Monday, June 26, 2017

Sabbatical Implications for HPSS - Part 1 - Strong Affirmations

What Are The Implications for Hobsonville Point Secondary School?
During my sabbatical I attempted to visit schools that would challenge my thinking and provide direction for further development and innovation for our school. In choosing the schools I consulted with Grant Lichtman, an internationally recognised thinker on innovative schooling, colleagues who had visited schools for the same reason as me, and searched lists such as “100 Most Innovative Schools”.

While my thinking was challenged in many ways, I cannot escape the conclusion that our school is at the leading edge of innovation. What was most pleasing was that the principles that we had decided on to drive learning design - Innovate by Personalising Learning, Engage through Powerful Partnerships, Inspire With Deep Challenge and Inquiry - were very similar to the common principles I saw in the schools I visited - Personalisation, Authenticity, Connection, Inquiry.

Our school is still very early in its development journey and we are certainly disrupting the conventional schooling model. The affirmations I received do provide the confidence to continue  to build on our foundations and to persist with our approach to learning design. This view was reinforced by a staff member’s comment on one of my recent blog posts:

This "They could then invite students to suggest which example of migration from across history, or in the present, they (individuals, small groups) would like to explore to increase their understanding of this concept." is very motivating for students I believe. This term we have had students carry out the generic research process into a biological issue. This started broadly with students collectively exploring what makes something an issue in general, with examples and some debate, ultimately ending in a challenge of could there actually ever be anything that wasn't an issue or potentially an issue!! Students were then given a very large list of biological concepts and ideas and were able to pick one of these or some other of their own design, in which they were intensely interested, to research. This is a Q1 course with students being assessed on their biological understanding of the issue (for bio) and also their research capabilities (for eng and bio). The teaching and learning and assessment of these ideas have been carried out over a period of 6-7 weeks, with multiple checkpoints along the way. We insisted that the students chose something they were intensely interested in, so they felt motivated to manage their time effectively throughout this extended time and work purposefully throughout. Anecdotal student voice around this suggests that students have enjoyed having choice in what they are researching and have been motivated to continue through the process. Currently students are seeking feedback on their work...I am pushing them to add more depth and to refine for deeper understanding. Students think this is to ensure they meet the standard at Level 1. Ha...some of the work is what I would have seen from L3 students in the past.... So choice, I believe is intensely motivating, as is investigating into something that an individual is intensely interested in. Previously in another school the bio is taught and assessed in one context only eg should NZ use 1080? Fine if this floats your boat but not fine if you are not interested in this particularly. Students in this class have chosen topics such as "Should we be concerned about the bees?", "Should abortion be funded by the state?", "Should smoking be banned?" "Should society allow designer babies?", "Why is ocean acidification a problem?", "What is the impact of endangered animal trafficking?, "What is the impact of habitat destruction?", "What is bioaccumulation?", "Is Donald right about global warming? and so on....I am really looking forward to finding out what the students have found out!!

In an earlier blog post I published a draft Elevator Statement in an attempt to capture the essence of what I found was common across the innovative schools that I visited. This is what I came up with:

If we want learning to be personalised, authentic, and connected and to be preparing students for their lives in the 21st century, learning must be centred on high-interest projects, drawing on a range of specialist subjects, with opportunities for hands-on application and partnering with the community. There should be a genuine outcome from the learning and students must be partners in designing the learning.

After writing this I revisited the Elevator Statement that we wrote in December 2014 in an attempt to capture the particular essence of our school:

The HPSS model of learning truly engages learners by drawing on their interests and has deep challenge and inquiry at its centre at a time when our country and world need people who are engaged learners, able to work in teams of diverse people, solve complex problems and who enhance their own well-being by contributing strongly to the betterment of their communities.

While there are many similarities, I like, in the more recent iteration, the more overt statement of connected learning (“drawing on a range of specialist subjects”), the partnering with the community, rather than “contributing to the betterment of the community”, and the identification that “students must be partners in designing the learning”.

A further area of affirmation was for the work we are doing in developing a dispositional curriculum. All schools had a form of Learning Advisory (ours is known as Learning Hubs) but none had the same allocation of time or the planning scaffolds and rigour that we are working on developing. Any investigation of the way to best prepare young people for their rapidly changing world identifies the importance of certain dispositions.

