Where is Your “SPIKE” ?
Oct 7, 2013
In his recent blog the always awesome George Couros (@gcouros) talked about a “Spike.” In his blog the “spike” was defined as “a place where there is a large amount of people with one main area of interest that come together to create some of the best work in their field. It is not the only place, but these specific areas are usually known for excellence.”
I was most compelled by the question George then posed; “So if I asked you where the “spike” is for educators; where would that be?”
Hmmmmmm….Interesting question George; That really got me thinking; not just about where “THE SPIKE” was in education, but more close to home; where “Our Spike” was here at our school. What things are we really doing an amazing job of at St. Paul Public Schools? In simple country girl terms; What amazing practices would I point to here at my school; or EEK…would we even have something for me to point to if I were looking for a “Spike”? As an administrator (PreK-12 Principal) I WANT to say “My school is so amazing we are “Spiking” in every area, we are basically blowing up the seismograph!” I am also a realist and I KNOW we have many areas of growth we are working on daily; in fact, some of the things outside observers think are some of our strongest areas, I feel like we are constantly banging our heads against the wall on!
So………Where is “THE SPIKE” in my school?
I would proudly have to say our “SPIKE” would be firmly rooted in the Relationships we build with our students as the foundation of everything we do at St. Paul Public Schools. This is my third year here at St. Paul Schools, and I am very proud of the progress our school has made in establishing a foundation where every student has adults as their champions and knows we are firmly in their “corner” at all times. We have established a 7-12th grade Advisory program based on Covey’s “Seven Habits of Highly Effective Teens.” We have a weekly Rise and Shine assembly for all K-6 Students which is a combination of character words with #stuvoice and student recognition assemblies. We have an after school program which serves over a third of our student body on a daily basis; providing Project Based Learning, healthy snacks, and physical activities extending students learning activities for three hours a day has definitely proven to be a relationship builder. These three things are all new to St. Paul Schools within the past three years. (These are just a FEW of the things we are doing to build relationships, as educators, you know this is something that has to be continuous & unwavering.)
This year we have gone even further by adding a “Genius Hour” for students in grades 4-12th on every Friday. This is true “Passion Based Learning.” We have seen an approximate 25% increase in weekly attendance (which is required to participate in our Genius Hour) as well as numerous positive parent/community comments and outreach regarding this program, just in the first five weeks! (I wrote about this in an earlier post “The Genius of my School’s Genius Hour.”)
So there it is…that’s our “SPIKE”…now WHERE IS YOURS?