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Schools Are Not Forever

There is something in our affinity for the institution of education that makes it seem immutable and timeless.  Schools that have been part of our lives will always be there. New schools will rise as communities grow, but it seems unfair or tragic when schools disappear as communities wane.  Yet the reality is that the [...]

What Keeps School Leaders Up at Night?

What is it that REALLY keeps independent school leaders up at night?  For much of 2017 and early 2018 I was collecting feedback on a series of simple, provocative, open-ended prompts from independent school heads, senior administrators, and trustees.  I have just published some results in Independent School Magazine.  Check it out; I think you [...]

The Simple Equation of Value-Strategy-Innovation

Following the lead of my new friend, Seth Godin, short blogs are better.  This picture really is worth 1,000 words.  Schools that are increasingly faced with the challenge that their students can and might select another school to attend, must develop, communicate, and deliver a winning value proposition or face loss of enrollment, and the [...]

School Futures Lie in Strategy

As we get ready to launch a new learning year, let’s laser-focus on a very simple reality: Schools, like every other organization that lives in a competitive marketplace, have just two “keys to sustainable success” according to strategy guru Michael Porter: good strategy and highly effective operational systems. Operational effectiveness means that your school is [...]

“We Will BE the Joneses”

Happy start of summer!  In the past 10 days, I have worked with superintendents from north-central New York, stretched in a 3,000-strong yoga jam with Michael Franti at Redrocks, hauled myself up and down the Colorado front range, intersected with 130 forward leaning educators to kick off the annual Traverse gathering in Boulder, and prototyped [...]

Two Simple Steps to Creating Demand For Your School

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 [...]

By | 2018-05-05T15:20:26+00:00 May 5th, 2018|Exemplar Schools, Leading Change|0 Comments

Another Novel Route to Creating a True Strategic Plan

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”!

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 [...]

Lego Pieces and Leading Innovation

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 [...]

A Very Worthwhile Hour of Powerful Learning

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 [...]