As I’ve been meeting with various iTEAMs in Chicago public schools, I’ve shared a rough draft of a logo I designed for the program . . . because any self-respecting initiative needs a tee shirt!
So here it is . . . not quite finished, but a visual aid for what I want to say about iTEAMchicago and the Inquiry Science Institute.
We’ve all heard the saying, “There’s no I in team.” But ours has a definite “I” in it. Every team, and I think, especially teams of teachers, must contain not just one “I” but as many as the team’s membership. Each individual brings a unique range of knowledge, talents, experiences, viewpoints, interests and personal qualities that inform the work of the team. In our logo, the “I” stands for those individual teachers, as well as for our focus on the Inquiry approach to teaching. I chose an italicized font in which the “I” looks like a candle, because there has to be illumination in this work . . . the illumination of reason, of inspiration, of the passion or fire in the belly to reach for greatness in teaching kids. And tilted under the protecting umbrella of the block cap letters of TEAM, the “I” takes shelter in being part of a group with a shared purpose and goals. In unity, strength. If you’re part of a TEAM, you have the support you need to advance new ideas and practices in a world where change is often resisted.
Because in the end it is the TEAM that will work together to think, to create, to solve problems, to practice, to share with colleagues, accomplishing the goals they have established together.
Finally, the little Golden Apple in the exponent’s position is the logo of Golden Apple, the organization that has made the commitment to these schools and these teachers to foster more effective science teaching through inquiry. An exponent is a multiplier. Golden Apple pledges to leverage its human resources on behalf of the seventeen schools in the Inquiry Science Institute Network to improve student engagement and achievement in science.
Here’s where the colors come in.
In a speech he made this past January to teachers being honored at the “Educate to Innovate” Science Teaching and Mentoring Awards (1/06/10), President Barak Obama said, “But despite the importance of education in these subjects, we have to admit we are right now being outpaced by our competitors. One assessment shows American 15-year-olds now ranked 21st in science and 25th in math. Think about that – 21st and 25th. That’s not acceptable. And year after year the gap between the number of teachers we have and the number of teachers we need in these areas is widening. This shortfall is projected to climb past a quarter of a million teachers in the next five years – and that gap is most pronounced in predominantly poor and minority schools.” These are the schools the Inquiry Science Institute will serve.
Quite simply, improving instruction in science is and must be a national priority. Perhaps the highest form of patriotism we can display is a flat out commitment to strengthening our educational system and preparing our children to be the future scientists, engineers, mathematicians and technology innovators we will need to be successful in restoring our economy and our environment. So in honor of that patriotic enterprise, the iTEAMchicago logo is American flag, red, white and blue, with a little assist from the gold of Golden Apple.
The week before the Fourth of July weekend, 45 of Chicago’s most enthusiastic and dedicated teachers will work at becoming even better by participating in the Golden Apple Inquiry Science Institute at the Museum of Science and Industry. An equal number of their colleagues will do the same mid-July. And there will be tee shirts!
You can learn more about Golden Apple’s Inquiry Science Institute here: http://www.goldenapple.org/inquiry-science-institute