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Day 1: Neil Stephenson, District Principal of Innovation and Inquiry (SD37)

September 5, 2012
Welcome to Delta School District’s 180 Days of Learning Blog!

What is this website?

The basic idea is very simple – a blog where each day of the school year (hence the 180 days title) someone shares their ideas about our Bold Vision. This will be a place where anyone from the Delta School District – students, teachers, principals, coordinators, facility staff, technology support, district staff, parents – can have a platform to talk about their own learning, curiosities or passions, and how they are seeing Delta’s Vision come to life.

We know there is incredible teaching and learning going on in our schools and we want to hear about it. The 180 Days of Learning project will provide a vehicle for sharing both across the district and beyond. Potential blog post topics are endless – it might be an engaging project you’ve been involved with, a book or website you’ve read, a piece of technology you’re interested in, or a great story of connection and relationship building. It might be a completed project, an idea you have, or a curiosity or wondering you are exploring.

Why this initiative?

• A great deal of educational research supports personal reflection as one of the key elements in engaged learning. This project allows for public reflection on learning by all roles in the district.

• Part of our Bold Vision speaks about innovation and risk taking. Being willing to write a blog post for this project means taking the risk to share your own thoughts, ideas or experiences with others for the benefit of others in the district.

• It provides an authentic audience for student writing. If you already blog with your students, why not send a few examples in for the 180 Days blog? Feel free to use projects or assignments you are already using in class.

• We believe the best school districts value learning and curiosity above all else. This blog will be a record of our collective learning journey and will support our vision of district wide learning and inquiry.

• Classroom projects and examples of student learning on the blog will help facilitate sharing of innovative teaching and learning practices across our schools. Everyone (not just those who publish) will be able to read what’s happening in other schools.

• Delta is not the first school district to set up a 180 Days of Learning Blog. The project started with a few schools in Atlanta a couple years ago and last year spread to Alberta. Since other school districts are participating, our journey can be shared with other school districts engaged in similar projects.

How to get involved?

If you are interested – be sure to check out the blog: http://www.180daysoflearning.com. On this site, click on ‘Write for the 180 project’ for all of the information you need to sign-up.

The possibilities are endless! There are only two limits:

1) Length: blog posts can be a maximum of 300 words. We aren’t looking for lengthy essays. And they don’t have to be text only. Your story can be audio, video, examples of student work, etc.
2) Purpose: the overall goal is to share our collective thoughts, progress and journey towards achieving the Delta Vision. We are looking for blog posts that tie into the overall theme of the Vision – a Leading District for Innovative Teaching and Learner Success.

We believe there will be a great number of fantastic outcomes from this project, but it needs the support of many people around the district. Be sure to submit early; there are only 180 spots to fill.

We look forward to your posts – and check back regularly to keep up to date on our learning journey!

And please feel free to comment below!

Neil recently moved to the beautiful west coast as District Principal of Innovation and Inquiry. Before that he spent many cold winters in Calgary, the last 8 of which he worked at the Calgary Science School where he taught, coached, and generally lived and breathed inquiry-based teaching and learning.

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