The ability to have lasting impact almost seems to have mystic qualities. There seems to be certain people or organizations, that no matter what, find the secret sauce of creating lasting impact for others.
Parker Palmer, author and community thought-leader, comes to mind as someone who has done that either through his written word or presentations. Classic reads of his include: The Courage to Teach and Let Your Life Speak. All of them move quickly past the superficial, surface platitudes and take deep dives into the soul and spirit of our living and the work we commit our lives too.
Companies, such as Starbucks or Apple seem to relentlessly captivate the human spirit and find ways to impact our lives that no one would have dreamt possible before. These wide-flung impacts seem to come out of thin-air from nothing. Yet, these impacts did not occur by mistake. It is not some magical, unattainable quality, even us engaged in the craft of teaching and learning can capture it!
Each of the examples provided above were not by accident. They were intentional, purposeful. Planning for impact may seem straightforward enough, but do we honestly do it? What is the impact we hope our educational efforts will impart on our students, parents, and community-at-large? How are we engaging our full staff and community stakeholders in planning for that impact? Are we having broad community-building conversations about how our culture of learning in school can positively impact all persons within our community?
These answers will NEVER look the same from place to place and all the more better, and here is why:
- Each community has specific needs that an educational partnership with the local schools can create Win-Win dynamics for ALL stakeholders.
- The interpretation of impact varies from person-to-person, this adds meaning and buy-in, when these interpretations can be valued and expanded upon.
- No process will ever be perfect, but a process built in tandem with the greater community will receive more grace and support than one held solely in the hands of those directly engaged inside our centers of learning.
- Finally, our impact can be exponentially accelerated and deepened when we sign-on diverse partners in our work of teaching and learning. Others desire to have impact and if we can create a channel where their gifts can be used for that cause I can promise previous barriers will fall, and fall quickly.
The question becomes what will you do as we enter an exciting time to think about planning for long-term impact. The upcoming year is 2019. By December of 2019 we will be unveiling our 2020 Blue Valley Agricultural Education Vision, our vision will layout plans specifically for the next five years, but will broadly tackle questions of impact through 2050. I’ll be excited to share insights from the process and how we approached facilitating these broad community conversations.
If you were looking for an excuse to have conversations of long-term impact. Let me provide it! There is no better year to have those conversations than this year of 2019. I challenge each of my educator peers, no matter what role you play; whether as a principal, counselor, university professor, or K-12 classroom instructor. Layout a plan for the next five years for yourself personally, your family, and professionally. Finally, seek ways to have engaging conversations on the topics/questions forged above.
We are stronger together. Planning for lasting impact requires all stakeholders to be engaged, it won’t happen overnight, but we can be the spark! Cheers to a New Year and as always, thanks for reading!
Writer’s Note: Some exciting happenings in the world of Profiles in Learning are sailing down a river near you! First has to do with a few blog posts coming up! Roger W. Davis (who partners with me on designing beautiful graphics for the site) and I are cowriting a blog post about overcoming writer’s block as educators and why it makes a difference. We’ve all been there before, too much going on or the faucet of inspiration has run dry…maybe it is both! Hopefully though, we will provide the spark of motivation to see the value in breaking through! Expect that post sometime in January.
Next, I’m in the midst of working on a community blog post…what’s that you ask? It will be different from any post I’ve written thus far and it is stretching me (I’ve told myself this is a good thing!). It is an interview style blog post with five other outstanding educators from different fields and backgrounds. The topic for now is a secret and only the five select educators and my loyal cat Patches know it. 😉 I’ll be excited to share that post in January as well.
Finally, there are a few more tremendous updates and I’m horrible at keeping secrets, so this is killing me, but for now my lips are sealed. Stay tuned to Twitter and this blog for further updates through the New Year! Thanks for being educators of lasting, positive impact and above all thanks for being such good friends on this journey!