One Day Down, a Lifetime of Innovation to Go!

I am currently sitting in my hotel room overwhelmed by our first day in California.  We started off the morning having Fellows design their ideal schools and identify what their personal and collective learning goals are.  In a short period of time, they were able to deeply articulate the needs of their students, schools, and communities.  They pushed the EIF team by asking challenging questions around implementation and realization.  These questions were so exciting because they illustrated that our Fellows are not here to simply theorize and dream; they are here to change the educational landscape in D.C. in a transformative way, and they want to start NOW!

After spending the morning context setting for the week, we hopped on the bus and rode over to the d.School at Stanford University.  Our hosts, Katie and Gabrielle, walked us through the design process, and by the end of the session, Fellows were already using the design process to address real issues that they are currently facing in their classrooms!  It was incredible to start seeing their mindsets and thinking patterns change on the very first day.

We had some incredible leadership stories interspersed throughout the day.  Emily Hueber, Diane Johnson, Adam Zimmerman, and Alex Brown really set the tone for leadership stories this year.  They were extremely personal, thoughtful, and inspiring.  I felt honored to be in a space where teachers who are just getting to know each other felt so comfortable being vulnerable around their peers and really speaking their truth because they trust that the visions and desires of the group are aligned.

I could really feel the energy today, and I am so pumped that I get to spend a year working closely with these incredible people.  These teachers are top-notch, and the possibilities are limitless for this cohort!  I am feeling reenergized and reminded of why we do this work every day.  Our Fellows are the future of innovative D.C. school models, and I feel blessed that I get to play a small part in that.  The week has only begun, and it just gets better from here!

Arielle Ford, Program Assistant, Education Innovation Portfolio
CityBridge Foundation


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