Sunday, November 25, 2012

Packing For Prague

After a two hour panic during which I couldn't locate my Green Card, I find myself at 11p.m. still packing to leave for Prague tomorrow, to attend the Microsoft Partners in Learning Global Forum. I don’t mind. I don’t think I will sleep anyway because I so am excited. Excited to be back in Europe, my home continent, for the first time in four years, but mostly excited to be attending the best professional development event of the year!

I am in the enviable position of finding myself attending for the second year in a row, this year in a double capacity. I am representing TeamU.S having achieved first place in the Extended Learning Beyond the Classroom category for a project I conducted with my teaching partner, Rick Joseph. Doing Business in Birmingham evolved as a result of student interest in sustainability in business and has been a wonderful experience. After learning about sustainable practices our students took to the streets of Downtown Birmingham armed with flyers and brochures they had created to educate local small business owners about sustainability. They created an Honor Roll to celebrate businesses that were already sustainable and to encourage those that weren't to adopt some simple steps to set them on the path towards sustainability. Competition from the U.S. team is fierce and I have already learned so much from my team mates so I look forward to seeing and learning about the projects that will presented from all around the globe.

I am also attending to represent my school, Birmingham Covington School, which achieved Pathfinder status this year. Microsoft Innovative Pathfinder Schools are identified as schools that help to transform education in a scalable, replicable way by influencing other schools within their own community, country, and around the world. By becoming a Pathfinder school, we hope to benefit from deeper engagement with similar schools, gain more in-depth access to global experts, and experience mentoring opportunities from education experts. It’s incredibly exciting to be invited to join a community of school leaders from around the world who work closely together to develop a culture of innovation.

I am sad to be leaving my students behind but I know that I will learn so much and form relationships with amazing educational experts who will help me on my journey as an innovator educator and ultimately have a positive and lasting impact on my students as a result. Talking of my students, I must finish packing so I can be at my best for them tomorrow before heading off to the airport after school!

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