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Ideas Worth Spreading from Educators/Collaborators: Matt Beaudreau & Christy Hutton

Collaboration is a buzzword that has surfaced in the quest to answer the question, “What should our schools of the future look like?”

But what if there was a way, as Matt Beaudreau asks, to truly collaborate with all the stakeholders, with an outcome that is the antithesis of the status quo in our schools?

That would be radical, says Beaudreau, a junior high vice principal from Rocklin who has been chosen to speak at the upcoming TEDxSantaCruz: Radical Collaboration. He will be joined by more than 20 other speakers, including Christine Hutton, academic dean and science department chair at the Kirby School, a private sixth- through 12th-grade school in Santa Cruz.

MattBeaudreauAs a teacher trainer with the Center for Teacher Effectiveness, Beaudreau — nicknamed the Education Dude — is no stranger to the speaker’s stage.

“At my last keynote,” he says, “I received a standing ovation from a room of approximately 150 teachers, administrators, and professors, yet the most compelling evidence that a difference was made came from the director of the event. When he took the mic to thank me after the talk, he exclaimed, ‘I’ve never seen a standing-ovation for someone who just told a room full of people that they have been doing their job wrong for their entire careers, but I completely understand their visceral need to do so.’”

He plans to share how some alternative schools are successfully challenging existing conditions, “believing wholeheartedly in the abilities of our youth and embracing a radically collaborative approach that could change the face of education for our kids.”

Hutton also brings concepts of collaboration to education, especially when it comes to rethinking learning differences, recognizing and respecting neurological differences, or what’s called neurodiversity.

“In education, we spend a lot of time talking about ways to enhance diversity in our society,” she says, “but we rarely think of learning differences as a valuable feature of that diversity. I’d like to share an educator’s perspective on how students with learning differences are vital additions to our classes and our workplaces.”

ChristyHuttonHutton’s recent work focuses on empowering students who might otherwise wear a scarlet letter for what’s called “learning disabilities” and showing how the diversity of our brains allows us to contribute unique perspectives and innovative solutions.

She is a UC Santa Cruz graduate, with a masters in molecular, cell, and developmental biology.

Speakers Hutton and Beaudreau will join David Dennis, Bez Maxwell, Ed Reed, Bruce Damer, David Haussler,Barbara Rogoff, and Flora Lu, at this year’s TEDxSantaCruz. More speakers will be confirmed every week between now and mid-April.

Tickets for the all-day TEDxSantaCruz 2015: Radical Collaboration event are available online. The 2015 theme is Radical Collaboration, and this fourth-annual local conference will take place from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. April 24 at the Rio Theatre, 1205 Soquel Ave., Santa Cruz.