February Reflections from an Oregon Learning Tour | IDEA

February Reflections from an Oregon Learning Tour

Posted by Crystal Mattison on Apr 09, 2015 - 10:24 AM


Spring has fully sprung in certain areas of the country. Despite the pollen, this is definitely one of my favorite seasons. One of the seasons I absolutely L-O-V-E. The type of love you feel in February as some of us celebrate Valentine’s Day and Black History Month. The type of love you feel when you know you are making a difference in your community or in someone’s life. With all that is going on across the country and world, I reflect on the bright spots, the hard work that folks are doing on the ground, and how we can better connect and share the brightness from city to city, state to state, and eventually country to country.

The bright spot I would like to highlight here is Oregon. Although the sun didn’t shine, it was cold and rainy, the brightness of the people and organizations we worked with shined through. In February, IDEA teamed up with the Heart of Oregon Corps and Two Sisters School District to do a mini-tour in the state of Oregon. The purpose of the tour was to learn more about democratic educational practices within the state while also figuring out how the school district and community organization can come together to develop a dynamic program for their youth. The tour participants were from the Heart of Oregon and Two Sisters Schools and included teachers, administrators, and community educators. Over the course of the two days, we visited four locations that practiced democratic education in many different ways: Kalapuya Alternative High School, the Academy of Arts and Academics, the Early College & Career Options at Lane Community College, and Trillium Charter School. For each site there was a specific component that we focused on. We were able to learn and have facilitated conversations about proficiency and project based learning, portfolio assessment, program design, contextual learning, constructivism, democratic education, and presentations of learning.

There was a lot of conversation, a lot of learning, a lot of sharing, and a lot of challenge. The tour was only the first step in making this giant leap towards a partnership that can (and I believe will) change the game as it pertains to education in Oregon and across the country. This pilot can definitely be used as an example for other areas that are trying to figure out the best way to connect the community with the school rather than looking at the two as independent of each other. So, what’s next? What are their next moves? What is their game plan? We will keep you posted in the months to come.

Shout out to IDEA Oregon Place Based Team and a special shout out to Organizer Darcy Bedortha for putting her blood, sweat and tears into making this happen! ONWARD.

*To look back on a lot of the action from the Heart of Oregon tour, check out this Storify containing all of the Tweets using #HOC_LearningTour from the event.