This evening I had some wonderful conversations with John McGettigan and Vincent Mamer about the upcoming Saskatoon Festival of Learning in February 2014, as well as the ways Saskatoon community leaders are coming together under the banner of creativity to support high quality schools for every student. Both John and Vincent came to Oklahoma City last November for our annual Creativity Forum, and have been working closely with Sir Ken Robinson on a similar creativity initiative for Saskatoon. I’m extremely energized by and hopeful for the work they are doing with Sir Ken and other international education leaders like Pasi Sahlberg. As a result of our conversations I’ve added “Finnish Lessons: What Can the World Learn from Educational Change in Finland?” by Pasi Sahlberg to my “read soon” list, as well as “A Fair Country: Telling Truths About Canada” by John Ralston Saul.

Vincent shared the following radio spot with me tonight, which is airing on Saskatoon radio now. It reminds me of the outstanding work being done by the “Nebraska Loves Public Schools” project coordinators and videographers. It’s a simple message, but a vitally important one we cannot forget and need to constantly remind our fellow community members about: TEACHERS ARE THE SILVER BULLET TO IMPROVE EDUCATION.

There are lots of parallels to the challenges as well as opportunities we face in Saskatchewan, Oklahoma, and Nebraska. Check out the recent video from Nebraska Loves Public Schools, “Standing Up To Poverty.” Do the realities portrayed in that video resonate with you? “We have a message we need to share with the nations.” It’s about creativity, it’s about the importance of relationships between teachers and students, and it’s about a VISION for high quality schools for EVERYONE irrespective of demographics or socio-economic level.

Kudos to the Saskatoon Teacher’s Association for sharing this message not only through social media, but also through mainstream media channels like local radio. These are messages we need to amplify and share. We have the opportunity to “write the future together” and collaboratively open doors of opportunity for our students that wouldn’t be open otherwise.

Teachers can open the door. As a teacher, never forget the vital role you and I can play every day in making a difference in the lives of young people and adults. We are the “educational reform movement” which our students need and deserve. We are the hands and feet of “the learning revolution,” and it’s not all about technology. It’s about relationships, it’s about caring, it’s about high expectations, and it’s about passion for both learning and for people. Sir Ken Robinson “gets it,” and I’m glad to hear him sharing those ideas with educational stakeholders in Saskatoon.

open the door

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