Tuesday, December 20, 2011

We are asking the wrong question...

I am a big fan of Sir Ken Robinson. Robinson has penned two books, "The Element - How Finding Your Passion Changes Everything" and "Out of Our Minds - Learning to be Creative"

In these books, Robinson discusses the immense power of and need for creativity. He discusses the nature of creativity and his belief that creativity and the ability to think divergently (seeing many possible solutions to problems) is an ability we all have and that it decreases over time. This last claim is supported through research on problem solving in which people were asked questions like how many different uses they could come up with for a paper clip. The same subjects were asked in a longitudinal study that lasted 10 years. They asked them every 5 years (age 5, 10, and 15) and the number of possibilities they came up with decreased as they got older. They got worse! Robinson's claim is that by age the children had become "educated" into the idea that there is one answer and it is in the back of the book.

One of the central claims in the "Out of our Minds" book is that we often think of and measure intelligence wrong.

A great example of this theory is the question we often ask of ourselves and others "How intelligent are you?" The implied assumption behind this question is that intelligence is a singular and finite characteristic. Much like "How tall are you?" It implies that intelligence can be measured and defined as a specific trait or set of traits. Robinson argues the question we should be asking is "How are you intelligent?" Amazing what a difference the placement of one word; intelligent, makes. Moving that word changes those two questions entirely. Instead of intelligence as a singular, quantifiable trait, the second question portrays intelligence as a multitude of different abilities in a number of different areas. It assumes the intelligence of every individual. Rather than intelligence being something you either have or don't, it becomes something everyone has in varying amounts in many different areas.

I am convinced that the nature and culture of schools would change if we would stop asking the first question and started asking the second. What a great thing to ask kids whether they be in kindergarten, 12th grade, or anywhere in between.

On a related note, if you have not ever watched Ken Robinson speak, you really should. Two of his most popular talks have are "Is School Killing Creativity?" and "Bring on the Learning Revolution!" Those two talks are a "Cliff's Notes" of sorts for his books and are embedded below.

Make the day great!


Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Stop Filling the Pail and Start Lighting the Fire

campfire clipart

I recently returned from the 2011 TIES Conference in Minneapolis. TIES is an organization made up of a large number of Minnesota school districts that exists to advocate, enable, and empower teachers to increase student engagement through the integration of technology. This is the second year I have been able to attend the conference. I love the learning that happens at TIES because there is a great mix of hands on, applicable tools and tips that can be immediately used in a variety of classrooms, and challenging discussions of broader topics relating to student engagement and the very meaning of what education should look like and consist of in the 21st century. I always come away invigorated, challenged, and with a major headache!

One of the most interesting sessions I attended this year was called I-Imagine: Waking a Generation to Their Own Greatness. The content of the session was great but what really struck me was a statistic. It said that of all of the knowledge in the world, in a 13 year academic career (kindergarten through 12th grade) a teacher could only ever cover .0000001% of it. Whoa. Now, before you call the statistics police, I am fully aware that such a statistic is very difficult to believe, impossible to verify, and in all likelihood, completely made up. But don't get hung up on the number. There is a fundamental truth in there. There is so much knowledge and information in the world, there is no way we could ever hope to cover all of it in 13 years. Not. Even. Close.

One of my favorite educational quotes is: "Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire." It is attributed to the poet W.B. Yeats. That quote immediately came to mind when I heard the previously mentioned statistic. If our goal in education is to pour as much knowledge as possible into the heads of our young people as we can before their 18th birthday, we are doing it wrong and we are doing them a disservice. We could pour facts and figures into them all day, every day, and not even cover one iota of the available knowledge in the world. So why do we try? In the meantime national statistics show a majority of students say school is boring, uninteresting, and irrelevant and we live in a world where anything you can memorize can also be Googled in .05 seconds on any computer, ipad, or cell phone.

When we think of education in these terms, it seems to me that we need to spend less time trying to fill the pails and more time trying to light the fires. Teach skills in context. Identify student passions and connect them to their learning. Light the fire of curiosity and rekindle a love of learning. Stop filling pails. Light the fires instead.

Make the day GREAT!


Wednesday, October 19, 2011

SAI Regional Workshop - Linda Fandel and the Iowa Blueprint

On October 19th I had the opportunity to attend a session sponsored by the School Administrators of Iowa that featured a discussion with Linda Fandel, Governor Branstad's Special Assistant on Education. Her discussion focused on the recently released blueprint for education in Iowa titled "One Unshakable Vision; World Class Schools for Iowa."