As well, while I saw processes of learning design, time did not allow me to delve deeply into each school’s model. I did come away proud of our model. The way our Learning Design Model drives Learning Objectives linked to each Learning Area’s key concepts, skills and content and draws on student voice to determine learning contexts which all determines the framework for identifying progression is sound and rigorous.

Teaching as Inquiry is second-nature in New Zealand schools and it drives teachers to continually inquire into our practice and to be continually asking about our impact on student learning. My main focus during my visits was on cross-curricular, inquiry learning, and I did not come across a similar emphasis on teaching as inquiry during my visits,  which is not to say it was not there. School leaders I met with were impressed with our model of critical friend and spirals of inquiry.


  • Work collaboratively with a range of groups to design an amended Elevator Statement that captures the essence of what sets Hobsonville Point Secondary School apart.
    • Use this work as a platform to work with BOT to revisit Charter
  • Continue the ground-breaking work on developing the dispositional curriculum so it is very clearly part of the learning “we do around here.”
  • Keep our Learning Design Model at the centre of teacher and student collaborative design processes and activities.
  • Ensure the teaching as inquiry processes are resourced so that they continue to be central to teacher development and growth.

In my next post I will present what elements I see as ongoing challenges for us and areas on which we might need more focus to continue our development.

Monday, June 19, 2017

What Could Schools Do To Promote Personalisation and Authenticity

In this next post on my sabbatical I provide suggestions on what schools could do to explore PBL and make learning more personalised and authentic and forming connections between learning areas.

What Could Existing Schools Do To Reflect These Principles?

  • Explore models of Project-based learning. A clear model that all staff understand and commit to and through which students are scaffolded is essential to provide rigour and prevent low quality experiences and outcomes. The following links could be a good place to start:
  • Make every effort to provide opportunities for learning to be connected across subjects. Even with a traditional, single-subject timetable it’s not difficult to change mindsets and school practices to enable students to establish connections.
    • Schools could start by determining common themes that could drive learning contexts across the whole school or particular year levels. This would, at least, allow all subjects to connect to the common theme.
      Grade level Themes at SLA
    • Meeting structures could be turned on their head and regular meetings for the common teachers of each class to discuss how learning could be connected across more than one subject. Students could work on high-interest projects which they have had a say in creating in classes timetabled for 2 or 3 of their subjects. Completing one piece of work, drawing on several subjects and being supported by several teachers will not only result in a quality outcome and deeper learning, but reduce workload for students and for  teachers. Perhaps Departments could be required to find times to run their meetings when necessary, rather than having them scheduled. This reinforces that the focus in our school is on collaborative practice rather than subject silos.
  • Teachers in all classes could share with their students the responsibility of determining the context in which learning could take place. Teachers would still take responsibility for developing the important learning/achievement objectives but invite students to be design partners in determining the context.
    • Rather than informing a class that they are studying Migration and that they would do this by learning about Victorian English people and their migration to and settling in New Zealand, a Social Studies teacher could explore with students the concept of Migration and establish its worthiness of study. They could then invite students to suggest which example of migration from across history, or in the present, they (individuals, small groups) would like to explore to increase their understanding of this concept. Teachers and students would design activities together which allowed the important learning objectives to be met.
  • Wherever possible, provide multiple opportunities for students to provide evidence of their learning.
    • If all students have to write an essay to show their understanding of an important science concept, then those who are poor essay writers will not do well, despite perhaps having a high level of understanding of the science concept. As long as the learning objectives can be met allow students to show their understanding, whether it be by essay, piece of art, spoken word etc.
  • Include some contact or experience with the community or expertise from beyond the school in all planning of learning programmes.
    • At the very least, this could be a guest speaker/facilitator but can include off-site visits, individual/small group mentor relationships, on-line communication and connection with expertise, or a client relationship.
  • Encourage the public sharing and discussion of student work.
    • At the very least, this could be presenting findings back to the class with high expectations of how to make a quality presentation and how to provide quality feedback but can include presenting to students from outside the class or at another school, parents, and mentors and clients who have been involved in the learning.
    • Think about where these presentations should take place.The school might be appropriate but so might a community space (library, parks, malls), a conference or place of work.

I hope these suggestions show how schools, no matter their context, can bring life to the principles of personalisation, authenticity, connection and collaboration.

