Team sports have always been appealing to me. Playing hockey, baseball, football and basketball, I relished in what can be accomplished together but also being part of something outside of the competition. As a hockey and basketball player, I took as much pleasure in making a great pass as I did n scoring. Finishing is fun and scoring usually garners more praise and attention and I enjoyed that part but they beauty of two or more people acheiving success is special. Even as a spectator, individual performances are great but when you see people working together that’s beautiful.
Having spent nearly 8 years working around North America and beyond with Discovery Education, I had the privilege of working together with so many great people. I had a great deal of autonomy and did a lot on my own but always felt part of a team working towards a bigger goal. I supported many different people and many people supported me.
When I left Discovery Education in the fall of 2019, I had some decisions to make. I had a number of colleagues who were working as independent consultants and speakers. I wasn’t sure I wanted to do that but also knew it was a good time to try. I was fortunate to get enough work without doing much of the required work of promoting myself and seeking gigs. I soon realized going solo wasn’t for me.
Similarly, my former colleague and friend Steve Dembo wrote:
About 3.5 years ago, I left Discovery to try my hand at going independent. While my love of presenting and working with Districts and EdTech companies hasn’t diminished, I’ve found that the consultant’s life doesn’t fulfill me the same way devoting my time to a single company or school did. I found myself missing the consistency of the full-time job, the depth of seeing long term projects through, and the ability to contribute to a team of people devoted to making a difference for teachers and students. And to be completely honest, I’m just burnt out on doing so many “one and done” events.Steve Dembo on Facebook
A few months into my independence I connected with Amos Fodchuk, President and Founder of a small professional learning company called Advanced Learning Partnerships or ALP. We instantly found a synergy in our beliefs about learning and approaches to working with school leaders and teachers. As fellow Canadians, we also shared a common understanding of the Canadian education landscape and what makes it similar and different from the US. While ALP’s work in the US has been well established now for over a decade, their presence in Canada is new and looking to grow. The pandemic slowed down our trajectory towards a more permanent partnership but I’m proud to announce I’m now a full-time employee of ALP.
Having worked for almost a year as a contracted consultant, I was able to work with a variety of others and have come to value their approach to professional learning. Their values are my values:
Together, We Perpetuate Trust: We appreciate and understand the diligence and commitment it takes to earn and sustain trust in a collaborative partnership. Many of our strongest partnerships started small. We continuously earn and deepen trust through a combination of empathy, confidence, experience, and humility. Trust is the foundation for expanding the scope and scale of meaningful change in education. We value honesty, transparency, courage, and collaboration in our partnerships. Whether we work with a student, an educator, or an executive team we give our concerted effort, service, and attention to the collaboration.
Together, We Cherish the Inherent Value of People: ALP continuously strives to bring the value of people to the forefront. We recognize the value of voice and choice among adults and children. Our team’s processes are embedded in collaborative work to empower small communities to progressively and courageously change the realities of larger environments. We value the spark and passion that ignites deep learning. We value the learner’s courage to take risks, open up to different perspectives, and try new and creative ways of learning and accomplishing goals. From implementing scaled change initiatives to cohort-based blended coaching, these values drive our work with learners.
Together, We Realize Opportunity: A critical value that drives our work is recognizing and courageously seizing opportunities that exist all around us. We value open access to learning opportunities, technologies, resources, and support. With equitable access, thoughtful integration, the scale of resources, and diversity of opportunity come the capacity to empower and build agency in all learners. We pledge our full attention, flexibility, and creativity toward the realization of every outcome we co-develop and deliver.
Together, We Serve with Gratitude: In our work, we are constantly reminded of the honor it is to collaborate with other courageous and talented professionals who share the value of positive and transformational change in education. We are grateful for each opportunity to collaborate in such creative and exciting work. We recognize that a mutually-held sense of gratitude is a necessary cornerstone of any worthwhile endeavor and that none of our aforementioned values can exist without its presence.
I couldn’t say it better.
To begin, I’ll be on a team supporting some big work in Texas working with 30+ districts. I’ll be continuing to work with states like Virginia, Louisana and Idaho on a wide range of projects and initiatives. Ultimately, I’ll be leading work in Canada and look forward to connecting and reconnecting with so many districts and educators across the country. Once travel is back in play, I’ll be on the move again.
I’ve been blessed over my career to work with so many smart people and this will certainly be the case with ALP. I have 4 main criteria for what I want out of a job and working with people that inspire me and I enjoy spending time with is one of them. I’m anticipating the day we can come together and learn but in the meantime, Zoom will have to do. I’ll continue speaking and presenting and doing some work on my own but am excited to be part of something bigger, something that is about building relationships, doing meaningful work and being part of a team.