As I was loading my groceries into my trunk the other afternoon, I couldn't help but observe a common action many of us are probably guilty of.....
A lady across the crowded parking lot from me had just finished loading her groceries into her car. Based on her facial expressions and pace, she appeared to be in a hurry. As she sat down in her car, a few pennies had fallen out of her left pant pocket. (I literally observed her stop to think for roughly two seconds whether or not she should get out of her car to scoop up the pennies she had dropped). She started to reach for one penny but quickly realized another penny had rolled underneath the car next to her. Therefore, she made a decision to leave the pennies and just drive away.
I suspect we have all been guilty of this at one point or another. After all, if you left a penny a day on the ground of a grocery lot for 365 days, this would only amount to $3.65. However, the act of leaving a few pennies on the ground represents a much larger symbolic presence. This presence is what I would like to address today.
This August, three Illinois school districts are starting the inaugural launch of the Expanding Learning Opportunities Consortium, commonly nicknamed "eLo". The three Illinois districts are: Indian Prairie District #204, Naperville District #203 and Wheaton Warrenville District #200.
These districts have joined forces to engage students and ensure their success by providing a meaningful and high-quality online learning experience in a locally supported environment. Together, this group of districts recognizes the substantial benefit for students of approaching online learning as a collective group leveraging the skills of teachers across district lines. This initial launch includes a diverse set of nine course offerings. The courses are being facilitated by ten passionate, innovative, and caring staff members across the eLo Consortium and presented to potential students from a total of seven high schools spanning the Consortium. In addition, as more and more post-secondary learning moves to a virtual space alongside workforce training and tasks, we hope this learning experience better positions our students to be more competitive in our interconnected global world.
So, back to the pennies......
John Wooded was once quoted as saying:
"It's the little things that are vital. Little things
make big things happen".
The eLo Consortium is no small endeavor. However, in order to ensure we provide our eLo students an authentic, engaging, and rigorous learning experience, we have to grab every penny off the ground including those pennies that roll in those uncomfortable spots underneath other cars. Every small detail must be accounted for and by accruing one successful detail on top of another a personalized learning experience will be created for our eLo students.
Each of the students matter. Each of the students counts. All the students may exceed learning expectations if we pay attention to the small details. So as we begin this eLo journey together, my challenge to our staff is to pay attention to the small details each and everyday of your class. The small details on day #1 are the most important:
Here is to a great year! I am anxiously excited to start as I know the promise of this year for our students is vast and filled with tremendous opportunity. So next time you drop that penny on the ground, I encourage you to immediately pick it back up. No corners may be cut. No detail related to student growth deserves to be left unattended. Let us share in this journey together picking up all pennies including those dropped by our students and colleagues.
Please come back and periodically check for other guest blog posts from our eLo staff and eLo students.