Ten years into the 21st Century and Denise Waalen was eager to “get going.”

Denise, the Director of Educational Services at Spring Lake Park in Minnesota, was charged this year with figuring out what changes in learning and teaching were going to be necessary for the district. Thus, Powerful Learning Practice was a perfect fit.

“We thought PLP would be a great way to further our own learning and determine what it would mean for teachers and students,” she said. “We all had students who knew more about the tools than we did.”

The team became part of the TriState Cohort and jumped into the program. Denise said they liked the online support, being held accountable for sharing on Elluminate, and being responsible for “their own learning.”

In fact, it was the “lack of prescription” during the year that helped her teachers move forward, knowing they would be asking the same of their students.

“PLP was very successful in that it helped the sharing of ideas and collaboration: our team was diverse…but it didn’t matter about the background,” she said. They came together, finding the work challenging but inspiring.

Their project, a summer “mini-PLP” format, has drawn 65 teachers who will learn and share online. Two face to face sessions are also in place with groups splitting out to learn Twitter, Facebook, and other social media.

The team, transformed in so many ways, is ready for year two.

“I am really interested in talking to Sheryl about what our second year will look like,” Denise said. “They have been so responsive to our needs, especially when we look at how many people they have (in the program)!”

Well done, Spring Lake Park.

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Susan Carter Morgan

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