I don’t know if I’ve written much about the work that I do. I work for one of New York State’s regional education service agencies, or RESAs. In New York, we are known as Boards of Cooperative Educational Services (or BOCES). In my role, I work with districts in the northern suburbs of New York City on all manner of curriculum and professional learning design, implementation, and evaluation. It is an incredibly challenging role, one where I learn much on a daily basis, and where I am constantly humbled by the expertise and knowledge of those around me.
Along with being a position that intellectually challenges me, and pushes me to be better each day, it is also a role where I have the opportunity to constantly be building relationships with others, and where partnership is paramount.
The other day I was sitting in on a workshop for leaders in our region (it is something I do regularly as a means to providing feedback to facilitators and to simply learn as much as I can from others). In talking about work happening within the district, one of the attendees mentioned the tremendous value that our agency provides in answering questions, brainstorming a variety of solutions, and simply connecting districts with those with other areas of expertise.
I was humbled by the comment, and upon reflection, I realized how important it is for each of us to have a place (or places) where we can go to seek inspiration and make acquaintances that might one day shift the direction of the work we do or the initiatives we’re exploring with those we serve.
I also realized that by serving as that connection link for districts, it becomes even more important for us to constantly be innovating in our work. We can’t simply be presenting the same potential contacts or ways of connecting to districts; we have to provide different means all the time.
That has led us to constantly explore different means of providing professional learning, as well as engaging with different people and organizations who can assist our region with its learning. This requires constant shifts, an ability to try new things (without many other examples to rely on), and a constant reliance on district need, and the building of support.
It’s something that we do well, I believe, and something that we can continue to do better. And it has provided me with much to learn, and skills that I likely would not have developed anywhere else. And it is entirely worth it, because without partnership, it’s likely we will never have the opportunity to explore the wide world that extends beyond our own individual lenses.