How has the learning community impacted your project, organization, school, or community (your choice)?
The learning community has impacted our project by having a positive impact on me as the project lead.
Having a diverse (administrators/educators/community members, rural/urban, artists-visual & performing) community to ideate with and learn from, has greatly extended my thinking and knowing. Being exposed to other people who are energetically exploring new territory in arts education for the benefit of students has felt very inspiring and uplifting. Every time we gather, I come back to my project with new energy and many new ideas to implement within our specific project. This community has also inspired me to guide our team and school staff in taking responsible risks within all of our practices and thinking.
How do you think it might shape your work going forward?
It has given me new ideas for finishing up this school year and finishing up the 5th year of funding.
As for the years ahead, I’m hoping the principal and art teacher on our team will feel like they have this learning community to go to if they have questions pertaining to: leadership, art education, arts integration, or other information that this community can offer.
As for my own professional work, I will continue to connect with multiple people from this community with future work.
What has been the most useful aspect for you?
The work we’ve been doing has been very innovative and unlike most other jobs in education so having social/emotional connection to other like-minded and like-work people to lean on for support has been greatly appreciated.
Is there a particular topic, event, or activity from a previous meeting or rendezvous that stands out to you as especially impactful?
Bringing in artists from our Oregon community during our conferences helped me remember the long term, possible effects of what the impact of our hard work could bring; it also kept reminded me of what I value and want for all students.
What has been most challenging for you?
Navigating the different organizational systems within the project was at times challenging. Trying to figure out how to hear ideas and bring ideas to the adults in the school, organization, and community so that we all could understand each other better was something that we all worked hard on. Within the different systems comes different ideas about what is best for each of our work and what’s best for students. This naturally had us stepping into disequilibrium to grow our ideas together.
Our project was very innovative which brings with it unpredictable outcomes. A big challenge for me was supporting myself and the people I work with in fostering the exploration of new ideas about education and arts integration.
What do you wish OCF did differently, or would do differently when developing learning communities like this in the future?
I felt really supported with this learning community as the project lead, because we were able to meet more often and meet as a leads-specific group. In the future, I think it would be helpful for all the different people on the teams to be able to meet with their own particular job assignment-groups more often so they too could develop deeper relationships with their peer groups.
Written by Tina Eckton