It was great to hear from Fandel and I was impressed that the goal of the conversation, and others like it that have been held around the state, seemed to be as much about getting input on the plan to use as it is edited and revised, as it was explaining and selling the plan. Fandel was clearly seeking input and it was clear that the plan has been and continues to be shaped by input from educators and stakeholders from around the state. As Fandel reported, approximately 58% of the state budget goes to education with 42% of it going specifically to PreK-12th grade education. This is an important and timely topic and needs to be addressed. We began with the conversation by watching the video you can see HERE.

Some interesting discussion took place with Fandel sharing the following points among others:
  • Iowa Tests of Basic Skills and Iowa Tests of Educational Development are being replaced with assessments from the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium to which Iowa belongs. The Smarter Balanced Assessment is computer based and individually adapting. It takes students through an ever increasing level of difficulty until students begin to miss questions. It then backs down and elevates again to find the student's level of proficiency. You can read more about the Smarter Balanced Consortium and Assessment HERE.
  • The original proposal for a high school graduation exit examination has been replaced with end of course assessments, most likely in Algebra I, Biology, English, and History/Government.
  • Other assessments include a third grade literacy assessment that could result in retention for students that are not able to read at a pre-determined level of proficiency. This is one of the most controversial parts of the plan. Fandel described how it was based on a plan that has been used in Florida. According to her it has shown to increase literacy significantly. She described how Florida third graders are now scoring above Iowa third graders on the reading portion of the NAEP test.
There certainly is a lot more to learn and discuss when it comes to the plan. For additional information there is a good FAQ page HERE. It was nice to feel that the document is still a living work in progress and it is great that the architects of the plan, like Fandel, Dr. Glass, Lt. Governor Reynolds, and others are seeking honest input and willing to amend the plan according to that input. I encourage everyone to read the plan, stay up to date as it changes, and be aware as it moves through the legislature this spring. It certainly will have a significant impact on education in our great state.


Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Fed Ex Day - We Delivered!

At our most recent professional development day, Okoboji High and Middle Schools tried something new. It is called a "Fed Ex" Day. It is modeled after the motivational theories of authors and psychologists like Daniel Pink (Author of Drive: the Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us). It is also an idea that has been built on blog posts and experiences gained from Chris Wejr and Lyn Hilt. You can read Chris's blog post HERE. and Lyn's HERE.

The instructions we gave our staff were simple. One week ahead of time we sent out the following agenda:

12:30-3:30 Fed Ex Time-- (Meet back in the Media Center of your building at 3:00 for delivery)

In preparation for Fed Ex Time, please watch the following 10-minute video on motivation. About half-way through the video Daniel Pink speaks of a company, Atlassian, who implemented Fed Ex time for their employees. Below the video are some guidelines for how we will structure our Fed Ex Time. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact Brian or Ryan.

So this afternoon, your task is to be self-directed in your learning. Be productive. Ask, am I better today than yesterday? Seek mastery in your role. Remember our ultimate purpose. The only rule? You must deliver. A product…a project…ideas…action.

Pink calls providing this autonomous time for innovation a Fed Ex Day- employees choose what to work on, with whom, and however they’d like. The expectation is that you must deliver something: a new idea, a better internal process, a refined lesson plan or project, or any other idea that will benefit student learning.

As you work today, consider the following:

  • Task – Choose tasks that will benefit and impact student learning. Think differently!
  • Technique – Design your activities and project work in your own way, so long as the end result is a benefit to students.
  • Team – Work with anyone you want to work with today- you do not need to work with your grade or content level teams. Consult with the many knowledgeable people in our school! Individuals that choose not to collaborate will still be responsible for “delivering.” Consider the importance of the collaborative efforts! If you are considering working on something tech related, please consider working with one of our integrationists.
  • Time – Use your time as you see fit. You will asked to deliver a product or status update at 3:00 that includes:
    • What your project/idea is
    • How it will impact students/learning
    • What you completed today
    • Who you worked with (if anyone)--Groups can deliver as a team
    • Any next steps which need to be taken
3:00-3:30 Fed Ex Delivery in your building's Media Center
In order for Fed Ex time to be effective, a few assumptions must be made:
  1. Teachers are professionals who have a strong desire to improve
  2. Teachers are creative and innovative problem solvers
  3. Teachers will use these skills if given access to the two most valuable resources in education: time and access to each other.
I am proud to say the Okoboji faculty absolutely knocked this one out of the ballpark. The time from 12:30-3:00 saw people in pairs, small groups, and individually working hard on a variety of different projects. When it came time to "deliver" at 3:00 the things people had done, and the projects they had begun, blew me away. A short list of just a few of the amazing things they worked on includes:
  • Collaborative exploration of Desmos.com for use as online graphing calculator and interactive whiteboard
  • Creation of video lessons to "flip" social studies classroom
  • Cross curricular unit creation that could be implemented school wide
  • Creation of sharing system for music teachers and students using Smart Music/Finale and Google Docs to create and share practice pieces for students
  • Creation of a blog for College Composition class
  • Collaborative work to create student feedback system
  • Work with MagCloud as possible portfolio creation for art students - also beginning of collaborative project between journalism and graphic design to create online magazine.
  • Implementation plan for ChooseMyPlate.org for diet/exercise tracking for health students
  • Special Education teachers working with Language Arts teachers to rethink how we do writing goals for IEP students.
  • and more and more!
This list is only for the high school. The middle school had just as many amazing products delivered at the end of their Fed Ex time. When we set out to try our Fed Ex Day, our goal was to be able to do it for 1/2 day, twice a year. With the success and productivity we have seen, we are rethinking that strategy. Is Fed Ex Day the dawn of a new era of self-directed, personalized, collaborative professional development in Okoboji? Throughout our Fed Ex day our teachers have shown that when we give them the most valuable resources possible; time and access to each other, they can do amazing things. If what we saw on Friday is indicative of what it could become, we may be on the verge of a very powerful new way of making good teachers even better!


Monday, August 15, 2011

Its That Time of Year!

Hello All,
Yes indeed, it is that time of year. Before you know it the halls of OHS will once again buzz with the energy of teaching and learning. Please take a moment to view this video that discusses some important events coming up in the next two weeks.


Tuesday, March 15, 2011

This is Our Time...

It has been a great year at OHS. I love the opportunity to work with some of the absolute best teachers, support staff, and students in the world. That being said, everything can't be perfect. We have had our share of struggles this year. Many of those have come on the athletic field.

It is no secret that our numbers have been down. The decrease in participation in interscholastic sports is a trend that has not just affected our school. Across our conference and even throughout the state, participation numbers have been stagnant or shrinking in a number of sports. We have played with dignity, determination, and honor in all of our endeavors. Unfortunately that effort has not turned into a significant number of victories. As great as our school is, and as proud as we are of it, it is tough absorbing losses. We want to achieve excellence in all areas and, even though we know that goal is lofty, it is still hard to swallow when we go through tough seasons with fewer wins than we would like. I applaud our kids and coaches for keeping their heads up and forging on through the tough times.

All year it seems we have been waiting for "our time" - the time when our kids can shine for the stars we know them to be. As I reflected on the last few weeks in student activities, I realized, we have hit "our time."

This is our time......
  • The OHS Jazz Band, the reigning state champions for class 2A, received a wild card bid to the Iowa Jazz Championships. This means they will have the opportunity to defend their title in Des Moines on April 12th.
This is our time......
  • The OHS Art Department recently took part in the all Dickinson County Schools Art Show. Our students won several honorable mention and judges choice awards and Senior Taylor Pirie won Best in Show for her sculpture.
This is our time.....
  • In January the O-SL Debate Team captured a record 5th straight state championship and senior Maggie Rohlk became a two time state champion
This is our time.....
  • Okoboji Individual Speech sent 32 events to state this past weekend. Of those 32, 26 came home with I ratings (the highest rating you can get). Of those, 19 earned straight I's (which means all three judges rated them a I.) 5 of those students (Caitlin Rolfes, Risty Stamoulis, Jen VanOort, Jack Ave, and Jordan Hanson) have earned trips to perform at the All State Festival.
And the list goes on and on...I haven't even mentioned our DECA students and the great job they did at districts and state or that two of them have qualified for nationals!

I also haven't mentioned our large group speech and the great performances they gave at district and state competition or our choir and the amazing concerts they have performed, or the fact that nineteen new members were inducted into the Okoboji Chapter of the National Honor Society just last night.

