The school year has come to an end and it gives me a minute to reflect on all that we accomplished this year and to look forward to what the coming years will bring to the City of Bridges community.
The 2020-2021 school year was a remarkable example of finding innovative solutions to unforeseen challenges. A quick reminder, City of Bridges High School (along with every school in the state of Pennsylvania) became a virtual school, on Friday the 13th, 2020, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Last spring, we ran a personalized remote school and although we were able to provide meaningful and purposeful learning, we knew that we needed to be together this year.
So…we moved outside. If you have ever asked yourself, can you run a learner centered, progressive high school outside in Pittsburgh for the majority of the school year? I can tell you from experience that the answer is YES.
The students, faculty, families and community members came together to demonstrate that when you are open to problem solving, critical thinking and creative solutions you can find solutions to situations which arise unexpectedly.
Thank you to everyone who was a part of the City of Bridges community this year.
Sauerkraut Balls and Amazing Veggie Burgers
A number of weeks ago, I offered to help out a friend as he re-imagined and re-opened his amazing restaurant, Butterjoint, here in Pittsburgh. He took me up on that offer and as a result I spent a number of evenings and nights back in the kitchen. I had worked in kitchens during college and graduate school, but long ago hung up my chef’s knife and replaced it with a pencil.
I arrived in the kitchen on a Thursday, a little while before service began and one of the kitchen staff walked me through the menu items that I would be responsible for that evening. Due to my prior understanding, I was able to add this new knowledge to a framework. Dinner service that evening was slow, so I was able to practically apply my new knowledge to a real situation in such a way that I was pushed to learn, but not overwhelmed. As one would expect, Friday night was significantly busier and I continued to grow and learn. By the time I reached my third service on Saturday, I was able to begin to reflect on my work, alter my systems, and refine my movements.
After my shifts, I thought about this experience and its application to our work at City of Bridges. We too are trying to build foundations of understanding, upon which we build new knowledge, which we then apply to meaningful and purposeful tasks. We reflect on our work and strive to improve our learning. The cycle is simple to describe, but complex to enact.
1. We learn something new that builds on prior knowledge.
2. We apply that knowledge in an experience that is challenging, but not frustrating.
3. We reflect on that experience and on our learning.
City of Bridges is striving every day to learn something new, to apply our new knowledge and then reflect on our learning.
Are you curious about some of the educational philosophy that is the foundation of the City of Bridges community? If so, I am going to be launching a newsletter that talks about educational philosophy and models and current events in education etc. This is a new endeavor and it will surely evolve in the coming weeks and months. Keep your eyes out for a sign-up link in the near future.
The City of Bridges Patreon page has been quiet for a little while, but will soon have a lot of great content. Please consider becoming a patron of our work, you can join here. It is one of the most direct ways that you can support our community.
The past year has been challenging and it is an honor to be part of a community that cares so deeply about each other. I have said it before and I’ll say it again, Thank You.
With Gratitude and Appreciation,