I am currently cruising at an altitude of 35,000 feet and am surrounded by strangers, colleagues, and most importantly of all, the 2015 cohort of Education Innovation Fellows. We are on a mission to be inspired by school leaders, experts, researchers, and students who are leading the charge in the field of personalized and blended learning. Our secondary and equally important mission is to share our experiences with everyone back in D.C.—from family members to school leaders, colleagues, and anyone else who is searching for a way to provide a better learning experience for students.
This group of teachers has signed up for a year of discovery and an opportunity to better meet the needs of their students across all eight wards of Washington, D.C. The first third of our program year (January through April) is focused on exposing the Fellows to what is possible when you reimagine what classrooms can look like. This is why, for the next five days, we will speak with a handful of thought leaders (Gisele Huff of the Jacqueline Hume Foundation, Greg Klein of the Rogers Family Foundation, Shauntel Paulson of NewSchools Venture Fund, and Brian Greenberg of Silicon Schools Fund), demo five edtech products (NewsELA, Engrade, GameDesk, Zaption, and Nearpod), and visit ten schools across the Bay Area and Los Angeles:
- ASCEND Public School
- Epic Public School
- Rocketship Spark
- Summit Shasta
- KIPP Empower
- Aspire Gateway
- Aspire Firestone
- Saint Anne School
- USC Hybrid High School
- Alliance Tennenbaum Family Technology High School
Since December, our team has been planning every minute of this trip, from hotel reservations to facilitation guides for speakers to the meals that we will have across the week. You might think that I am already exhausted, but rather, I am more excited than ever! This year, we selected an all-star class of Fellows, and they have already set the bar high. Their thoughtfulness, humility, and passion for their students is tangible and quite contagious. Despite the rockstar lineup that we have for the week, I am most looking forward to connecting with each Fellow so that I can better understand what drives them to teach every day.
It is going to be an exciting and mind-blowing week. We invite you to follow this blog for an intimate view of our lightbulb moments, our frustrations, and our celebrations of success for the duration of the trip and the program year.
Lauren Bryant, Program Manager, Education Innovation Portfolio