First, watching my kid play his senior year of high school basketball, which has been just awesome. (State Champs!)
But a close second has been my resolve to do what I can to raise the level of the conversation around change in schools, to push people past the dime a dozen adjectives (blended, personalized, flipped, etc.) and “Hours of…” this or that, and to put a laser focus on learners and learning instead of students and schooling. Along with my colleague Bruce Dixon, we’ve shipped a pretty challenging whitepaper. We’ve created a new podcast channel with interviews from change leaders doing high-bar change work from around the world. We’ve continued to publish our newsletter, (190 issues total.) We’ve regularly engaged in some really interesting conversation in our Facebook group. And my own presentations at conferences and schools have taken on a harder edge. In short, I just totally believe that it’s time to start a different conversation around change in schools. It has to be reimagination, not a simple rethinking of our work.
Today, Bruce and I and our new partner Missy Emler are taking the next step.
Introducing Change.School. (Yes…that is the address.)
You can get the details on the site, but in a nutshell, Change.School is an 8-week, inquiry-based online community and coaching experience for educational leaders anywhere in the world who are serious (and we mean serious) about truly reimagining their work in schools and classrooms. It’s all about raising the bar on the change conversations we’ve been having, and building the capacity to articulate and drive change forward in relevant and, importantly, sustainable ways. And it’s about using our combined 60+ years of experience in schools with the wisdom of a passionate global community to help leaders create a personal, unique playbook for change in their schools moving forward.
The reality is, the gap between change in the world and our capacity to contextualize those changes into our work in schools in relevant ways is huge and continues to grow. As we state in our whitepaper, the “Why Change?” question now has a pretty compelling answer. And as our 10 Principles of Modern Learning suggest, the “What Does it Look Like?” question is being answered in more and more classrooms around the world.
But the “How” question, as in “How do I create relevant, meaningful change in my school that sustains?” has always been the hardest one.
That’s what we’re aiming to answer at Change.School.
Look, there are a lot of people “reimagining” school by building new ones. And I’m in no way saying that isn’t good work. It is, depending, of course, on what they build. But the reality is that the vast majority of our kids will remain in traditional schools that will need to navigate the very difficult path to being really different, not just “better.” And that’s my passion, and Bruce’s, and Missy’s. How do we help existing schools with deeply rooted traditional narratives of schooling navigate the “How?”
For the record, Change.School is not a course. Change in the way we’re talking about can’t be taught, and there isn’t one, cookie-cutter approach that will work for all. We’re taking a limited number of leaders into our cohort because we want to do a lot of hands on, personal coaching in helping them design and develop change plans that are unique to their schools and districts. We know that 8-weeks isn’t nearly enough time to change a school, and that’s not what this work is about. But 8-weeks is enough time to dramatically build the capacity of leaders to run long-term, sustainable change projects on their own. That’s where we think can help.
Education is at an interesting, challenging place, not just here in the U.S., but around the world. And the conversations are shifting. But the work of real change in schools is really, really hard. We’re not offering any magic formulas. Instead, we’re offering a safe space for inquiry, passion, creation, and expertise to learn together and build solutions.
So, I’d love it if you checked out Change.School, and maybe shared it with a school leader that you know. Hopefully, we can move this work forward together.