PBL World 2016 Day One Highlights

It’s happening! Over 800 dedicated educators from around the U.S. and over a dozen other nations have gathered for a week in the Napa Valley, California.  Monday, June 13th was the Community of Practice Day to “Inspire What is Possible with PBL” when attendees experienced presentations by PBL educators from various organizations.

In his welcoming remarks, BIE Executive Director Bob Lenz began by asking for a moment of silence for the victims of Sunday’s mass shooting in Orlando and their loved ones.

Bob noted that this year’s PBL World event has drawn teachers, instructional coaches, and school leaders from 38 states, plus 26 educators from 12 other nations. Also at PBL World is a “Partnership Summit” with teams from 20 school districts who are partnered with BIE for multi-year system-wide PBL implementation efforts. He likened this event to a “PBL Summer Camp” where we’d see people form new friendships, led by their BIE National Faculty “counselor,” and pledge to stay in touch when they return home – and even shed a few tears.

He also thanked the Napa Unified School District, headed by our friend Patrick Sweeney, for providing us with a wonderful facility: the gleaming new sun (and wind) swept campus of American Canyon High School. Shout-outs too to BIE Events Manager Catherine Meharchand and Director of Special Projects Alfred Solis for their hard work producing PBL World.

Bob gave the audience three things to think about at World:

  1. PBL is for ALL students, with equitable opportunity & accessibility, and we should hold the same high expectations for all kids.
  2. PBL requires the commitment of leaders to create coherence and set the right conditions for teachers to succeed.
  3. PBL is transformational for kids; they see themselves differently after experiencing it successfully.

Following the welcome were eight excellent 10-minute “PBL Talks” by education leaders you can read about on the PBL World website and on this post by our friends from Getting Smart, who are here all week. Everyone then chose one of their “Deep Dive” sessions to attend, which were sometimes crowded but reportedly enjoyed by all. Check out the video of the welcome remarks:

To end the day, we gathered in the school’s courtyard for snacks and drinks, accompanied by music by DJ Stanley Richards from the BIE staff.  All in all it was a great start to the week!