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iLEAD Agua Dulce’s Annual School Wide Project Fosters Collaboration, Community and Creativity

iLEAD Agua Dulce School Wide Project

School wide projects are an amazing way to develop community, collaboration, creativity, empathy, as well as a sense of common purpose for the learners and staff on any campus. For iLEAD Agua Dulce, this has become a successful tradition and embedded into the culture of their learning community.

The Why
As a school, iLEAD Agua Dulce has already established the tradition of doing a school wide project at the beginning of the school year for a variety of foundational reasons. Last year, iLEAD Agua Dulce challenged their learners TK-8 with the driving question of “How Can I Spread The Joy of Toys?” This was hugely successful and served as a model for others. Indeed, the Portrait Of A School Wide Project was published in Getting Smart.

In keeping with tradition, and wanting to bring their new TK-9 learning community together with a collective challenge, they have just introduced this year’s school wide project. The driving question is “How Can We Inform Others Of What It Means To Be An iLEADer?”

School wide projects are, according to Director Lisa Latimer, at the heart of what makes their learning community very special and successful.

“Facilitating a school wide project creates collaboration, community, and sets the standard for the rest of the year,” said Latimer. “The learners understand their why and learn to be part of a real learning culture.”

This collaborative spirit is not only evident in the learners, but also in the facilitators. Through the school wide project, Latimer said the staff becomes more adept at problem solving, communication, and embracing an overall common mission. “The facilitators end up doing better work together overall and become part of a healthier facilitator culture,” said Latimer.

The Driving Question By Grade Level

TK/K/1st: How can I build my curiosity to be an iLEAD Learner?

1st/2nd: How can I embody the 8 Habits and Character Lab Traits so that I can become a successful member of the iLEAD Community?

3rd/4th/5th: How Can I Identify With The iLEAD Acronym And Inspire Others?

6th: How Can We Effectively Showcase The Unique Culture of iLEAD Agua Dulce So That Families Choose Our School?

7th/8th: How Can We Create A Monument That Reflects The Legacy Of The iLEAD Culture?

9th: How Can I Use My High School Experience So That I Can “Show Up” In Life And Community Now And After High School?

Sample Of The Planned Public Products

“The 1st/2nd Graders will be creating a variety of products including, but not limited to a class commitment, a narrative reflection, a journal, a banner, an 8 Habits Tree and a class puzzle.” – Facilitator Rhonna Horney

“3rd Graders will be producing an artifact bag, an 8 Habits poster, a poetry and writing piece to name a few.” – Facilitator Angel Gallegos

“5th Grade will be creating an Art Gallery to display their product. It will be an art piece that signifies how they identify with the iLEAD acronym.” – Facilitator Taige Steese

Facilitator / Learner Engagement

“I am most excited that learners will be fully engaging wholeheartedly with our social and emotional ideals within the first few weeks of school. The learners are eager to learn, but I think they are most excited when they are able to create. So, all of the art pieces that will go alongside this project will have them excited.”
– Facilitator Rhonna Horney

“I am the most excited about getting to see all of the different items that learners will put into the time capsule. I feel that learners are also excited about the time capsule.”
– Facilitator Angel Gallegos

“I think this school wide project will help our learners connect with each other more than other projects would.” – Facilitator Taige Steese

Skills / Experiences

“I am hoping the learners will have a solid understanding of the 8 habits and character lab traits, as well as be able to put them to use. I am envisioning a class where the language of the 8 habits and character lab traits are used regularly and organically throughout the entire year.” – Facilitator Rhonna Horney

“I am hoping that the learners will get to learn more about themselves and find their voice.” – Facilitator Angel Gallegos

“I am hoping that my learners learn how to connect with others as well as themselves. I hope they learn our 8 habits and character lab traits. I hope my learners improve their presentation skills as well as their design skills.” – Facilitator Taige Steese

The Presentations Of Learning

“Our Presentation Of Learning will be via zoom. Learners will be able to share their narrative journals with them, as well as show that they understand the 8 habits and character lab traits. They will be able to show the direct ways they have contributed to our class culture and made it a space of their own.”
– Facilitator Rhonna Horney

“Our Presentation Of Learning is going to be an art gallery and a time capsule.” – Facilitator Angel Gallegos

Final Facilitator Thoughts

“The school wide project brings a sense of community. It is a time for all of us to create campus morale among all of the learners. It provides a great opportunity to start the year off on the same page and on a good foot.” – Facilitator Rhonna Horney

“I think it is important because learners can see how we can work together as a community to achieve a common goal. Learners are not only learning about their classmates, but about other learners in the school.” – Facilitator Angel Gallegos

“I think the school wide project is important for the facilitators and learners to build a sense of community.” – Facilitator Taige Steese

Final Thoughts

Latimer sees this specific project, as well as school wide projects overall, as a means to accomplish so much in a very global, collaborative effort.

“These types of projects spark curiosity and inquiry, while being relevant, personalized and engaging. It encompasses all areas of the curriculum,” said Latimer. “More importantly, it allows our learners to have the autonomy to have voice and choice.”

Posted on September 15, 2021 in iLEAD Digest, Projects

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About the Author

Michael Niehoff is an educator, leader, writer and learner advocate.
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