October 18

It’s all about the culture

IMG_4391

What can you make?

Recently, I had the opportunity to visit Northfield Middle School. That’s the beauty of having a PLN. I reached out to Kevin Jarrett and Glenn Robbins because I had to see their new “maker room” and the EdCamp style afternoons for the kids. It was everything I thought it would be…. and more!

 

As I walked around the school, I was impressed with how the hallways had transformed into “Idea Streets.” Kids, middle school kids, were treated like college kids. If they wanted breakfast, they just had to go to the kiosk near the front office. If they wanted to sit down and collaborate, there were chairs for them to do so. If they wanted to write on the walls, or the windows, they could. There were no “bulletin boards” because they had been replaced by white boards.

 

Culture eats strategy for breakfast ~ Drucker

 

3D printer

3D printer

Kevin’s room is crucial to development of student exploration. It was obvious to me that Kevin is a perfectionist and it showed in the room. I followed the progress of the room over the summer, but I never imagined it would be so… inspiring. Everything had a purpose. Everything from the design of the room, the walls, chairs, tables, the lighting, material storage, and especially the course itself. As I watched kids come and go for their “class” I was impacted by the discussion, the cadence, the creativity, and even the coolness.

 

Culture eats strategy for breakfast ~ Drucker

 

Design flaws

Design flaws

As we were touring around, Glenn introduced me to a few kids. I was able to see what they were working on, and more importantly, why. One of the students was working on a design that he was hoping to get picked for the 3D printer. He shared with me how the site he was using helped him apply what he was learning from math, science and language arts. As I scanned the room, all of the kids were on their Chromebooks doing the same thing… pushing their learning, listening to music, creating, and designing.

 

Culture eats strategy for breakfast ~ Drucker

 

IMG_4375Glenn asked a girl to come out in the hall to discuss the afternoon EdCamp. She was the one who was working on the art in the for the Respect Campaign. As we talked, she said something that really struck a chord, “I  love how this school allows us to have a voice. We can choose what we want to learn in the afternoon, and the teachers listen to us. I’ve never felt like this in school.” Honestly, neither had I growing up!

 

Culture eats strategy for breakfast ~ Drucker

 

The EdCamp afternoon board

The EdCamp afternoon board

Very often we hear about cool things and immediately want to get them into our districts/schools/classrooms. What I saw in Northfield was the result of hard working, innovative thinking people who were ready to work collaboratively over the past few years to get to make a difference. This didn’t happen overnight, and it didn’t happen by chance. Everything happened (and will continue to happen) because the stakeholders (parents, teachers, BOE, students, administration and community) worked collaboratively to create a culture that encourages doing what is best for kids!

 

People are talking about this school… Check out these blog posts about Northfield  Middle School:

Welcome to Idea Street 

An EdCamp Period

Kevin Jarrett’s Blog

Jay Eitner’s Blog

 


Copyright © 2015. All rights reserved.

Posted October 18, 2015 by drspikecook in category Blogging

About the Author

Middle School Principal, Blogger, Author, Speaker, Adjunct Prof, Co-host of @PrincipalPLN

2 thoughts on “It’s all about the culture

  1. Judy Walsh

    Love idea street! Can only imagine the creativity cultivate in such a inspiring environment. Today’s technology calls for students and teachers to enhance such a place!!! Capra denim …. Seize the day!!! For the future is theirs to hold! How wonderful to be a part of something, that shall change learning for the better!!!!!

    Reply

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*