I had worked hard on getting an agenda put together and as we hired people we invited them to prepare some training to share with the group. We planned to get people oriented to what they would be doing and who they would be doing it with. Darren also had a great idea. It was to invite several of our PLN from across the world to come in and speak to our group for a few minutes. This turned out to be genius. These wonderful, giving people (and you know who you are) spent much more than the requested 5 minutes with our teams as they offered valuable insights. I can't thank these friends enough for what they shared with us. We ended up not being able to get to many of the items that the teams themselves had planned (but we will get to them), but the experience of having these guests come to our retreat via Skype was invaluable and helped set a tone that will serve us throughout the coming year.
The retreat also served as a great lesson for me. I had been agonizing over branding for our teams for a couple of months. I was really struggling with coming up with anything. Yet within 2 hours of all being together on that Monday we had come up with our branding, and I think it is genius. The branding will help the two teams work together and be viewed as symbiotic in their work. I will save the unveiling of that branding for another post, but this experience really showed me once again how much better we are together, than separately.
I am grateful for the teams we have been able to put together. Each member brings great strengths and we will be able to shore each other up in areas, where we may not be as strong. These are individuals who are foremost great teachers, some very veteran, some slightly veteran, but a great mix. They have a great desire to help other teachers learn how to best use technology to help students learn and achieve. I have no doubt that we will do great things together in the coming months and years.
The retreat was a great starting point for us, but just a starting point. Now we will move forward and help build this new district. We will do so with a common vision and desire to to the best we can for our students and our teachers. To quote the great philosopher Stan Lee (okay he's a comic book creator) With great power, comes great responsibility, as teams we realize the opportunities we have been given and will go forth to fulfill our responsibilities to the district.