Doing the right thing is hard sometimes – so hard, in fact, that it often makes you wonder if exerting all of the effort to go against the flow is really worth it? When, if ever, does the time come to stop the struggle and do what is easier?
We have been swimming upstream at Greystone Centennial Middle School since we first opened our doors over five and a half years ago. Our upstream swim has included doing things differently in our school, things that are not common practice in many schools…………yet!
Why do we keep swimming upstream? Will we ever stop the challenging work of doing what we know is right for our kids in providing them with a school community that meets their needs as learners in the 21st century?
Not as long as we have a lifeline that supports our efforts and reminds us to keep our vision for student learning clear. Our lifeline at Greystone has been our close collaboration with the Galileo Educational Network. At Greystone, we have had the opportunity to be inspired through the experiences and expertise of Dr. Sharon Friesen, co-founder and president of Galileo. Our teachers and administration team have also been mentored for over two years by Candace Saar. Candace is the Associate Director of Galileo Network. Candace’s background includes involvement in reforming secondary schools, 21st century learning, discipline-based inquiry, technology integration and improving teaching practice. Candace, Sharon and the Galileo Network have been our lifeline at Greystone by keeping us centred on developing meaningful learning experiences for our students that promote critical thinking and deep understanding. This kind of learning is challenging, not always predictable but deeply rooted in a professional practice that makes students connect with authentic learning through Inquiry.
Inquiry, as defined by the Galileo Network, is a dynamic process of being open to wonder and puzzlement and coming to know and understand the world.
Our teachers work collaboratively to design learning that includes these key elements of Inquiry:
It is through our commitment to building our teaching practice around these core components that our students will be prepared to become ethical, entrepreneurial and engaged citizens of the 21st Century. Is it easy to provide this kind of learning for our students? Absolutely NOT!!!!! Is doing what’s right for our kids and their learning worth the challenge? ABSOLUTELY!!!!! Keep swimming, Greystone!