I know we haven't had the year we would like in some of our extracurriculars. At times we haven't seen the success we want to on the field or the court. We all want to see Okoboji be victorious in all of our endeavors, and we will. I know we will.

In the meantime lets celebrate the amazing things our students are doing and the incredible awards they have received. As our freshman hear on their first day each year - they truly are an important part of an extraordinary school.


Sunday, February 27, 2011

Are We Focusing Too Much on Leadership?

I have recently been spending a lot of my limited free time watching various TED Talks.  According to Wikipedia, TED (an acronym that stands for Technology, Entertainment, and Design) is a global set of conferences curated by the American private non-profit Sapling Foundation, formed to disseminate "ideas worth spreading."  TED Conferences have been occurring since 1990 and until recently the speeches and disucussions led by leading thinkers have been limited to the exclusive group of attendees.  Since 2006 the talks have been made available to view for free online.  There are currently over 700 TED Talks available online from speakers spanning all walks of life including Malcolm Gladwell, Robert Ballard, the founders of Google, Bill Clinton, Billy Graham, and hundreds more.  You can access the TED Talks website HERE.

The TED Talk I watched this morning was only 3 minutes long.  It was about the process of starting a movement by a man named Derek Sivers.  Before reading on, please take three minutes to watch the video:

I found the video and Mr. Sivers analysis to be fascinating.  I have always been interested in human behavior. As a sociology major at Iowa State I loved to study the way people act and interact and the reasons behind these actions.  

There are a few key observations that I took away from this video.  

Leadership (at least as it is often defined) may be over glorified.  Yes, all great change starts with a leader.  Someone has to have the courage to stand up and say "lets try something new."  It takes insight, knowledge, and bravery to lead.  But what would leadership be without any followers?  Mr. Sivers describes the importance of what he calls the "first follower."

"The first follower is what turns a lone nut into a leader." 

Mr Sivers goes on to describe the importance of being a "first follower" and how being the first follower is an under-appreciated type of leadership.  It is the first follower that makes it okay for others to join in the movement.  Consider this - have you ever seen a single person stand up and give a standing ovation?  I know I have.  Have you ever seen only 2 or 3 in the crowd stand up?  In all of my experience I have never seen such a thing.  Either only one stands up, or eventually, the entire audience joins in.  The first follower is what makes all the difference.  

Leadership has long been a buzzword in education.  We profess to want everyone to be leaders.  I have long claimed to want to cultivate leadership in both teachers and students.  We all want our children to grow up to be leaders.  Books on leadership dominate the Amazon best seller list.  

When is the last time you read a book on "followership?"  In our society we look down on the idea of being a follower.  But if we truly were a school, community, or nation full of nothing but leaders - how inefficient would that be?  One cannot lead without followers.  

According to Mr. Sivers, follower is not a bad word.  It takes a lot of courage to lead, but it takes nearly as much courage to be a first follower.  Casting your lot and joining in a movement before it becomes the "accepted" thing to do is not easy.  I would even argue in some ways it is easier to be the "shirtless dancing guy" rather than the first one to say - yeah, I am with the shirtless dancing guy and you should join us too! 

The "first follower" is extremely important for a number of reasons and leaders need to ensure they are welcoming those first followers and embracing them as equals.  As he says, future followers will emulate the first followers more than the original leader.  

Maybe we need to reexamine our definitions of leading and following.  Maybe we need to become better at, as Mr. Sivers puts it "finding the lone nut that is doing something great, and having the guts to be the first one to stand up and join in."  


Sunday, February 20, 2011

Short Takes: Standards Based Assessment and Reporting

Hello All,
I have neglected this blog in recent weeks. Almost a month has passed since my last blog post. (Why do I suddenly feel like I am in a confessional?) February is a month that can get away from you in a hurry! Between snow days, ITED's, and the changing sports seasons; if you blink, you miss it!

I wanted to touch on a topic that has been in the news quite a bit recently - the idea of Standards Based Assessment and Reporting (SBAR), sometimes called Standards Based Grading (SBG).

