I'm very excited about our PKE application for this year!  Last year Liz Campbell and I, with consultant Jackie Delong, started the Bluewater Action Research Network as a way to spread an understanding of how self-determined, self-directed action research professional development might work in our board. We chose to share the approach I took to my TLLP rather than sharing the content of what my group learned through the project.  This is the action research approach to learning Liz, myself and a few other BARN members learned from Jackie Delong in a Masters Course.

Our PKE application and work last year flew mainly under the radar of the rest of the board until the end of the year.  In May we hosted a Symposium at which each of the BARN member (15) shared what they learned through their action research projects with at over 30 invited guests (teachers, VPs, principals).  They day was very successful and our guests left energized and inspired by the model and the learning journey of each individual presenter.  

After the Symposium we increased the interest in our model, our group and our learning by having conversations and sharing the videos and other artifacts we collected on the ning with various board personnel.  We are going into this year with a much stronger network of people knowing we exist and open to learning more about what we are doing and how it is working.   We have been able to communicate that we are as interested as they are in creating authentic, relevant and sustainable learning for teachers which will translate into authentic, relevant and sustainable learning for students.  

Beyond this basic goal, two questions we share with board personnel are:

1. How much are teachers confirming their ideas and how much are they challenging their beliefs through the process?

2. How do you track teacher learning and change in practice?  Student learning and change in practice?

We hope to engage board personnel in validating (or challenging) the answers we have found to these questions this year when we share with them the eBook with video hyperlinks we continue to develop.  In August we started preparing for a presentation at the Consortium for the Study of Leadership and Ethics in Education (CSLEE) conference: Towards Transformational Leadership: Values and Ethics for Educational Advancement and Sustainability. The conference is Sept 17-20 at Deerhurst, and hosted by Nippising. We have been sorting through the video data and written projects we collected from our group to prepare for the presentation.  This presentation will then form the basis of the eBook and contain video links to short video clips from BARN. It is challenging to choose short clips and quotes to string together which will express the engaging and inspiring values and emotions of the people who have participated, while accurately and logically explaining the model we are using.

As we plan for this year, we are also broadening the leadership of our group in going from our two original facilitators (Liz Campbell and myself) to five facilitators.  In sharing the organization, planning and facilitating roles we hope to ensure the sustainability of the group and the model should funding be granted this year.   

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Wow Cathy,

Not only did you guys have a successful 2013-2014, getting your project up and running, but now it is snowballing with all the momentum.  An amazing, natural way, to grow a network of like-minded educators.

I love your two focus questions.  The first is awesome for individual and group reflection and the second is a true challenge for educators, to determine the impact of changes being implemented.

It sounds like you are incredibly enthusiastic and passionate about this work, and that the work is rewarding.  Nothing better for one's practice.

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