Season 8 Cohort,

Happy Thanksgiving! I hope this email finds you rested and rejuvenated after a well deserved long-weekend. It is hard to believe that it was only 10 days ago that we all gathered together at the York School to kick off another year of super-charged professional growth and action. Since then so much has happened!  The Cohort 21 blogs have been full of activity, we have had our first Season 8 Twitter Chat, our website got a refresh and Eliud Kipchoge broke the 2 hr marathon record and the Teaching Tomorrow podcast posted another awesome episode. What a week!

Looking ahead to our second face session at Branksome Hall (Saturday November 16th – 8:30am-3:30pm) we wanted to review our “to do’s” in order to prepare and set that day up for success. So with that day in mind between now and then please schedule some time to do the following:

  1. Dust off the Homework Placemat from the 1st face to face. If you need to print off another 11 x 17 copy you can grab one here. This activity is designed to help you identify a current unmet need or challenge that your students/teachers are facing. It is also designed to help you see it from multiple perspectives. Interviewing your students and staff will help deepen this perspective or possibly shift it in a new direction. Fill in the placemat and collect your insights from the process.

Some of you will have come to Cohort 21 with a school supported or division directed project in mind. This process works for that situation as well. Validate the need for this project by revisiting its strategic origin story and interviewing those it seeks to impact. You will either come away with an even deeper appreciation for the work you are about to embark on or a possible shift in direction that might make your work even more impactful.

The time you spend now investigating and researching the direction you might take your Action Plan will really pay off at the next face to face where we run you through our Design Thinking protocols to help your refine and narrow your focus. It could be some of the most valuable work you do. Solutions are a dime a dozen but finding the right question to ask is where the magic happens.

  1. Post to your blog. Start with a brief reflection from the 1st face to face. We would love your feedback and thoughts as we are always trying to improve. Follow that with your insights from Step #1 (above). What did you learn from your interviews and research? Did your urgency get validated or did your thinking shift in some way?  Connect your coaches, facilitator and fellow Action Plan group members to your process by calling them out in your post using the “@”+firstinitial+lastname directory tool. The “@” symbol in comments and posts calls up the entire cohort directory and is a great way to personalize your posts call for support or spread kind kudos.

  2. Watch this brief “Blogging Best Practices video”. It highlights a few important tips and tricks. Pro Tip: If you want your post to be included on the Home Page of the Cohort 21 main site don’t forget to add a “Featured Image” to your post. Scroll all the way down to the bottom of your post and you will see this menu (see image below). Upload an image and volia…You are famous!… (To us anyway 🙂

  1. Join one of the Season 8 October and November Twitter chats. Connect with fellow members and share your early action plan thinking. The last chat was really well attended! The next one is on October 22nd. Check out the #cohort21 hashtag for all the action.

That’s all for now!

More details to come about the 2nd Face to Face @ Branksome Hall (Saturday November 16th 8:30am-3:30pm). Have a Great October, good luck with you interviews and see you soon!


The Cohort 21 Team

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