The Time We Spend in School

January 9, 2020

A year or so ago, my good friend and wonderful high school English teacher Chris Harrington started collecting short blog posts from past graduates, reflecting on key lessons from their school days that they wish they could share with their former selves.  It turned into a unique and powerful stream of thinking and writing, and…

A GREAT Example of a School’s North Star

January 6, 2020

Creating a shared “North Star” vision of where you want to go is one of the first and most critical steps of changing your school. Each school with which I have worked has fashioned their own unique North Star, and I discuss these steps at length in Thrive.  These North Stars have taken varied forms…

Make 2020 a Change Year!

December 30, 2019

Here is a very simple way to start your school’s new year and decade. Jean Case, in her book Be Fearless, distills five common elements of people and organizations that are effective change makers.  There is really nothing new here; we have been shouting this for well over the last decade in K-12 education. But…

December 19, 2019

Why do some schools change and others do not?  Why do some schools change quickly, while others take decades?  Having visited and worked with more than 200 schools and districts in the last seven years, I am convinced it is not a function of demographics, school type, geography, or socio-economics. The key, I have found,…

Busting Myths That Inhibit Change

December 13, 2019

Schools are full of myths; we create and perpetuate them all the time, which adds to the inertia that resists needed change.  I have been fighting against the “small class sizes are always better” myth, and the “we can’t ged rid of our AP’s” myths for many years.  Multiple studies have busted myths about the…

Go Outside and “Blow Stuff Up”!

December 11, 2019

Several weeks ago I was visiting and working with an independent high school in New England that is fortunate to be blessed with wonderful new classrooms, some wooded acreage, and small class sizes.  As I wandered on my traditional observational tour, I noticed that students seemed to be spending most of their time at their…

More Exemplars of “Learning In and With the Community”

December 3, 2019

Do you see real-world learning as a disruptive challenge at your school or district? You want to provide those potentially life-changing, highly relevant experiences that break the artificial boundary between “school” and “world”, but just can’t see how to re-imagine time, space, and required subject patterns?  The great news is that you don’t have to…

The Evolving Face of “High School”

November 17, 2019

I met a young woman this weekend.  Her neighborhood high school is considered quite good. It is in a largely white, middle and upper-middle class section of southern California.  Largely on her own, with the support of her parents, she has “hacked together” a completely personalized high school learning experience. She takes online courses at…

A Cabin We All Need to Find

November 6, 2019

I have visited a LOT of schools in the last decade. It takes something special to shorten my breath, to stop me dead in my tracks, so full of wonder and questions that I just want to sit down, boil a pot of tea, and shut up and listen for a few hours or a…

Images of a Very Different Strategic Planning Process

November 5, 2019

Strategic plans should reflect the vision of a school community. Most do not. Most plans are the result of relatively shallow input from some school stakeholders, followed by a rapid synthesis by a small committee of board and senior administrators.  As I have shouted for years, most school strategic plans are a re-statement of “this…

Mt. Vernon School Sets a New Bar for High School Learning Spaces

November 3, 2019

Last week was packed with learning and sharing for me, so I am going to do a set of very short blogs.  First up is the INCREDIBLE new high school building at Mt. Vernon School in Atlanta. Followers will know that I have viewed Mt. Vernon as an exemplar, leading-edge school for a number of…

“THRIVE” podcast with TLTalkRadio

October 24, 2019

If you need any more of a boost to order my new book, Thrive, here is a podcast I did with TL TalkRadio a week ago.  It summarizes some of the major themes in about a 20 minute interview. On my home page, you can download the book introduction for free, and link to order…

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