It is sometimes said that imitation is the highest form of flattery. If that’s the case, then the Pittsfield NH School District has much to feel flattered by in recent months. Since the beginning of the school year, the District has been host to visitors from across the country, all of them eager to know more about Pittsfield’s work.
According to Tobi Chassie, Project Manager for the Pittsfield Redesign, the phone calls started coming in before Thanksgiving. The first inquiry came from a group of schools in northern Vermont exploring student ownership of learning, one of the hallmarks of the District’s change work.
The next callers were other Nellie-Mae funded districts in northern New England. In early November, the Pittsfield team had presented to its New England colleagues at the Nellie Mae Cross-Site Learning Summit. The focus was the District’s work in the area of “position analysis,” a methodical and collaborative process for defining the role of each staff position in the organization. The work is based on research from the field of organizational development revealing that position clarity is the number one predictor of job satisfaction and productivity.
Four school districts—Portland and Sanford in Maine, and Burlington and Winooski in Vermont—inquired about coming to see a position analysis session in real-time. Their wish was granted. “We were glad to have them join us,” said Chassie. “They provided us with great food for thought.”
In January 2014, Governor Maggie Hassan visited Pittsfield, just in time to include PMHS in her State of the State as a school that is “innovating and working to find better ways to educate our children.” (more…)