This past Wednesday a new space for reflection and collaboration came in to being at Rio Del Sol, a NIC or Networked Improvement Committee. NICs have emerged in response to the growing need for collaboration, reflection and innovation within systems of daunting static inertia.
The gravitational center of our NIC is the IMP, or inquiry into my practice. The momentum of an IMP is inward; this is inquiry, not a show. The first IMP had this team constructing meaning with a piece of art, a painting by the abstract expressionist, Joan Mitchell.
We launched our NIC with this particular IMP in order to make visible durable practices embedded in an IMP: intentional collaboration, intentional reflection, and intentional instruction in the actions of a given discipline. What do, for example, mathematicians do? And, how we are intentionally engaging learners in these actions?
Besides learning the structure of an IMP and its necessary dispositions of building empathy and suspending judgment, we participants began thinking about questions we have around our own practice. What is it we want to get better at? For me, I want to find ways to bring what I know about literacy instruction to the new teaching and learning challenges I face at Rio. These challenges include new disciplines, and unifying these disciplines into coherent inquiry. The schools transdisciplinary vision means tearing down fortified silos of knowledge and pedagogy. What happens when those silos crumble?