Educon is a 3 4 year old conference run by my friend Chris Lehmann. I attended last year and was motivated for months by the people I learned from, the friends I saw there, and of course, by hearing from Chris and his students.
I recently moved to Grace Church School in New York City, where I am the Dean of Faculty. Grace is a 100+ year old school, a JK-8 institution. We are now adding a high school. The high school is located in the heart of the Village, sharing a park with Cooper Union. We're creating a beautiul blend of tradition and innovation, and I see Educon as a place that shares those values. We are constantly honing the craf of teaching, yet we stay open to new innovations.
When you start a high school from scratch you can make every single decision with one question in mind:
What is best for high school students?
Everything we do looks to answer this question. One of my most important responsibilities is to help recruit a modern faculy, prepared to teach modern classes. That means fewer classes per day, for longer periods of time - this allows for depth over breadth of study. It means never having academic classes back to back. It means having advisory every day. It means fitness first period. It means an hour for lunch, which is planned and budgeted for, prepared for and cleaned up by students. It means no classes on Wednesdays, but a Lab Day, where we make learning real with community collaborations, trips, place-based learning, time for further study, and more. It means better, meaningful homework, not just more homework. Academic, athletic, art excellence, coupled with a focus on ethical and spiritual development of young people, and the adults that work with them.
I had hoped to be at Educon this year to share our work, engage interested partners, and yes, recruit a new faculty. I will be recruiting faculty for the next four years, as we add a 9th grade each year until our first 9th graders gradudate in 2016. If you're an Educon-er, or just an innovated, motivated, excellent teacher, who wants to be a part of changing the dialog around high school in New York City and beyond, I couldn't encourage you more to apply to work at our high school. We love reading cover letters where teachers share their passion for teaching and learning. Do share yours if you are looking for the next great school to teach in...