“We live in a complex world, we often don’t know what’s going on, and we won’t be able to understand it’s complexity unless we spend more time in not knowing.”
-Margaret Wheatley, Willing to Be Disturbed
Educators speak of the need for our school systems to change, but rarely does an opportunity arise for voicing their dreams, to develop pathways for effective changes to begin. Recently, fourteen teams of educators representing six of Nevada’s seventeen school districts spent “time in not knowing” to identify the small steps they’ll take to make big changes in education. The Nevada Portrait Piloting Process hosted its first virtual meeting in January, connecting teachers and administrators across a geographic area spanning 110,000 miles. Some joined us by phone, as they bused with their students to robotics competitions, others put aside personal time on a Saturday morning to learn more about the Portrait of a Nevada Learner and how the Portrait can be used as a guiding star for designing and implementing systemic changes in our schools that will directly impact the experiences of Nevada’s 486,500 students.
Between January and June, school teams are connecting the Portrait of a Nevada Learner with their district/school team-based dream projects designed to generate meaningful change in their schools. The Portrait of a Nevada Learner guides each team’s goal and keeps their dream project on course. Teams are spending time in “not knowing” because the Portrait is still in draft form. Based on a series of education stakeholder conversations in 2022, four Portrait themes have emerged. Students, as lifelong learners, need to:
connect with others
contribute their skills to the community, and
thrive through life’s inevitable challenges.
As team members reviewed the four themes from their perspectives (ranging from Pre-K though adult learning), many voiced their favorable comments, based on the Portrait’s design to connect individual students with their role in the community.
The teams look forward to spending more time in not knowing as they begin to better understand and guide the complexities of building the future of learning that supports every student in Nevada. We invite you to follow and be part of our progress as the Portrait of a Nevada Learner continues to address the complexities of our learners.