In July, we hosted 90 partners and colleagues for the Summer Design Institute, three days of learning, designing, and growing as professionals and adult learners within the Building 21 Network.

We welcomed teachers and administrators from across the country, as well as many partners and supporters from across the region and beyond. This year’s focus, was personal and professional agency; participants were challenged to own their design, architect their professional development, and arrange an individual conference path. Participants chose sessions, conversations, and conference offerings that maximized both their preparation for the year to come and personal growth.

After a day of introduction or reintroduction to CBE and the Building 21 design principles, participants decided how to spend their time.

Some worked in teams to create interdisciplinary studios ready for feedback from their peers. Others attended a mix of sessions and workshops, deepening their understanding of youth development and Building 21 systems. Many combined these two paths, allowing time for design and planning and time for learning and personal development.

In addition  to Network leaders, school-based design and culture experts and our partner Teaching Lab assumed responsibility for workshop facilitation. The Institute leveraged this internal expertise and partnership to offer more choice and conference pathways for participants. This flexibility allowed teachers and administrators to meet their unique professional development needs and interests. It also allowed for teams to come together by grade-team, content area, or interest, regardless of school or affiliation.

From Restorative Practices to Instructional Coaching, Peer Mentoring to Data-Driven Decision Making, Google Sites to Trauma-Informed Care, participants chose from an array of offerings (see collection of offerings and resources here) and were able to learn new skills and dialog with peers and partners about important elements that support the Building 21 instructional model.

On the final day, teachers, either solo or in teams, had the opportunity to pitch their design for feedback from their peers.

Using a modified tuning protocol, participants in the audience asked clarifying questions and shared their reactions to studio concepts, providing teachers with ideas, resources, wonderings, and encouragement.

A highlight of the week were some special guests!

Building 21 graduates, attending Kutztown University and Penn State, and current students joined the Institute to provide feedback on teachers’ design work and insight on the skills and mindsets needed to succeed in post-secondary education and career. Teachers had an opportunity to pitch their studio ideas to the students and discuss their Building 21 experiences and hopes for the future. Stepping into this leadership role came naturally to this group of young men and women and encouraged teachers to seek student voice as they design for their learners.

We look forward to sharing more about our teacher’ studio design and outcomes throughout the year. And, to all teachers and school leaders, we wish you well as you begin the 2019-2020 school year.