Friday, June 16, 2017

Principles in Practice - Observations from Sabbatical

In this post I try to capture how each school brought to life the principles of personalisation, authenticity and connectedness. I conclude with an elevator statement that captures what is common across the schools.

How Do These Principles Play Out In Practice?
All schools saw a type of project-based learning, with learning connected across a high interest project, as the best vehicle to bring all of their learning design principles to fruition. All believed this led to more engagement and deeper learning.

A range of practices that were driven by personalisation was evident across all schools. The most common approach was to give students choice. At DesignTech High School 2 full days were dedicated to students selecting appropriate Labs. Teachers could use the LMS to direct students to compulsory Labs or students could select the Design Garage (Maker Space), Office Hours (individual or small group access to a teacher, independent work or Fitness.

At NYC iSchool students from all grade levels can take whatever ‘Elective’ which was appropriate to their interest, resulting in Grade 9 - 12 students in the same class.

All schools gave opportunities for students to use multiple ways to evidence learning. There were very few times when all students in a programme had to produce the exact same assessment.
Authenticity was achieved in each school in similar ways. They all ran programmes that were centred around high-interest projects and involved learning by doing. Students work on real-world problems and pose and/or tackle big questions. All schools required students to have some form of public presentation of much of their work and most schools ran an internship programme with whole school or certain year levels out of school.

The connectedness nature of learning was apparent in a number of ways. At High Tech High because the same group of students had the same teachers for all of their subjects the teachers would collaborate and support students to complete their projects across two subjects. Examples are described in this blog post.

At DesignTech they suspend their timetable for two weeks 4 times per year. During this time, known as d.lab, students opt to work on a solution to a real world problem, drawing on a range of subject disciplines.

During 2 days a week at Nueva High School students opt into a range of labs where they have opportunities to pursue their passions in a multi-disciplinary project.

The common feature across all schools was that student inquiry and a rigorous process of project-based learning underpinned the learning model.

  • At NYC iSchool their Challenge-based Modules (1 per term) had students focusing on real world challenges so they could build their understanding of big ideas and broad global concepts. It was their view that this allowed for the development and application of 21st century skills.
  • At the Science Leadership Academy all courses had students involved in inquiry learning and completing projects that they co-construct with each other and their teachers. This school followed Wiggins Model of Understanding by Design.
  • At High Tech High project-based learning was at the core of all learning programmes. Here they followed the Stanford model (Empathise, Define, Ideate, Test).
  • Inquiry-based and project-based learning was also at the centre at Nueva High School. Following rigorous design thinking processes students become active participants in learning, identifying solutions where they can make changes for the better while developing the personal and collaborative tools to take action.
  • At DesignTech students used a project-based  learning approach, supported by design thinking, to work on local and global challenges, research real problems and develop authentic solutions.

My Elevator Statement

If we want learning to be personalised, authentic, and connected and to be preparing students for their lives in the 21st century, learning must be centred on high-interest projects, drawing on a range of specialist subjects, with opportunities for hands-on application and partnering with the community. There should be a genuine outcome from the learning and students must be partners in designing the learning.

Other Observations (some still to be explored)

  • A clear set of principles needs to drive learning design and learning decisions.
  • Maker Spaces are key spaces in schools
  • Build in time in weekly schedule where students have responsibility to make good decisions and self-regulate. Do not water this down to the lowest common denominator as the majority of students will miss out because of the few who cannot self-regulate.
  • A learning design model is vital in providing frameworks and rigour, but students (and staff) must be scaffolded through to be comfortable within that framework.
  • Students don’t need an adult in front of them supervising their learning at all times. Some learning can be a blend of teacher and on-line learning (Language learning at NYC iSchool) or of teacher and un-supervised sessions.
  • Restorative practices that develop trust and responsibility and require empathy and self-regulation support the development of vital 21st century dispositions.
  • Internships and externships provide wonderful opportunities for authenticity in student learning.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Common Principles That Guide The Design of Learning in Furure-Focused Schools

What I Discovered From My Visits on Sabbatical

The purpose of my school visits was to find out if the principles that drove the design of learning in other innovative, future-focused schools were similar.

Please access a fuller blog post for each of the schools:

I’ll attempt to provide some observations by referring to my three focusing questions.

