This summer JumpRope teammates have attended two Maine EdCamps, and last week MooseCampPBE took place in Dexter, Maine. Here’s what our Vanessa White had to say about it:
This was my first EdCamp, and wow, what an enlightening grassroots conference it was! The whole event, right down to the great food and door prizes, was was put on at no cost through the donations of others. As soon as I walked into Ridge View Community School, I was welcomed by the organizers, Matt Drewette-Card and Jon Pratt. There were 60 people registered for this event, and educators showed up from all over Maine and even from Vermont and Massachusetts. As with any EdCamp, we worked together to develop a schedule for the day's events based solely on what we were interested in learning about and sharing with others. I sat in on sessions where educators discussed their struggles and questions about transitioning to proficiency-based education and others offered strategies and resources that could help. The collaboration of such passionate educators who all clearly wanted to do what is best for kids, was energizing! While I walked away with a few questions to ponder, I also gained much insight, clarity, and few new friends. Perhaps my only disappointment of the day was that I saw no actual moose.
Becca Redman, a Maine secondary English teacher who was also in Dexter for this event, added this:
I was encouraged by the number of teachers, administrators, and policy makers who generally agreed that regardless of how we grade or what standards we use, assessment must separate out content growth and behavior. Even participants who seemed skeptical or maybe reluctant in the early stages of PBE agreed, as did some “traditional grading” folks.
Lastly, from Matt Drewette-Card, one of the organizers:
Maine’s undergoing a major paradigm shift with its educational system. The transition to a proficiency-based learning model has tremendous curricular, instructional, and pedagogical challenges. This transition, though, is worth the fight. It puts students at the center of their learning. It puts teachers in a position to facilitate and coach, rather than be responsible for...well...more than they ever anticipated. It requires clear, consistent, and meaningful feedback of student learning. As Maine progresses in this transition, teachers need to empower themselves and lead the charge in making our schools and systems student-centered and focused on personalized learning. That’s why we started MooseCampPBE. Teachers, policy makers, and administrators worked to collaboratively to develop effective rubrics, assess learning, handle the Guiding Principles, use technology tools, and understand the nuances of a proficiency-based learning system. EdCamps put learning in the hands of the conference attendees, and this model fits perfectly in driving our shift to a proficiency-based learning model. It was a fun, enlightening, and engaging day of teacher-driven professional development. Check out the MooseCampPBE website and follow us on Twitter.