The “Best School in America”

June 13, 2021

“We want to build the best school in America, that will be at the core of our community”.  Those were the highlights of the request for proposals issued by Alamorgordo, N.M Public Schools (APS) for the design and construction of a new middle school.  My long-time friends and colleagues at the multi-award winning design firm of…

Adding To the Weak Case For Grit

April 18, 2021

Are we finally going to stop chasing grit? Way back in 2014, I posted a provocative blog that started a tense and widely read discourse between several profoundly smart edu-leaders on Angela Duckworth’s mega-hit theories of grit.  Several of my readers literally shouted that bending the knee to grit as the Holy Grail of student performance…

“Dorgol”: A New Word Captures a Simple Leadership Principle

April 8, 2021

I’m not sure I have ever been present at the birth of a new word; I have now! In working with the leadership team at The York School in Toronto, we discussed the value of leaders visibly sharing their own growth and learning goals with their colleagues.  I raised the idea of each member of…

In Search of Grass: A Short Tale of Two Dinosaurs

March 1, 2021

Once upon a time about 65 million years ago, give or take, there lived two dinosaurs.  They actually lived with a whole lot of other dinosaurs: little ones that scampered about in the undergrowth looking for bugs and little lizards to eat; bigger ones who ate the little ones; and some much bigger ones that…

Courage: An Historic Teaching Moment

February 14, 2021

My generation was weaned on John F. Kennedy’s Profiles in Courage.  I can’t remember, without looking, just who the future president wrote about, but in that less partisan time, and rooted in his experience as a young officer in World War II, the gateway for inclusion was certainly not political. Today, most educators believe that…

Big Takeaway #2 From the Pandemic Year: Cross-Functional Collaboration Is Not An Option

February 5, 2021

Post #2 in a series of seven: big takeaways from the pandemic year for school leadership teams. When the pandemic hit a year ago, most schools and districts created some kind of a “war room”: a place and time for people across a wide range of responsibilities to meet and make decisions, often in real…

Big Takeaway #1 From the Pandemic Year: Your Campus Is Not Your School

January 29, 2021

Post #1 in a series of seven: big takeaways from the pandemic year for school leadership teams. Great learning is not dependent on buildings, classrooms, or even campuses. Great learning can take place anywhere. Great learning is dependent on relationships, engagement, and intrinsic motivation, and these can be both amplified and dampened in a traditional school…

Biggest Problem to Solve for Independent Schools? A Quick Pulse Check

January 18, 2021

In our free monthly “If Not Now?” gathering, John Gulla and I asked attendees (mostly independent school folks for this event) to discuss and then post the biggest problem that needs solving at their school.  It was no surprise that financial sustainability came in at Number 1; we have known for decades that the independent…

We Are Not In Kansas Any More

January 15, 2021

For at least the last decade I (and many others) have been focusing your attention on our “rapidly changing world”.  Education writ large has been remarkably slow in adapting to this rate of change, at least until now.  Last spring I wrote about the nature of exponential rates of change, and how that acceleration is…

Strategy Now Focuses on Change

January 5, 2021

Nothing could be more true for K-12 education than this by a team of seasoned management consultants writing in the MIT Sloan Management Review: A fundamental assumption underlying traditional approaches to strategy is that industry boundaries and economics remain broadly stable over time. This assumption is no longer realistic… Change, not stability, are the key…

The Richest 45-Minutes of Educator Collaboration?

December 16, 2020

  As many of you know, in October John Gulla of the EE Ford Foundation and I launched “If Not Now?” a free, monthly meet-up where we host an especially provocative guest within a fast, interactive 45-minute format.  You can still register for future sessions here; we have an outstanding set of guests and topics…

The Twilight Of the Age Of Reason?

December 2, 2020

Reason has been a key tool in the human tool chest for untold millennia. For about 500 years, reason has been amplified by the rise of science.  What I think many people fail to understand is that science and reason are not about proving an absolute truth. They are about gathering a body of evidence that…

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