SBAR represents a shift in the way students are assessed. Rather than resulting in a letter grade of A, B, C, D, or F; SBAR refers all learning back to a predetermined group of standards that are developed for each course. These standards often correlate with state and national standards like the Iowa Core Curriculum. Parents and students are aware of the standards ahead of time and teachers use multiple points of evidence to determine how fully each student has progressed toward mastery of each standard. Progress toward mastery is usually reported as a number (from 1-4) or a descriptor (like Beginning, Developing, Secure, or Exceeds). In some ways it is similar to the use of a rubric in assessing a student project. The standards are laid out ahead of time as well as descriptive information that guides students in understanding what a 1, 2, 3, or 4 "looks like." In a true standards based environment, at the end of the reporting period (ex. quarter or semester) there is no letter grade issued - The report that parents receive contains a list of the standards as well as information as to which level of mastery the student has attained. In most SBAR systems, behavior and learning are assessed separately. The idea being that by the end of the course, we expect all students to be at a Secure level in these 10 (or whatever the number is) standards. Some may reach that level much sooner, some may take longer, but the amount of time they take to get there is secondary - the goal is to get all students there.

SBAR has been in the news in Iowa recently because of the Waukee School District's decision to move toward this type of assessment and reporting in both of their middle schools. The decision has not been readily supported by many. Many parents are concerned about what they see as a significant shift in the way their kids are assessed and in the way their progress is reported.

Common parent concerns have been that this represents a dumbing down or easing of academic rigor. There have also been concerns that the "real world" often uses letter grades to assess and schools should as well.

Let me be clear - I am certainly not an expert in Standards Based Grading. I have only begun to truly learn about the practice this year. However, the more I learn about it the more sense it seems to make.

Most of us have jobs in which we are evaluated. How many of those evaluations are boiled down to one simple letter? We have an evaluation process that we use in the Okoboji School District to evaluate teacher effectiveness. It is based on the Iowa Teaching Standards. You can find those eight standards and their benchmarks HERE. Every three years (for continuing teachers on a professional license) a teacher is observed several times, and their performance is compared with these Standards. The goal is for teachers to reach mastery level of all eight standards. A summative evaluation is written which describes their progress toward mastery of these eight standards. If a teacher is deficient in one or more of these areas, an assistance plan is developed that targets improvement in the identified areas of need. Progress is measured and noted and future decisions are based on the results of the plan. Most teachers interviewing for a job will reference the standards and during their first two years of teaching they are required to create a portfolio of evidence that they have met the standards.

Does this sound familiar to you? It seems to me we are already doing SBAR in the evaluation of teachers. I know if I tried to issue a single letter of A-F and call it my "summative evaluation" of a teacher, it would never be allowed. It would be decried as subjective, incomplete, and vague...and they would be absolutely right. If Standards Based Assessment and Reporting is good enough for a decision that affects the future of someones employment, their livelihood, and the security of their family...shouldn't it also be good enough for sophomore biology?

Just a thought...

(Bloggers note - SBAR is taking hold mainly at the middle school because of the absence of concern about the idea of "credits" and college admissions that is a very real issue at the high school level. There have been NO talks of moving to a SBAR system at Okoboji High School. The thoughts and ideas in this entry are just to stimulate thought and conversation and are NOT indicative of an imminent shift in assessment and reporting procedures at Okoboji High School....just some good things to think about.)

I leave you with this final note about standards based assessment: I once heard someone talk about how in most classrooms you could get a poor grade on the tests but do great on homework and still pass. The speaker related that they were glad flight school did not work that way. They said if someone could get an A on takeoff and flying but a D on landing, they should not get a C+ in flight school. I, like the speaker, am glad that flight school has always used Standards Based Assessment and Reporting. :-)

Have a GREAT week!


Saturday, January 22, 2011

Proud to be One

On Thursday afternoon all Okoboji Middle and High School students along with faculty, staff, and around 100 members of the community got some great reminders of what it means to be an Okoboji Pioneer and what they can do to reach their potential.

