My day started off with a trip to meet Michelle Ribant who is the director of 21st Century Learning and Innovation at the Michigan Department of Education. (Where can I sign up for the job next?) I was part of a team of educators who happened to attend a session on the Michigan Technology plan for the next 5 years which is in the process of being created. After a quick email from one of us the whole team was invited to her office. We had an amazingly productive meeting and by the end were all invited to give formal input and be part of the committee process to build the State Technology plan. Michelle couldn't have been more welcoming, knowledgeable or inspiring!
Michelle Fecteau, Secretary of the Michigan State Board of Education
Leah Breen, Professional Preparation and Certification Services, Michigan Department of Education
Annie Brown, School Board Trustee and Candidate for State Rep HD-66
Jeff Bean, Placement Coordinator & Instructor at Ferris State University
I helped to create questions focused on how current educators could be partner with all of their varied positions/departments to better education in Michigan. These professionals not only gave real time feedback and suggestions for how everyone could get involved, they asked for direct contact anytime policy was being considered. Also, Ms. Breen from the MDE let educators know they could become a part of a database of experts that are reached out to on topics specific to their skills.
Honestly, having a day like mine is a simple 3 step process:
1. Research 'who' for 10 minutes - We all have 10 minutes. Look up the answers to: who are the representatives in my area? Who is in charge of my passion at the MDE? Who controls what I do/don't like at the state or national level? (Some of these questions are hyperlinked to get you started).
2. Ask to meet - All of my opportunities simply came by way of a face to face or email request to meet and speak. Nothing fancy. Nothing special. Just a simple, "May we meet to...." followed with a sincere thank you.
3. Be Prepared - This may exceed the 10 minutes from earlier, but not by much. Find your nice dress clothes (2 minutes), take a shower (10 minutes), look up the person you are talking to and skim their latest endeavors (10 minutes +), jot down a few of your ideas on their current topics (5 minutes).
See? It can be done. I'd love to hear how your productive visit goes in the comments below!