KCedu: Uniting and Connecting Educators across KC

KCedu's vision is to unite KC area educators (not just K12!) into one connected and innovative learning community that thrives on both face to face and virtual communication. Facilitatating the growth of this community is something that motivates me. KC educators, like educators in many cities/regions, are largely isolated and know little of the edu-awesomeness and community-awesomeness happening all over the city. This un-connectedness is not ideal. Our kids deserve the innovation and opportunities that connectedness can provide. The added bonus is that since we live close to each other, we have the luxury of being able to routinely collaborate face-to-face.

So, KC educators, here is my call to you. Get yourself and your colleagues into the KCedu community by using Twitter and the hashtag #KCedu and by joining the learning in our monthly meetings. We are better together. Plus, it's just more fun that way. :)

The path to KCedu started back on May 31, 2014 at CityCampKC.

The desire to make connections in my city so I could better lead my kids drove me to CityCampKC. I attended not only to get ideas for #edcampKC, an annual unconference educator event held at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art each November,  but to LEARN about my city.  That day sparked much in my life, including an edu-spinoff of 1 Million Cups at the Kauffman Foundation, which we now call #KCedu, and the opportunity to work on the Mayor's Challenge Cabinet as a member of the Community Engagement Team.

Just a few of the genius, generous, and risk-taking KC folks who have helped launch KCedu and offer inspiration along the way:

  • Rebecca Haessig. Started/supported KCedu as an experiment in Kauffman Labs space this summer.
  • Cindy Fisher and Lyn Cook.  KCedu Crew mates. Lucky to work with them.
  • Kari Keefe and Shannon Accardo, Mozilla Gigabit Fund.  Food and support!
  • Katie Boody and Carrie Markel, The Lean Lab. Promoting innovation in KC education.
  • The Kauffman Foundation for donating the space for us to use and 1 Million Cups for the initial inspiration and support.
  • The many educators tweeting on #KCedu hashtag, nurturing our online conversations by sharing creative ideas, tools, and opportunities. Tracey Kracht, Susan Maynor, Jamie Greason, Aaron Duff, Michael Crawford, and many others.

Educators routinely approach me asking if I can get the news out to all districts about a certain program or event. There is no way to do that quickly and efficiently--yet.  In this age of connected tools, if we make it a goal (as a school/district/educator) to get connected, we CAN get connected.

#KCedu can be a one-stop source for educators to stay locally informed, 'get-out-the-word' about events to friends across the city, and find resources, innovation, and inspiration.

"...education and civic leaders should work together to build a portfolio of compelling schools and programs."

~Kevin Johnson, Mayor of Sacramento in Smart Cities That Work for Everyone, by Tom VanderArk (currently reading!)

I found out at CityCampKC, that while I thought I was a relatively well-connected educator, I was NOT well-connected to the place I should be --- MY CITY. I felt pretty clueless looking at some of the boards. What is the Big 5? Startup Village? At the end of the day, I knew I had work to do. With my 20 years as an educator in 3 different districts in KC, I set off to know my city and work to connect it with education.

How can we accomplish what Kevin Johnson speaks of above if KC educators themselves are not connected, let alone connected to the many resources, people, and innovative ideas in their city? We need each other and our city needs us. Education drives smart cities.KCedu

6  months later, following my passion and with a lot of help from edfriends, here we are. #KCedu is growing with both face to face and online conversations and collisions. Our January meetup recap video is below. Most of us stayed a full 45 minutes afterwards networking, talking, collaborating, getting contact info, and taking pictures/selfies. :) There was a great feeling tone to the evening. A handful of us went for a post-event collaboration at Nick and Jake's. I made new friends with whom I'm now tweeting, planning, learning, and GROWING.