“I Vow Not To Be a Bystander”

May 8, 2018

“I vow not to be a bystander and wait for a directive”.  This from educator Renee Costarella, a personal manifesto that she will be part of education transformation, not because someone else gives her permission, but because she sees the right way forward.  This is the kind of empowered leadership and action that will Move…

Last Sandbox of the Year: IowaBIG School and Creating Projects of Impact

May 7, 2018

Our final Sandbox meet-up for the school year will be a doozie: if you work in a high school, or are interested in authentic learning in and with your community, or want to create opportunities for students to have real impact…then join us Tuesday may 8 at 7 PM ET, when our guest Rock Star…

Two Simple Steps to Creating Demand For Your School

May 5, 2018

In a rapidly differentiated education market, many private and public schools find themselves with weakening streams of students coming to their doors.  How can you reverse this?  How can you build demand for your school? Community Public Charter School in Charlottesville, Virginia is a very small school that has struggled to support a somewhat unique…

Another Novel Route to Creating a True Strategic Plan

April 28, 2018

In another sign that the era of traditional five-year school strategic plans are dead, take a look at the approach led by head of school Ned Murray and this team at Episcopal Day School in Augusta, GA.  It is simple, clean, and generates action items based on aspirations and big questions, rather than the backward-looking distillation…

A Powerful New Teacher “Interview”!

April 26, 2018

THE shortest route to a school with powerful, sustainable innovation capacity is to hire the right people. So I was so excited that, on a short-planned visit to Design 39 Campus, they were “interviewing” a prospective new faculty hire by throwing her right into the deep end of the pool: organize a design challenge with…

Where Should School Leaders Focus?

April 23, 2018

Over the weekend I got to facilitate a board meeting at The Forman School in Connecticut. In planning the session, head of school Adam Man challenged me to mold my remarks and create active learning for the trustees around four big questions.  I had not thought of our challenges in exactly this way before, and…

Lego Pieces and Leading Innovation

April 22, 2018

What can a 15-year-old autistic boy from Iceland teach us about leadership? Last week videos went viral of a 28-foot-long model of the Titanic, designed and built out of 65,000 Lego blocks by teenager Brynjar Karl Birgisson.  It is a remarkable feat of design, engineering, three-dimensional vision, and perseverance.  But what I want to dig…

Miss Porter’s School May Revolutionize the High School Operating System

April 18, 2018

Inertia is one of the two biggest obstacles to change.  Some “great organizations” have been great for so long that the obvious question is “why change; if it ain’t broke don’t fix it”.  General Motors up until 2008 would have fit into this category.  So would companies like Kodak, Pan American Airways, and Lehman Brothers. …

Upcoming Sandbox: The Human Side of School Change

April 6, 2018

Transforming schools is about changing mindsets and cultures; it is a very human-centered process.  My close colleague, Julie Wilson is launching her new book next month, and we have her as Guest Rock Star in The Sandbox this coming Tuesday, 4/10 at 7 PM ET. She will share keys from her book, and we will…

A Very Worthwhile Hour of Powerful Learning

April 5, 2018

Most of you don’t have many spare hours, or maybe you do, but only when you are driving somewhere or on a plane.  Fine; here is a great way to spend that hour. It is a podcast that is not about the nuts and bolts of education, but here are a few reasons why you…

Teacher Walk-outs Are the Result of Choices We Make

April 2, 2018

We all must live with the choices we make.  This is what we teach our kids, and we, the adults, should live our message. Today’s walk-out by teachers in Oklahoma is about choices, not money.   One could make the argument that in a state like West Virginia, where the economy has been in decline for…

Five Drivers of Effective Strategic Thinking for Schools

March 22, 2018

I have an upcoming meeting with members of a school board to help them understand how strategic planning is evolving.  There is so much to talk about, but I wanted to lay a foundation, so I challenged myself to put together about a ten slide, ten minute summary of what I think schools are doing…

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