As with any other school, the end of the year brings a whirlwind of excitement. Today, the Early K took their wings to the Arboreteum, flying down the hillsides. The fifth graders have been hard at work preparing their gift to the museum and writing their graduation speeches. From the other side of the door,as I write, I hear Opal charter students sharing their learning with their parents through student-led conferences.
Unlike our colleagues at most other schools, though, the end of the year is also filled with the build-up to our annual symposium. The Opal School Summer Symposium is a three day festival of learning, bringing together teachers, teacher-educators, and other interested stakehoders from around the world. There, Opal School teachers and invited guests share documentation and insights related to the new thinking and learning emerging from our experiences with children. Together, we make sense of it in a way that informs all of our practice.
I've been going through a few notes we've received this year from people who have come to Opal School with their colleagues. After the Gorge Discovery School spent a day-long customized workshop with us, Ann Hansen wrote:
Our team left feeling validated and inspired. As we define ourselves as a program, it is so helpful to observe programs that share our values and beliefs. I have received positive feedback from all team members and our teachers are already thinking of ways to implement these new ideas. Most importantly, our team is beginning to use common language around our image of children… [Opal staff’s] dedication and strong image of children is apparent and provoked much thought amongst staff. It seems we have been tapping into pieces of all of this, but Monday's workshop tied it together for many people in a profound way.
Pauline McPeake, whose Westside Collaborative came to Portland from Los Angeles for a two-day customized workshop, wrote, "We were excited to be a part of something bigger, step out of our comfort zone, and find commonalities with other schools."
We hope that you choose to join us in Portland June 20-22 as we become "a part of something bigger" and develop "common language around our [strong!] image of children. What better way to start the summer?
Learn more and register here.