Governance and leadership

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Aligning Adaptation to Real Rates of Change

If we can point to a moment when educators finally realized that the world was changing so dramatically that we had to take notice, it was within a year or so of the publication of Thomas Friedman's The World is Flat.  Friedman has a remarkable ability to take something complex that many of us know to [...]

Permission To Push Boundaries

In the earliest phase of work with each school with which I engage, I ask the site leader (principal, head of school, superintendent) to come up with a set of "boundary conditions" that will guide and govern a process of expansive strategic design.  Boundary conditions set out both the limits and expectations of a project.  They [...]

2016 Elections Increase VUCA in Education

Twenty years ago, "disruptive innovation" was introduced to educational lexicon by Clayton Christensen largely within the context of technology.  Personal computers and rapid new technological inventions were going to fundamentally change the system of schools.  A decade ago, flattened global economic relationships were going to fundamentally change schools as we shifted learning to prepare students [...]

Truth and Democracy: An Existential Choice for Educators

Col. Francis Parker, a contemporary of John Dewey, said that the primary role of education was to instill in students the skills necessary for them to fulfill their roles as democratic citizens.  If the events of the last year have taught us anything it is that these skills, and how they are exercised, are being [...]

Digging Deeply Into “Portrait of a Teacher”

A thoughtful colleague at one of my client schools (anonymous now but not for long) wants to create a "portrait of a teacher" for and with her faculty.  It is a great challenge: we need to know what we are aiming for if we want to hit it.  She sent me some proposed questions for [...]

Educators Speak Out: What Does it Mean to be a “Leading” or “Significant” School?

Pizza always helps thinking! What is your school's aiming point? What do you want for your school in the future?  Have you had this discussion? Does your community know what the words you use actually mean?  If not, how can you aim at, and intersect, a distant target? Many schools use words like [...]

What Do “Great” and “Leading” Mean to Your School?

What does it mean to be a great school? If you work at a school that is not struggling to survive, there is a good chance that the message you and your colleagues, perhaps even your parent community, tries to communicate, is "we are a great school".  There is nothing wrong with that; we should [...]

Four Drivers of Inevitable School Change: All Include “We”

Are there still stakeholders in your community, perhaps fearful parents or reluctant faculty members, who don't understand why schools need to change? Here are some tools for you. In my upcoming new book (which is out for peer review and feedback right now), I explore both what is inevitable in the transformation of education in the [...]

Virtual Reality Will Change “School” Forever: Major New Article

Transformational technologies — from the wheel to the printing press, steam energy, the telephone, radio, air travel, television, personal computing, and the internet — have never been just about changing how we “do” the mechanics of our lives. Truly transformational technologies allow us to fundamentally re-imagine our relationship to the world around us. In a [...]

Growing School in Chicago Taps Into Deep Progressive Roots

Progressive education is alive and well in Chicago, the home of John Dewey and the first laboratory school more than 100 years ago.  I found a budding example this week, spending two days with the leadership team at the young, rapidly-growing Bennett Day School, which, come August, will be expanding from a quaint four-classroom early [...]