Again, you can’t connect the dots looking forward. You can only connect them looking backwards, so you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future.
You have to trust in something–your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever–because believing that the dots will connect down the road will give you the confidence to follow your heart, even when it leads you off the well-worn path, and that will make all the difference.
Stanford University Commencement Speech 2005
A few months ago, I submitted a post called ‘Connecting the Dots to Customized Learning”. I am happy to report that finally the dots ARE connecting for me. My quest has taken me to group meetings, websites, individual meetings, trainings, and a fair amount of reading.
In all of this, it has been the people who are leading the way with customized learning and standards-based education who have taught me the most.
Here are some of those key people (listed alphabetically as they are ALL #1s on my list) who were most knowledgeable and most helpful. You would find them helpful too if you decide to connect your own MCL dots.
Jim is the Supt. in RSU #44. He is probably the first person who introduced me to MCL. He is a true believer, an early adopter, and PASSIONATE about it. He is unafraid, undeterred, and unabashed in his pursuit of systemic change. He is also MOST student-centered. All in all, Jim is one of my heroes.
Linda Laughlin and Lori Lodge
These two educators are the leaders of the Maine Cohort for Customized Learning. I have attended 4 of their meetings now. They welcomed me in even though my unofficial title was “cling-on”. This MCCL group is a bit of a phenomenon in my opinion. Jim Hodgkin said it best, “If I have a tough week and go to a MCCL meeting, I feel better immediately. It is so good to be with like-minded people who talk about things that matter” There is a sort of magic here that comes from a new organization struggling to do powerful work. These two women give countless hours to the cause. Their PASSION is on display at every meeting.
The Masterful McSisters (I am changing my name to McEnright)
• Mary Jane McCalmon
Everyone should have an opportunity to learn from Mary Jane McCalmon. She understands systemic change and how school systems work inside out. She also understands customized learning and standards based education. She is deeply involved in this work and also is PASSIONATE about it. She is one of the leaders in the MCCL group and also does masterful consulting, coaching, and facilitating around this work
• Cathy McCue
Cathy is my sister by another mother. She is my GO-TO person for all things standards-based curriculum. She is tireless in her pursuit of implementing a standards-based curriculum in her school system, RSU #44, where she is Asst. Supt. She understands systemic change and pays close attention to it. If there is a better standards-based mousetrap out there that saves teachers time and is highly effective, Cathy is figuring it out, I am sure. She too is PASSIONATE about this work.
• Bea McGarvey
Bea has a brilliant mind and is a brilliant educator. Recently I attended one of her training on customized learning. It was the best 3 hours I have spent in learning all year, possibly in the last five years. She co-authored Inevitable and is deeply committed to customized learning and to all of us here in Maine too. She has a fabulous website http://masscustomizedlearning.com/ where she gives away the store for free, (as my father would say). Is she PASSIONATE about this work? Absolutely! It appears to have become the priority focus of her life’s work.
If you want to have a crash course in Customized Learning and all things systemic change, then spend an hour or so with Mike individually or go to one of his workshops, like I have, and you will come away a changed person (pun intended)! I have said it before and I say it again, GO TO HIS WEBSITE and admire his Lead4Change work, among many other things. Mike is the Renaissance Man of Education in Maine, in my humble opinion. He too is PASSIONATE about his work.http://www.mcmel.org/leadership/
Don is leading the charge from the DOE side along with our Commissioner Steve Bowen. Customized Learning consumes him, as it is highly student centered. He is tireless in his promotion of it. If you have a chance to hear him talk on this subject, as I did recently, you will see, feel, and hear his PASSION for this work. Don cares DEEPLY about it.
So that is the line-up thus far on the people who are leaders in this brave new MCL world. I will warn you though, if you hang around them long enough, their passion is contagious!
Here is my newest dot to connect? What role could and should the middle level play in this effort? I am thinking that the middle level has a LOT to offer. Anyone out there have any thoughts?