Friday, February 14, 2014

The Power of Site Visits

Q. Why do we spend hundreds of hours planning for visitors from across the midwest to tour our schools? 

A. Here's my 3 part answer 

1. Have you ever had company over to your house? What do you do? Clean, organize, spend extra time getting ready, learn a new recipe... right? When our staff know visitors are coming into their classrooms, they step it up a notch. They post a new QR code outside their classroom door, showcasing the latest iMovie trailer a student made. They "clean up/organize" their classroom, and most likely spent extra time preparing for the lesson. Who is benefiting from all this extra work? The site visitors? Well yes, but the real reason is OUR STUDENTS benefit. Teachers are already spending hours preparing engaging lessons with their students, and using their 1:1 technology to differentiate and move above the line. Imagine if everyday teachers spent even more than that...imagine if we hosted visitors every week at every school... what would that be like for our kids?

2. At the end of every site visit we host a debriefing for Q & A post the classrooms visits. We invite teacher representatives, the principal and/or assistant principal of the schools visited, our technology director, and the superintendent. Every debriefing (we've hosted 38 visits) empowers our staff. They hear how amazed our visitors are with what their doing in their classrooms and how far we've come in such a short time frame. It gives the teachers a voice to share their experience teaching with 1:1 devices, professional development they've received, and what they would do differently if we could go back in time. 

3. We've hosted 456 visitors from 8 states representing 115 districts/businesses/corporations... all involved in education in some way, shape, or form. We have not "figured it all out." We're doing amazing things, but we are still learning... every day... to make school better for our students. What a better way to learn than to increase our PLN's & PLC's than to meet face to face with 400+ educators and learn from them?!

The feedback we receive from our site visits is incredible! Please watch the 4 1/2 minute video for a glimpse in the d100 site visit experience. See the South Berwyn School District 100 Wireless Device Program page to sign up for a site visit or get more information about the program. 

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