts about college admissions (since that’s a huge road block in most parent’s minds). what if we gather/unearth all the unis that seek out home-schoolers and such for their inquisitive, self-directed style. all the unis that have an alternate means of admission already in place (mostly thanks to home/un-schoolers), ones that don’t include gpa/act/sat, but rather eportfolios. that should help increase the boldness of some parents, and might even help some unis rethink their admissions. help from http://diyubook.com/ - - maybe even have Anya speak.
Thoughts from group in session (@jonbecker, @samorra, @butwait, Rick Alfonso (Flint HS, VA), Melissa Scott (Flint HS, VA), Maryann Molishus (@maryannm), Yenche):
Might be better not to come in w/ too much of a pre-set message that we’re “preaching”... can we model an inclusive “we want to hear what you think” conversation?
@willrich45 Michelle Rhee has a message... we need to have something that can push back.
What about the EduCon axioms:
- Our schools must be inquiry-driven, thoughtful and empowering for all members
- Our schools must be about co-creating — together with our students — the 21st Century Citizen
- Technology must serve pedagogy, not the other way around
- Technology must enable students to research, create, communicate and collaborate
- Learning can — and must — be networked
- Learning must be results driven -- measured to be sure we are producing successful learners. Agreed upon measurement tool(s) must be used. (That’s not one of the axioms.)
We need irrefutable language, ala Rhee’s... “We want all students to succeed”? “We believe that learning should be student-centered.”
Does the mission and vision of most of our schools/districts fit with the above? If not, will the inclusion of these ideas work?
Student work is the thing that traditionally gets parents to come to the school... something like a trailer? Put out a call to students for submissions along a central theme... so could we have one common video to use as a jumping off point.
“We care about education” “Why do you care about education?” Then everyone can put a their post-it’s on a wall.
Thinking about it from a reverse engineering perspective.. what can we do to get people enter into conversations ala Race to Nowhere, Waiting for Superman...
People might come around ideas of a challenge to engage, or a vision to coalesce around.
Examples of recent large-scale “movement-oriented” events, ala Hands Across America, Day in the Life video, or a giant Eluminate session, turning out your lights for an hour, Pay It Forward Day?
Does it need to be synchronous? Not necessarily. But it would be cool to have that capability in cases in which that was possible.+ Very cool if it could be synchronous!
What are our long-term goals? Is this just going to be a one-time thing? Do we ask people to aim to leave w/ an action plan?
Has anyone seen http://parentsacrossamerica.org/ ?
Logistics--What will it look like?
Face to face but smaller, so break a large assembly into classrooms.
Math discussion about 10 people bringing 1, 100 bringing 10
“National Talk about Schools Week”
Get a (or many) spokesperson
At the core, there is/are a high quality multimedia product(s) that could go viral and that a kid would show to their parents
Make it an all-day event that kids could watch and participate in class during the day, then a follow up back to school night event with parents
Definitely get kids involved
Kids talking about how they learn best
kids help craft the message
Parents may want different things
The Harvard problem leads to short-sightedness
Ten or fifteen minutes of this is global and then the rest is local
Advance preparation during, just before, or “sent” ahead of time with encouragement to have a “family conversation”
Is it necessary to do this face-to-face?
Adaptable - different populations have to feel represented and invloved - minimize “Yeah, but” factor
Ideas for Spreading the Word
Make it a curricular item to take a message and make it national issue
Reach out to other organizations: Change.org, Parents Across America, there is one in Connecticut.
Something like the One.org campaign “We don’t want your money- we just want your voice.” I like this idea a lot!
What Happens After
Facebook because that’s where the parents are
What did you learn by participating?
What did you learn by participating?
What’s the message?
Have conversation locally and ask parents/kids, “What would they like for their children?”
You know the world has changed. Schools haven’t. What do you want to do about it?
The purpose of school is different. How can we redefine the purpose of school?
Exposure to good things
“30 million students dropped out of school last year. Most of them weren’t failing. The schools failed, not the students.”