The trip is over; now the hard work starts. I have started to synthesize binders full of notes, hours of video interviews, and weeks of reflections from long solo drives. During the trip I kept several main logs, and those will be key to putting the pieces together. I recorded obstacles to innovation that educators cited. I kept track of key takeaways from each school: what are they doing that is particularly effective in meeting their specific goals which are in common with the goals of many other schools? I tracked specific grade level and subject area examples of innovative practices and pedagogy to be used as examples for those interested in borrowing the success of others. All of these data points can now be added to my work of the previous two years: massive reading about the history and best practices of innovation from outside the sphere of education. Schools have tended to be inward looking, and bringing those outside best practices together with the specific reality of school organizations is a knowledge base that we are just now starting to tap.
I have been asked to speak to teachers, heads of school, business officers, admissions directors, and trustees, and while I will tailor the active learning portions of these workshops for each audience, we must get away from compartmentalizing the story of our organizations based on function. As we shift from a reliance on traditional strategic planning, which has a long wavelength, to a focus on creating organizational value, which is more attuned to the speed of external change, we all have to bring our diversity of viewpoints to bear on a shared vision. Depending on your calendar I hope to maybe see you at: NAIS and NBOA in Philadelphia in late February; TEDx Denver in mid-March; and at what is shaping up to be a unique Martin Institute Summer Conference in Memphis in June (much more on that later).
I am starting to develop the framework of my book based on the synthesis of the journey, and that will take some time. As that unfolds, I plan a series of mini-posts, probably 1-2 per week that hit some of the unfolding big points that will be developed more as my writing unfolds.
Keep sharing! Just today we heard from Scott MacClintic (@smacclintic) at Loomis Chaffee School who read through the entire trip blog and has used it to form the foundation of a PLN at LC and already has more than a dozen faculty committed to these important discussions. Hopefully he will share the results on his blog. If you are doing something you want to share, email or Tweet me (@grantlichtman) and I will be happy to help get the message out.