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Teachers hit the road to capture best practices of great schools

By Betsy Corcoran     Jul 24, 2012

Teachers hit the road to capture best practices of great schools

A Most Excellent--and Educational--Roadtrip

Here'sateacher-driven Kickstarter campaign well worth your dollars: Todd Sutlerhas been a full-time teacher for four years in New York City. Last year, he and colleagues Brooke Petersand Michelle Healy began talking about starting a school in Brooklynwith a powerful experiential learning focus. "Webelieve that 'learning by doing' has a more powerful impact on a child thanmemorization." So they reasoned, shouldn't they live the message andlearn from other great schools before starting their own? What they envisioned:spending time in the classrooms of great teachers all across America, videocamera in hand, and capturing--and sharing--what they saw.

By February, encouraged by a grant from a friend andSutler's steadfast conviction in the mission, the trio told their schoolprincipals they planned to hit the road in September with a videographer.

They call theirprogram the Odyssey Initiative. Toget additional funding--and to capture imaginations--they launchedtheir kickstarter campaign, which ends this coming weekend. (Pony up now!)"We want to observe the different stages that go into creatingrich classroom learning," Sutler declares.

The teachers figure they have enough funding--and proposed site visits--to fillSeptember and October, and create proof points that they hope will becompelling to larger funders. Their itinerary is packed with visits to at least three schools aweek. They plan to shoot hours of video, then edit it down into five-minutepolished gems. Sutler hopes to make longer versions available, too.

Over the course of a year, they intend to visit schools in all 50 states. Along the way, the trio isworking with researchers to build out observation protocols so that "wecan present findings in a way that the country will respect," and thenshare the videos widely.

"Howoften do three teachers get to travel the country and share the stories?" Sutler marvels. "We feel a social responsibility to do this right." 

Community

Teachers hit the road to capture best practices of great schools

By Betsy Corcoran     Jul 24, 2012

Teachers hit the road to capture best practices of great schools

A Most Excellent--and Educational--Roadtrip

Here'sateacher-driven Kickstarter campaign well worth your dollars: Todd Sutlerhas been a full-time teacher for four years in New York City. Last year, he and colleagues Brooke Petersand Michelle Healy began talking about starting a school in Brooklynwith a powerful experiential learning focus. "Webelieve that 'learning by doing' has a more powerful impact on a child thanmemorization." So they reasoned, shouldn't they live the message andlearn from other great schools before starting their own? What they envisioned:spending time in the classrooms of great teachers all across America, videocamera in hand, and capturing--and sharing--what they saw.

By February, encouraged by a grant from a friend andSutler's steadfast conviction in the mission, the trio told their schoolprincipals they planned to hit the road in September with a videographer.

They call theirprogram the Odyssey Initiative. Toget additional funding--and to capture imaginations--they launchedtheir kickstarter campaign, which ends this coming weekend. (Pony up now!)"We want to observe the different stages that go into creatingrich classroom learning," Sutler declares.

The teachers figure they have enough funding--and proposed site visits--to fillSeptember and October, and create proof points that they hope will becompelling to larger funders. Their itinerary is packed with visits to at least three schools aweek. They plan to shoot hours of video, then edit it down into five-minutepolished gems. Sutler hopes to make longer versions available, too.

Over the course of a year, they intend to visit schools in all 50 states. Along the way, the trio isworking with researchers to build out observation protocols so that "wecan present findings in a way that the country will respect," and thenshare the videos widely.

"Howoften do three teachers get to travel the country and share the stories?" Sutler marvels. "We feel a social responsibility to do this right." 

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