Our first three DLEs at Marion C Moore were a huge success; hundreds of kids displayed work they cared about and thousands of empathetic audience members engaged with our students. However, the recruitment of students and an audience fell almost completely on the shoulders of four full time teachers. The students on the stage and hosting booths were the students of these four teachers. The parents and community members who received personalized invitations was the work of these four teachers. Teachers who have multiple preps, coach sports, lead extra-curriculars, and head their departments. Teachers who do not have any extra planning periods, just extra work, no extra pay.
The level of sacrifice that is required to lead these exhibitions is not sustainable if only four teachers are leading and a handful more in the building are contributing. It’s a Herculean task with auspicious rewards: mentorships strengthen, students connect in collaboration, interdependent leadership takes root, influence in the community widens, personal and social transformation thrives. But DLEs cannot be the work of the few; they need to be the work of the many. If not, not only are DLEs not sustainable, they’re inequitable. The students who don’t have those “few teachers” aren’t given equal opportunity to participate. Thus, we were faced with the question:
How can we encourage others to lead DLEs and further transform the culture of our building to where students work BEYOND THE TEST and EXHIBIT STUDENT-CHOSEN WORK TO A REAL AUDIENCE?
We decided that the best way to distribute this leadership was through our Academies: STEM, Health Sciences, and Community.