Breaking Out of Our Silos

Breaking Out of Our Silos: Encouraging Educator Co-Inspiration and Joy through Interactive Documentation Methods

by Agency by Design Oakland 2017-2018 Fellow Gretchen Baglyos

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Gretchen Baglyos is the Arts Integration Specialist and Choir Teacher at Alliance Academy of Integrated Learning, in East Oakland. As part of her inquiry in Agency by Design Oakland's teacher fellowship, Gretchen began with the questions: 

  • How can creative documentation help break down silos of isolation on our staff
  • What methods of documentation ignite co-inspiration and joy?

Over the course of the year Gretchen implemented and grew a new practice at her school's staff meetings. "Pictures of Practice" became opportunities to look closely at the work happening in different classrooms, which over time built a culture of thinking routines, reflection, and joy. Scroll through Gretchen's Picture of Practice below to follow her inquiry and learn about the impact of her work. 

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"I believe that maker-centered learning allows students to discover their voice, grow in confidence, and express their ideas in a way they can be heard. Maker-centered learning asks students to collaborate, think outside conventional models, and demonstrate their understanding by creating something new. As a teacher passionate about racial and social justice, I seek to use maker-centered learning as a way for students to agitate the systems and structures that historically tell them that they cannot succeed in school."

-Gretchen Baglyos
Arts Integration Specialist and Choir Teacher, Alliance Academy Middle School, OUSD

Gretchen Baglyos is a lifelong student, educator, and coach and currently works at Alliance Academy as the Arts Integration Specialist and Choir Teacher. In her arts integration role, she supports her dedicated colleagues in designing and implementing maker-centered learning experiences across content areas. Gretchen moved to the Bay Area this summer and is thrilled to start her next chapter here with the passion for innovation and community that she has found here. She is originally from Pennsylvania and has lived in Harrisburg, Pittsburgh, Chicago, Princeton, and Minneapolis. A good day for her includes singing, dancing, laughter, critical thinking, collaboration and alone time (bonus if any of these things include food!)