I’m writing this morning from the last morning of the Building New Pathways Working Meeting, which stopped being a Listening Retreat and became the Working Meeting at around 10:30am yesterday, as the larger group of assembled National Writing Project leaders headed home and a smaller subset of the group stayed to begin their work as action teams, tasked with synthesizing the stuff we heard, and additional needs and experiences of the network, into something tangible for local sites to use to build new pathways for leadership in their work.
There are two working teams:
- A Knowledge Base Team, tasked with curating and collecting and helping to make more visible, discussable and useful the many collected existing resources of the National Writing Project to help local sites think about and bring to life the work of building new pathways to leadership in the NWP.
- A Badges Team, which I’m co-facilitating, tasked with identifying ways to use microcredentialling and badging to help local sites make visible and discussable (and actionable) some of the many, many characteristics of “NWP leaders” or “teacher leaders” or “educator leaders.”1 It might also be that badges are visible invitations to help people who wish to adopt a role of “NWP leader,” formally or informally, begin to explore and adopt that role.
Later this week, the NWP will release an RFP2 to provide some support to local sites who want to explore and develop some new pathways to leadership, too. Neat stuff. Prototypes. Design sprints. Massive success and failure potential all at the same time. Hooray, bravery!
Our tasks are great. While we’ve got two years to develop the things we were tasked to make, we’ll be sprinting our way to drafts that the network can see, review, and critique and improve every few months along the way. There are many paths we could take through this work, but sometimes the hardest part isn’t following the path to the finish line – it’s finding a place to start.
So we’re working today to identify some of our roads into the work. Already, the intersection of experiences, expertise and thoughtfulness has provided useful friction to modify how I’m thinking about the right place to start, and the right checkpoints along the way. Pretty cool.
Though I’m humbled by the work ahead, I’m excited today to work with thoughtful colleagues, friends, and new friends, to build tools and resources to support leadership in and beyond the NWP today and tomorrow. Putting smart people from all over into the same spaces to work through difficult problems of practice matters. It’s important. It’s how pathways get built.
Deep breath. Here we go.