Archive for June, 2013

So….the technology labs within my school District are old. Not just old but oooold old. Not updated and pushing way past the best practice of a 3 year rotating cycle. Well here we had two choices, keep on keeping on repeating how labs have been designed in D124 for the past umteenth years OR… we could make a change.

We are making that change.

In the Fall at one of the schools within the District the lab will move from a traditional lab to a Room of Choice filled with –

  • A Technology Mashup of Laptops, Desktops & Tablets
  • Spaces for Collaboration
  • A Large Meeting Area
  • Lots of Whiteboard Spots
  • A Green Screen Studio

Here is a rough breakdown of it’s shiny new look! When my son asked me what I was doing as I was working in Google Draw, I told him what would be happening at one of the school’s and he said

“oh so it’s like a vending machine.”

I kinda dig that.



Ditch the Desk

Posted: June 22, 2013 in Thought Fulls., Uncategorized


Much like the historical tale of women of the 1960’s burning their bras for equal rights, I am challenging the teachers within my District to “Ditch the Desk”. Removing one of the very familiar icons which said “I am your teacher, I am in charge, I am the leader,  do not question, do what I say,  watch me and repeat.”

Brave teachers who remove the iconic desk say “Let’s work together, I am ready to collaborate, I want my students to take charge of their learning, I am ready to allow you to discover, I will not hang on to piles of busy work papers and traditional means of assessment! I am ready to redefine!”

It is much more than just a piece of furniture, it could be the start of a change!

Human Connection

Posted: June 21, 2013 in Thought Fulls., Uncategorized

So my new job has me in the District Office and it is relatively more quiet over the summer. One of the goals I have set for myself is to reflect and blog more often.

This past year has been a year of change for the Darche Household, new house, new job, thankfully no new pets, so what better time to reflect.

Throughout my teaching career I have been blessed with the opportunity to make a connection with so many people but one gentleman whom I worked with for short time, the connection I had with him made an impression. Good ole Mr. Kruse.

At Mr. Kruse’s school when you wanted to meet with someone you “set a meeting” and tried to squeeze connecting, exchanging, collaboration and general niceties into that lil meeting. So I “set a meeting” with many teachers but Mr. Kruse was one of the last ones, I can’t say why really, but he was none the less. (And of course as he reads this he is most likely saying ‘well you saved the best for last Darche’ )

Time for our meeting came and there was Mr. Kruse longer hair, funny tie and wearing a college polo of a college he did not attend, needless to say I did not know what to expect.

When we talked the first thing we did was exchange the stories. First he told me his.. his history both in school and out of school and how he came to teach. Then he did something particularly memorable he said “Now tell me yours” and he never looked at the clock once.

To this day I don’t think I have had a better first meeting. Mr. Kruse connected with me on a level deeper than just exchanging ideas.  He worked to connect with me. And that connection has stuck cause I miss him. Now and again when I see him, he gives me a hug and the connection immediately feels fresh and tended to.

Making that connection is one of the things I have brought to my new place of innovation. It is this sense of connection that I can make with teachers and in turn the teachers will make with their students, parents and colleagues.

In a great TED Talk given by a very wise lady, Rita Pierson discusses the value and importance of human connection. She states “kids dont learn from people they don’t like” and I know Mr. Kruse’s kids learn from him cause he works to make the connection and his students like him as much as I do.