OESIS 2016

OESIS has a simple mission statement: Our mission is to catalyze the considerable 21st century opportunities for independent school growth.  We do that by maximizing collaboration between the many schools that constitute the independent school tapestry, by provoking innovative conversations, by globalizing connections for independent schools and by using research and information to lead.

Once again, I attended the annual OESIS Conference in Los Angeles at the end of February.  In some ways, it is the anti-NAIS Conference.  The sessions feature Classes of the Future, 30 minute sessions run by teachers, who present on the great things they are doing in the classroom.  In some ways, I wish these were longer and more interactive.  Also featured are Think Tanks, which are deeper dives into curricular innovations.  Again, I wish these were more interactive but I’m always impressed by the transformative teaching and learning taking place in independent schools across the country.

I presented two sessions at OESIS: Physics, Design and Social Justice; as well as Entrepreneurship 101.  It’s always great to talk about my students’ work.


I also attended several interesting sessions.  Laurel Springs School’s Director of Education Megan Palevich spoke on looking at blended learning and personalized instructions.  She shared many success stories from Laurel Springs and it sparked the idea that this approach to learning could be successful for many students.  Their “goals and objectives” suggest the following.


I’m looking forward to taking the course on Personalized Learning through OSG this summer!

I also attended a Think Tank session by Berwick Academy on their transition from AP courses to innovation pursuits.  This is an awesome program for sure and an interesting partnership between the Director of Innovation and the Director of College Counseling.

According to their website, ”

An Innovation Pursuit (IP) is a completely student-driven and student-directed endeavor. The subject choice is dependent upon each individual student’s passion. Student inquiry is personalized and the outcome is deeper learning and a greater appreciation of the topic.
Innovation Pursuits directly foster and instill the skills required in 21st century education. Students conduct original research and critically think about new ways to problem solve. Each IP includes creative elements of originality. Students collaborate and make connections with other experts in their fields, and Innovation students strengthen communication skills and share their projects outside of the Berwick community. And it all begins with student choice!”
To me, these Innovation Pursuits are a thoughtful way to infuse curriculum with student voice and choice, to connect students with real-world mentors and to generate meaningful learning experiences for students who like to reimagine the box.  Two enthusiastic thumbs up!

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