What Principles Have Guided The Design of Learning?
  • Learning should be personalised
“At DesignTech, we believe that students are most successful when their education is personalised to their needs, and they are asked to use their knowledge to improve the world around them.”
“High Tech High teachers practice a learner-centred, inclusive approach that supports and challenges each student. Students pursue their passions through projects, and reflect on their learning.”
  • Learning should be authentic
“At Nueva, Learn by Doing, Learn by Caring permeates everything we do. Nueva teachers craft curricula that enables students to bring classroom learning to life by designing original experiments, running simulations, and solving real-world problems.”
“The NYC iSchool program is designed to offer students opportunities to engage in meaningful work that has relevance to them and the world.”
“[At High Tech High] students engage in work that matters to them, to their teachers, and to the world outside of school.”
  • Learning should be connected
“High Tech High school projects integrate hands and minds and incorporate inquiry across multiple disciplines, leading to the creation of meaningful and beautiful work.”
“With a focus on developing collaborative and cross-disciplinary thinking, the curriculum is designed to engage students in finding and developing their passions.”
  • Learning and design of learning should involve collaboration (between teachers and with students).
“High Tech High teachers collaborate to design curriculum and projects … while seeking student experience and voice. With students as design partners, staff function as reflective practitioners.”
  • Learning should address dispositional development.
“We [] also believe that students must learn not only academic skills such as literacy and mathematics, but the transferable success skills of collaboration and persistence.”
“[Nueva High School] gives students essential tools that enable them to: develop ability to self-regulate, managing their attention, focus and learning; take risks that enhance their growth, both personally and academically; overcome setbacks, both big and small; develop supportive relationships and embrace diversity; collaborate successfully.”

Why Were These Principles Decided Upon?
Julie Abraham from DesignTech High School spoke of her experience in previous, more traditional schools where she witnessed stressed students, university dropouts, conflicted parents, subject siloisation and conveyor belt schooling. She used the analogy of students as cyclists biking faster and faster, competing with the rest of the field, but getting no nearer the finishing line.

Davion from The Nueva High School shared with me that universities had been telling them too many students arrive without being able to write competently, having mental health issues (anxiety around schooling) and little resilience and self-regulation.

Isora Bailey from NYC iSchool was adamant that high school could no longer be about learning a defined set of concepts - that high school for the 21st century needed to emphasise the learning process and thinking skills.

At Nueva, as at all schools, it is a recognition that the rapidly changing world requires a different curriculum:
Our inquiry-based curriculum develops students who are resilient, thoughtful leaders and collaborators with robust problem-solving skills, and the creativity required for success in a rapidly changing global environment.”

Chris, at The Science Leadership Academy, was of the view that deeper learning required subjects to be viewed as lenses and not as silos. Students saw learning as more relevant when it was connected across learning disciplines.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

First Musings on Sabbatical Visits

After the privilege and excitement of traveling and visiting schools that have held my interest for several years I am now attempting to make sense of what I have experienced to see what this means for my own school. As well, I am hopeful that other schools may see some way forward from my findings.

My Understanding of Future-Focused Schooling
I am often challenged as to why there is a need for a major transformation of secondary schooling.  Many still believe the current model is the best and that with some tweaking it can continue to serve our young people well. I have the view that the world is vastly different from when the current model was designed and rapid change fuelled by the technological and knowledge revolutions will continue. The problems and issues that the world is facing now and will face in the future are complex and require new ways of thinking and working. I believe schools have a vital role to play in helping young people explore the new ways of thinking and working.

All of the schools I visited spoke of the need for transformation in education. Leaders in these schools all believed the traditional model were beset with stressed students, over-worked staff, university dropouts, conflicted parents, subject siloisation and conveyor belt schooling. Julie Abraham, from DesignTech School. used the analogy of students as cyclists biking faster and faster, competing with the rest of the field, but getting no nearer the finishing line.

My own inquiries and experiences over the last 5 years in leading the establishment of Hobsonville Point Secondary School have led me to a set of principles that need to be evident in learning and learning design so that learning is both engaging and relevant.

Learning Needs To Be Connected
Learning is about making connections between what is known and what is being learned. When we teach subjects in silos we reduce dramatically the likelihood of forming links with other subjects; links which can deepen our understanding and increase the likelihood of relevance for the learner. When students can draw on a range of disciplines, including the related knowledge and skills that each learning area possesses, they are more likely to deepen their understanding of a particular concept.

