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The Time We Spend in School

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 [...]

By | 2020-01-09T13:16:34+00:00 January 9th, 2020|Uncategorized|3 Comments

A GREAT Example of a School’s North Star

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 [...]

By | 2020-01-06T15:24:48+00:00 January 6th, 2020|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Make 2020 a Change Year!

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 [...]

By | 2019-12-30T23:47:39+00:00 December 30th, 2019|Uncategorized|0 Comments

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, [...]

By | 2019-12-19T18:21:28+00:00 December 19th, 2019|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Busting Myths That Inhibit Change

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 [...]

By | 2019-12-13T15:57:18+00:00 December 13th, 2019|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Go Outside and “Blow Stuff Up”!

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 [...]

By | 2019-12-11T16:56:31+00:00 December 11th, 2019|Uncategorized|0 Comments

More Exemplars of “Learning In and With the Community”

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 [...]

By | 2019-12-03T15:31:02+00:00 December 3rd, 2019|Uncategorized|2 Comments

The Evolving Face of “High School”

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 [...]

By | 2019-11-17T20:07:15+00:00 November 17th, 2019|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Images of a Very Different Strategic Planning Process

High school students gather in cross-grade teams to ideate ways to advance one of four big themes for the future. 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 [...]