The idea for "Pop-Up PD" began over the summer, when I became active on Twitter and met lots of educators, administrators, and parents who share my interest in increasing community and parent involvement in schools.
I met some of these people face-to-face in July at a one-day "un-conference" called #EdCampLdr and was later invited to help moderate a Twitter chat called #PTchat, which focuses on issues of parental and community engagement in education. Then, I was honored to participate in #ParentCampUSA, a groundbreaking conference held at the Department of Education in Washington DC on 10/26/15, promoting the value of increasing the communication and collaboration between home and school.
Beginning this school year, I began to offer "Pop-Up PD's" on Monday afternoons in my office after dismissal. From 3:30-3:45 p.m. on any given Monday, we can talk about topics like #ParentCamp, Restorative Practices, mindfulness, Twitter, Leader in Me, etc. While the un-conference model made popular by #EdCamp relies wholly on participants' ideas for topics, I began the Pop-Up PD's with a scheduled list of topics. Slowly, I am handing over control to the group to come up with their own ideas.
The goal is to keep things brief and discussion-based (rather than lecture), to provide a taste of a specific topic and some resources for participants to check out on their own. I also want to tap experts I know in specific areas (mindfulness for teachers, yoga in the classroom) to Skype in for a part of upcoming sessions.
As I commented below, the response from teachers and staff has been enthusiastic but we have struggled with the challenge of moving from a semi-structured presentation series (where I set the topics) to a participant-driven learning opportunity.
My next goal is to help teachers build the confidence to use their voices to lead their own learning process. Results will be teachers offering suggestions for Pop-Up PD topics and teachers stepping up to lead sessions. To accomplish this goal, I am returning to the empathic interviewing phase to find out what teachers want to develop within their own capacity. I am going to conduct several individual interviews with staff members who have expressed an interest but haven't attended any sessions. My central questions will be, "what is interesting about the Pop-Up PD idea?"
I will also conduct a group interview with the core group of regular attendees to find out what they want a learning opportunity like Pop-Up PD to do for them.
Shout out to Andy Ng at Google for helping me put my design thinking hat back on. I welcome any other suggestions!