Finance and Operations

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The Test That EVERY School Must Take

There is surely one thing that unites all educators: we are responsible for both the well-being and learning progress of our students when they are in our charge.  The role that testing plays in schools has correctly become an enormous point of controversy as we question just what are we testing and what the results [...]

New Short Video: “Why, What, How, and Inevitable Future of Education…in 45 Minutes”

I was recently honored to give a short presentation and host a dinner discussion at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. with a group of business officers of independent schools, hosted by First American Education Finance.  The theme  was "The Why, What, How and Inevitable Future of Education...in 45 Minutes". The "how" and the "future" [...]

Hill School is Breaking Some Traditional Independent School Paradigms

I am at The Hill School outside Philadelphia today and tomorrow; I have been working with the humanities departments this year on reimagining their program, offerings, and departmental structure.  But this post is not about the humanities; we are prototyping solutions later today and will have have a lot to report by the end of [...]

Aligning Physical Learning Spaces to Pedagogy

i have been fortunate to both design new learning spaces in a major school renovation, and to see dozens of examples of new and re-tooled learning spaces.  A virtual meeting with a pioneering school group yesterday to talk about a new school building, gave me the chance to think about the boundary conditions I would [...]

Textbooks Will Soon Be On the History Shelf

In an industrial-age system of education known for rigidity, there is nothing that screams “one-size-fits-all” more than the box of clean, new, un-scuffed, tightly-bound, inky-smelling textbooks that arrives in a teacher’s room once every five or six years, accompanied by an instruction manual about how to efficiently transfer the information in those boxes to groups [...]

Change Practice, Not Buildings

Want to transform learning? If your school has or can raise $20 million dollars, build a new set of classrooms.  Lacking a profound and sustained commitment to changing mindset, pedagogy, and program in how to USE those classrooms, you have just made a enormously wasteful decision. Want to really transform learning? I repeat several of the [...]

Hewlett Foundation Announces Big Push in Open Educational Resources

Why does your school community still charge itself for expensive textbooks when fully accredited resources are available for free?  For some schools the answer is simple: they are controlled by local and state requirements to use certain books.  For other schools where these overly prescriptive regulations do not apply, news out of the Hewlett Foundation [...]

New Model For Supporting Innovation/Design at Schools

How might we integrate innovation practices across our school culture, breaking down myopic silos of "that's not my job"?  This is one of the true challenges of innovation in any organization, and particularly in schools where teachers, administrators, students, and parents frequently and strongly identify with their respective "tribe" more than with an organizational imperative. At [...]

Innovation Limited By Minds, Not $$

Yesterday I tweeted “Innovation is limited by minds, not $$”. I am in Houston to work for a day with a highly respected independent school. In response to that, a Twitter colleague suggested that innovation is easy for those with money and not for those less well funded. Both historical and current evidence supports my sense of what [...]

The Design of Business/School via Roger Martin

In my metaphor of educator-leader as "farmer", the principal/superintendent/head of school farmer's job is to nurture and grow a strong learning organization.  The teacher farmer's job is to nurture and grow strong students. This interview with Roger Martin, Dean of the Business School at the University of Toronto is a great nine minutes. Translate his [...]