Teachers at Seven Peaks thrive because they are empowered and supported with an average of 20 hours of weekly preparation, peer/parent collaboration and professional development time compared to approximately 5 hours or less in public school settings.
We believe that innovation should be at the heart of the educational model. However, innovation should be about developing the skills of our staff, not about new programs. In order for innovation to be successful, a significant amount of time needs to be dedicated to professional development for our teachers. Professional development should emphasize approaches to teaching, the language used by the teacher to inspire complex, critical thinking, not solely focus on content or structures. Professional development must be about the people and their skills, much more than about the new programs and resources.
Innovation is about people, working towards a common goal, and learning from one another through a reflective journey of self-reflection and evaluation. If we want innovation to be the norm, not the latest trend in education, we must focus on the people, the process and the skills, not the product. In order for innovation to be sustainable, we must provide ample time for teachers to explore the new skills in practice, through peer observation and collegial dialogue.
No innovation will be successful if the culture of the school does not value and cultivate relationships. Safety, trust and respect are critical components of positive relationships, and the key to an innovative environment. Relationships create a sense of belonging, encourage accountable conversations, open the door to self-reflection, risk-taking, and lead teams to value failure as opportunities to grow and become stronger. If we strive to look for ways to invest in the people in their school communities, we will pleasantly find ourselves disrupting the norm, and creating the context for innovation. Products are not innovative. People who create are innovative!
When we keep learning at the center of our educational model, innovation is a natural byproduct. Innovation is about identifying a problem, researching possible solutions, and considering solutions through multiple lenses. Often the best solutions disrupt the norm. When we foster a safe educational environment where teachers model being risk-takers, open-minded and learners, not only will innovation become the norm, but becoming innovative thinkers will become the model for students. At Seven Peaks School, we are shifting away from a culture of teaching to a culture of learning that inspires innovative people! Our teacher team is exceptionally trained and passionately dedicated to embodying a culture of innovative learning!