Visiting Mosaic

by Dr. Jim Calhoun (originally posted at

The school year has started. In fact, this is week three. Today I made my first trip to visit the students and teachers in Mosaic. As I walked into the school, I did have a sense of guilt that this was my first trip to see what is going on but I have had to balance that feeling with the my concern of being in the building and being a distraction.

Walking into Mosaic I was pleasantly greeted by several students with, "Hi Dr. Calhoun." I can't tell you how fulfilling it was to here those voices. Then I heard Mr. Martin say, "What's up Dr. J." That is my favorite nickname by the way. My trepidation was immediately relieved.

Mr. McClintock has way of inviting people into Mosaic that reflects my experience. He says, "Come down and breathe the oxygen."  It is as if breathing the oxygen can make you feel good. I can tell you that breathing the oxygen in fact did give me a feeling of contentment and exhilaration. It is an emotion (or a high) that I miss tremendously.  

It brought me further joy to hear and see how smooth the start of the year has gone. Students are focused and have a deeper understanding how they can be in charge of their own learning. Teachers have learned the best ways to communicate with each other and with students. There is a certain structure that is now in place that allows for more freedom. That may be contradictory in it's nature but yet that is what is happening. The experience reminded me of the book Triggers, written by Marshall Goldsmith. He writes about the need for structure to be able to improve but also indicates it has to be the right structure. I would add that the structure must be balanced so that you give individuals the power to develop their own structure which then reinforces the learning cycle. This is what I see happening in Mosaic.

So, thanks to all the Mosaic folks who made me feel at home. I will be back soon.