Learning Needs To Be Co-constructed
For students to be engaged in learning they have to feel a connection. The last thing they need is to feel they are part of a mass production line, learning the same material at the same time and pace as everyone else and having the learning context determined, usually by a teacher, without any input from them. For learning to be relevant and engaging for our diverse learners we must invite them into the conversation that determines the learning contexts. This does not mean we as teachers abdicate responsibility for ensuring coverage of important concepts, skills and knowledge.

Learning Needs To Be Collaborative
Having the ability to work in teams of diverse people and to have well-developed interpersonal skills are vital. These are the key skills students require now to be effective in the workforce. It must be the norm in schools to have students learning in teams and growing their interpersonal skills.

At Hobsonville Point Secondary School we have embedded these ideas of connectedness, co-construction and collaboration in our three principles of personalised learning, powerful partnerships and deep challenge and inquiry.

The purpose of my school visits was to find out if the principles that drove the design of learning in other innovative, future-focused schools were similar.

What I Discovered From My Visits
Please access a fuller blog post for each of the schools:

My next post will summarise  the learning design principles I came across in these visits.

Friday, May 26, 2017

NYC iSchool - final school visit

It says Chelsea Vocational College but nyc ischool is the 4th and 5th story

Top 2 floors are nyc ischool
I must admit I was disappointed with Andrew Little's automatic, knee-jerk opposition to the concept of  "urban schools" that Nikki Kaye floated soon after I set off on my sabbatical travels. The 2 schools I have enjoyed the most on this trip have been so called  urban schools that operate on some of the floors of an existing office building in urban areas with ready access to transport, parks and libraries etc (in fact everything an urban centre has). Schooling needs innovative, ''out of the box" thinking to return to being relevant, not automatic oppostional positions by politicians. I hope someone in Labour thinks  more deeply about this concept. Give me an urban office building packed full of effective pedagogy and a relevant engaging curriculum any day!

I spent almost 2 hours with the very busy, but welcoming and wonderful Isora Bailey, Principal of NYC iSchool.

This school has been operating for 11 Years with Isora as Principal for the last 5. As she took me through the principles that drove their learning design I was impressed with her openness about what was working well, what needed improvement and what were the biggest challenges.

She started by sharing the "Big Rocks", or Pillars, which underpin learning design and drove all decisions in the same way "Innovate, Engage and Inspire" does at our school.

The foundations for their pillars (Real World Relevance, Choice and Responsibility, and Developmentally Appropriate) are familiar themes in schools that aspire to be more relevant for young people.

Students at each Grade Level take 5 Core Experience courses and 1 Module per quarter when they reselect a new set (this happens each quarter). 

Core Experiences
The lower grade levels have more compulsory Core Experience Courses but as they move up through the grades they have more freedom to choose. Core Experience Courses are usually, but not always, provided to a set grade level. At Freshman level the course titles all begin with "ï" and across the 4 quarters cover i learn, i research, i analyse, i argue. An example of a Freshaman English Course which goes for a quarter is iAnalyse and its course description is:

In the second quarter, students will read, compare, and analyze a selection of fiction and non-fiction literature, focusing on how the author develops the theme and/or central idea through the text's structure, development, and order of ideas. Students will also address various methods of constructing an argument in their own writing. Students will continue with the theme they selected for their first quarter iLearn course.

Included in the Core Experiences are an offering of Electives, mostly open to all grades (some have prerequisites) that a student can select once they have included their compulsory courses. An example of a Science one is  "Physics of Super Heroes" and its description is:

Physics of Super Heroes is designed to have students ask questions about the physical reality of comic books such as: can spider silk really support the weight of Spiderman as he swings from building to building; how much food would the Flash need to eat to be able to run as quickly as he does; how would Superman be able to leap over buildings in a single bound? Through answering these and other questions students will learn about general physics concepts and equations.

Modules (open to all grades)
These are intensive, nine-week interdisciplinary courses developed around real-world challenges. Modules are designed to develop students' understanding of big ideas and broad global concepts, and their development and application of 21st century skills. Modules are developed with real work and real world challenges in mind. Both the content and skills students learn each day contribute to their understanding of the task or challenge, provide content-related context, and enable them to complete the challenge with a high level of quality. 

