I know I’ve written before about how our agency focuses on building partnerships. It is one of the key reasons why I love working for PNW BOCES. The emphasis on forming partnerships fits very well with my way of working, and with my desire for relationships to always be the cornerstone of the work that we do.
On Tuesday, we held a great event where partnership was highlighted.
Back over the summer, as many of our districts were considering ways to break through the challenges that certain types of math mindsets lead to, I had reached out to Dr. Jo Boaler, professor at Stanford University. Dr. Boaler has done phenomenal work around dispelling the myth that some people are (or are not) math people, and her session on Tuesday was designed to provide educators with the tools and strategies they need to help move away from a math/not math culture.
And, she did this by being a true partner in all senses of the word.
I’m a tremendous fan of social media (though I recognize it can’t be a solution to all challenges). What I enjoy most about it is the fact that it has provided me with an opportunity to interact with folks I would not have been able to engage with previously.
Dr. Boaler is one such example. Our partnership began with a series of tweets that I had sent out regarding some of our math programs taking place at our organization. After following each other, I shared a number of other resources which seemed to be in line with the work that she was doing. This then led me to feel comfortable inquiring about working with her, and after a series of phone calls and email conversations, we put together a learning opportunity for our region that met one of the key initiatives that many of our districts had been working on.
One of the elements to this partnership forming was the ease with reaching out to Dr. Boaler, and her willingness and desire to join our educators for a day of learning. Despite being incredibly scheduled, and despite being a mathematics superstar, she took the time to chat with me, and in turn, I made sure that all her questions were answered, and she received the follow-up she deserved.
The thing about partnerships is it should never matter “who” people are. Rather, it should be about the “what” of the give-and-take that makes a partnership exist, and the “why” of the work that leads up to, and stems from, a given collaboration.
While I know Dr. Boaler’s schedule makes it tough for her to do continued work with any one partner, I know that our work together left both parties feeling great. And that is what a partnership should always lead to.