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Create Something Great

Session 4
Mary Murphy, Russell Loucks — Douglas County School District Colorado

Create Something Great: an innovative shift in instructional practice. Shifting instructional practice from a traditional model to an innovative constructivist learning model for a large school district can be a daunting task. It starts with one small statement between two educators. The statement, “What we need is a think tank for teachers.” became a catalyst for change in the Douglas County School District. It just takes a vision for collaboration and networking. You can do this too.

A think tank was created for teachers by teachers to come together for a three day think tank to reinvent American education. Incorporating the design thinking protocol participants created prototypes for shifting instructional practice. This highly successful think tank has transformed teaching and learning from an event to a culture of innovation. As a follow-up the teachers created a network that has evolved into monthly meetups to support the implementation of their prototypes.

To quote some of our participants, “I loved being pushed to think outside the box and develop truly innovative ideas.” “One of the best professional development opportunities in my 21 years as a teacher.” “I feel incredibly inspired about next year.” “This was a fabulous experience. I can’t wait to continue the journey.”

Join us in a conversation and share ideas regarding the expansion of this local network to a national conversation that will empower educators, community members, and industry to collectively transform the culture of American education by building common understandings, designing specific solutions, and implementing sustainable reform.

Conversational Practice

Presenters will share the change that they have experienced through this think tank in their district. We will show a video with students and teacher members of CSG network to hear how it has impacted instruction and learning. The idea building and conversation will continue through the Create Something Great site. A challenge will be provided for the participants and the Sharing Best Practices protocol will be used to guide participants to explore ideas and ways to expand this project. Challenge: How do we expand this local conference to a national think tank for shifting instructional practice? Participants will address and share with others through empathetic dialogue three items that address issues that can shift mindsets. The changes that have happened with instructional practice in their own school district How they can scale the positive direction of any change in instructional practice, Determine whether a shift in practice is or can actually grow, or if it resides in pockets without a way to expand and grow.

Presenter Profiles

Russell Loucks
Russell Loucks
Douglas County School District


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