Astrobiology is an example:

What are the origins of life on Earth, and what is its fate?  Is there life elsewhere in the Universe, and if so how do we find it?  These are the questions concerning scientists in the emerging field of astrobiology, the study of life in the universe.  For the last decade astrobiology has been one of the most productive branches of science, with a nearly constant stream of new discoveries.  For example, we have identified and confirmed over 1,741 planets orbiting distant stars.  We have also discovered that life can exist and thrive in environments previously believed to be too hostile.  In this class students will explore the major concepts of Astrobiology including the characteristics of life, the physical and chemical conditions necessary for life, and the search for habitable worlds in our solar system and beyond.  Students will use their understanding of astrobiology to design and curate an engaging and educational Astrobiology museum exhibit.

All courses have an element of being on-line so that students can progress at own rate from anywhere. Some courses have a large % delivered on-line eg languages have one face-to-face lesson per week with the other (2 or 3?) being on-line with students completing that in a Silent Working Commons (supervised Study Hall).

Grading Policy
Grades are achieved  in all courses by displaying mastery and students cannot move on until they have displayed this. This might be by way of a test or by the collectionn of evidence in a  range of ways.

All students are in a grade level Advisory. They meet twice a week for 15 minutes and once a week for 45 minutes. For the weekly 45 minute session there are set lessons depending on thhe grade level that all teachers follow and deliver at the same time. During the 15 minute sessions teachers focus on building and mainntaining relationships and keeping students focused on their goals. Each teacher is  given a timetabled block of Advisory preparation. (Each teacher also gets a timetabled 1 hour of department meeting time).

Field Experiences
This describes an internship model. Isora, however, quite happily admitted that this was not operating strongly as they have had difficulty in finding enough partners for placements so only a  small number of students participate. This  is an area she wishes to problem-solve.

Teachers are contracted to be on-site until 4pm. Classes finish at 3 20. Staff meet on Mondays from 3 20 - 4 00pm. On Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays all staff are "on the floor" (my words) until 4pm to be available  for students who need help or support of any type. See you later on Friday at 3 20!

They have 3000 apply from Middle School for the 130 places. They use own screening to get 2000 to do an on-line activity and submit a written piece stating why they should go to this school. They then submit 800 names they would happily have to the State who use an algorithm to allocate kids to schools throughout the city. They get the 130 this software produces.

Isora described her biggest challenges as ensuring staff ongoing commitment to the foundations of their pillars and to guaranteeing consistency of teacher judgement for passing courses. As well, she is often dealing with parent push-back in relation to their model despite its approach being very clear from the outset. She says she consistently worries whether they are preparing their kids in the best possible way (however, she is confident they are). Her highlight is knowing that the kids can carry on being themselves and not be subjected to the one-size-fits-all approach.

What Have I Taken Away From This Visit

  • The space is nothing special (looks like converted offices or it's a very old school building) but the pedagogy, driven by real world relevance and student choice and inquiry, was not being held back.

Pedagogy has nothing to do with thhe Space

Silent Commons

  • I loved the many mixed grade courses (it is not uncommon to find Grade 9 - 12 in same course). I think 3 years of NCEA does limit our opportunities in this area.
  • Leaders of innovative schools face the same issues with parent push-back. I believe this is worsened with NZ's competitive enrolment processes driven by competition for resourcing. I hate to admit it but I am starting to think if we could put in a  "special character"  filter it might be worth considering opening up our enrolments!@#*
  • Isora has reminded me of the importance of  having all learning design decisions driven by the key set of principles.
  • I interacted with students much less here than in my other visits but I was privileged to spend the whole time with the Principal. I enjoyed the 2 way conversation about leading schools and felt the visit was all about making sure I got out of it what was important for me.
  • Great principals always worry about whether they are doing enough for their kids.
  • Students posing and/or tackling big questions is a great driver of engaged and deep learning.
  • Reading the course and module descriptions (some quoted above) reminded me so much of our Modules.
Well, that's the last of my scheduled visits for thhis part of my sabbatical. Shortly we head back to  San Francisco and after a couple of days we head back to Aotearoa. My job is to pull together what I have seen and thought about to guide future development of HPSS, hopefully provide other schools with some areas of thinking to carry on their journies of transformation, and to help create the impetus for my continuing journey in educational leadership.

I might do a lot of that thinking out loud.