The theme of our pep rally was "Proud to be One"  The official logo, which was also printed on T-shirts that were given to every 5-12 grade student, looks like this:

The pep rally started off with the school song followed by the basketball and wrestling cheerleaders leading the entire crowd of around 900 people in the "marching cheer."  After that we showed a "Proud to be One" video that listed reasons why Okoboji is a great school and community and featured testimonials from students, staff, alumni, and community members.  You can see the video HERE

Following the video we heard some great words from our new Dean of Students and alumnus Justin Bouse about the importance of getting connected with school through academics and activities and the work he will be doing to help get kids plugged in at school.  John Adams spoke about his experiences as a student, alumnus, and community member of Okoboji.  He also shared, in his view, what it means to be One.  You can find the list he shared HERE

The final speaker of the day was Hawkeye great and NFL veteran Bruce Nelson.  Bruce was born and raised in Emmetsburg and now lives and farms in the area.  He shared an OUTSTANDING message about hard work, persevering, the power of good choices, and taking advantage of your opportunities.  Bruce's message was powerful and had a real impact on everyone there.  In addition to the 900 in attendance on Thursday we also streamed the video live on our Okoboji Events Channel on UStream.  We also recorded the live stream and it can be watched HERE.  

We will also be using the Okoboji Events Channel to broadcast live some sporting events.  Our first was the wrestling double dual we hosted on Thursday and our next live event will be the wrestling dual vs Spirit Lake next Thursday.  

It truly was a great day and a great event!  Now it is time to roll up our sleeves as a school and community and get to the hard work of keeping our kids energized about being a Pioneer and being part of something great!  Thank you for your support in this and all our endeavors.  Every great school is a part of a great community and Okoboji is no exception.  

Are you Proud to be One?  I know I am!


Sunday, January 9, 2011

Competition and Cooperation in Public Schools

I love competition. In high school I competed in cross country and track. I loved lining up next to guys with all different colored jerseys on and letting the course decide who was the best. During my time as a classroom teacher I also coached both of these sports. My two favorite coaching events each year were the state cross country and state track meets. Seeing all of those different schools represented and watching all of those kids line up with nothing but a stopwatch and the next 100 or 400 or 3000 meters to separate them. Competition brings out some great characteristics and teaches some important lessons.

I love being an Okoboji Pioneer. I love watching the maroon and white square off against area schools on the field, the court, the track, and more. I also love watching our debaters go toe-to-toe with some of the best schools in the state and the nation.

As much as I love competition, today I want to talk about the need for more cooperation in public education. By cooperating, schools can provide their students with more learning opportunities, as measured both by number and quality. As we have discussed in past posts, I firmly believe that we are preparing our students for a brave new world. We are sending our kids into a world that will expect them to compete for jobs with people not only from around the state and nation, but from around the world. I also believe we need to offer a wide variety of learning experiences as a way to help students identify and build skills and knowledge in their various areas of interest and talent.

Small schools have a difficult time doing this because of limits on number of staff, size and availability of space and supplies, etc. Despite these limitations, if you drove to any one of the several school districts within a 20 mile radius, you would see basically the same programs and offerings repeated at each school. You would, unfortunately, also see very little sharing or cooperation among districts. Small schools have a unique challenge that needs to be addressed with unique solutions.

If you were to stop by a certain classroom in the small Central Iowa school of Van Meter (certified enrollment of 623) you would see, on a daily basis, a classroom filled with around 20 students and being led by two teachers. Doesn't sound very unique you say? What I didn't tell you is that only half of the students and one of the teachers is located in Van Meter Iowa. The other half, and the other teacher, are in Philadelphia, PA. This class is a great example of how, using technology, we can do something we could not before. Each of these sets of students work together with their classmates thousands of miles away to complete class projects and assignments. They learn together, just as they would if they were in the same room. This is cooperation. This is two schools working together to provide a better learning experience than either one could offer alone.

Technology advances and 1:1 computing create the fertile soil in which progressive educators can grow new opportunities for collaboration and expanded learning opportunities. Next week our Okoboji administrative team will join the administrative team from Spirit Lake to begin some very exciting discussions on how our two schools can work together to expand and enrich learning opportunities for students of both districts. Such collaboration, in my humble opinion, is essential to equipping students in small schools with learning opportunities that are just as deep and wide as the ones they could experience in a larger school, with the huge advantage of the individual attention and family climate you can only get in a small community. We don't yet know what direction these opportunities will take. By working together, both schools may be able to offer courses that would never be financially viable to offer alone. I envision a future in which Okoboji students are working collaboratively in classroom settings with students from around Dickinson County, Iowa, and beyond.

This is an exciting time for education.  For the first time we have the technology and tools available to truly expand learning outside our own four walls.  Technology and the ability to connect over time and space are changing at a very rapid pace.  Our job is to make sure the human capital - which will always be the most important part of the equation, is ready to keep pace.