- Professional Learning
In March of 2020,Cohort 21, Season 8 held its final face-to-face virtually. On a day that normally would have culminated in an in-person celebration of learning and sharing we figured out a way to transfer the same energy and connection across the medium of…..Zoom. Fast forward two academic years and Cohort 21 has just celebrated the culmination of its 10th season! This CIS Ontario professional learning community has proven resilient in the face of challenge, and despite the pandemic has continued to bring together educators who are committed to making an impact on their practice, school improvement and student learning.
While the pandemic has been challenging for all, it has revealed and amplified the importance of professional learning networks and their ability to support and lift up educators when they need it the most. Despite the movement to a virtual format, Cohort 21 thrived and continued to deliver on its mission.
Since its inception in 2012 the mission of Cohort 21 has been to build a community of passionate CIS Ontario educators who are interested in refining and redesigning their practice through the exploration of new pedagogies, ideas and tools. This professional learning experience has always been for those who are ready and willing to engage in professional and personal growth. Those who had the bandwidth, and were looking for professional connection sought out Cohort 21 and made the time and space to engage with this year-long action oriented PLC. Despite the pandemic, the Season 10 cohort was one of the biggest in our history with 72 participants from across our CIS Ontario community of schools.
Inspired by our community of shared needs, interests and passions, Cohort 21 - Season 10 was structured around four themes and guiding questions that were felt to be the most urgent and important across all CIS Ontario schools. The Action Plan format that personalizes the experience for each participant was still the vehicle that pushed the inquiry process forward but the shared themes allowed for incredibly powerful collaboration and connection to occur.
This year Cohort 21 amplified participant psychological safety through the use of support group facilitators and coaches connecting more often in between the virtual face-to-face sessions. Whether it was through frequent and informal check-ins, fun trivia nights or book clubs all facilitators contributed to more connection and relationship building. The effect of these efforts was profound and participants felt very supported in their small subject and division-aligned support groups.
As always, our learning experience is agile, responsive and, as you can see from the themes above, flexible enough to allow all participants to find a personalized and authentic focus for their inquiry and action plan.
As we celebrate the decade-long evolution of this professional learning community, we are excited to announce that Season 11 of Cohort 21 will be returning to a face-to-face format for the 2022-2023 academic year. We will be incorporating all the learning from the last two years to augment the experience and provide new ways to deepen the inquiry and action process.