That is, until today.
10 schools from across Philadelphia were invited to come together for what we termed Professional Collaboration.
Instead of being told what to learn, teachers were surveyed ahead of time for their interests. Instead of being told who would lead the workshops, teachers were asked to step up and lead themselves or identify organizations that could come in and present.
I was particularly impressed with the use of the hashtag created for the day: #May21PC. Teachers from all different schools were sharing what they knew during the day while others were chiming in from their own sessions or their own schools. And now you can search back with the same hashtag to see what people learned. I, myself, led a workshop on using Twitter for education purposes (and was happy to see new folks tweeting during the day).
At the end of the day each school had a place to sit and reflect on what they had learned. Our staff went around the room and each shared something we learned or a session that we attended; the comments people made were deep and thoughtful.
My principal said it best when she pointed out that each person was smiling as they reflected. When was the last time that happened because of a District-provided workshop?
In conclusion, I challenge Dr. Hite and the rest of the School District staff to allow teachers to organize these kinds of days for themselves. Support us in learning what we really want to know and give us the time to plan it.