Tag: future





We are trying to develop a culture of innovation in our school. Here’s why I think that’s so important. In the past, we would always try to get better at areas we felt needed to improve. We would implement this strategy or that strategy in the hopes that it would result in a better learning experience for students. Most of the ideas were not “home grown.” They were handed down from the state department or driven by standardized testing. Teachers, at times, didn’t feel all that invested and sometimes even felt the programs were being pushed upon them. Instead of nurturing an innovation culture, we had an implementation culture—implementing someone else’s ideas.



In an innovation culture, teachers are empowered to develop ideas that will create better learning opportunities for students. They are free to try new things, to make mistakes, to take risks, and to think out of the box. Since the ideas are developed by teachers in the classroom, they are invested in the process, and they understand the unique opportunities and challenges of their students and their content. They don’t have to ask permission to do what they believe is best for students. In fact, they are encouraged to look at school and learning with new eyes. So much of what we do is based on tradition and habit, even though it might not work best for students or learning.



Schools have been trying to get better at mostly the same old stuff for 50+ years. Maybe it’s time to try some new stuff. Instead of trying to repair the old things, I would suggest we consider building something new. It’s important to recognize that innovation is not just thinking of new ideas. It is about trying them out in a reflective way. It’s thinking of ideas and carrying them out.



As we have pursued a change culture in our school, we’ve thought about ways we can increase innovative thinking. But it’s also important to think about the things that keep us from innovating. Here are nine things that absolutely kill innovative thinking. 



1. “Prove it.”



More precisely, prove it with data. Schools are under intense pressure to prove results with data. But some promising innovations might not deliver results right away. The initial success does not always indicate what the long-term success might be. And moreover, some of the measures that schools are using may not be the best indicators of success in the first place. If we are relying exclusively on test scores to show success, are we really measuring the right thing?



Instead of being data-driven, we should be student-driven, and learning-driven. Look at a wide variety of indicators of success. When an idea isn’t successful right away, don’t feel that you must abandon it. If you feel it has the potential to make a positive impact, stick with it.



When an idea really takes off, we don’t need to prove it. I’ve seen things that are so wildly successful, that no one would question that it was incredibly beneficial for students. If our ideas are big enough, we will know if they are successful or not. 



2. “We’ve never done it that way.”



It’s so easy to get stuck in our patterns of thinking. Often we do the things that are familiar without another thought as to how effective they might be or if there might be a better way. It’s been said this is the most dangerous phrase in the language. That may be a slight exaggeration, but undoubtedly it is an innovation killer.



Instead of clinging to the way it’s always been, we should always question, “Why have we done it this way for so long?” Is this really what’s best, especially given how quickly the world is changing around us? If schools aren’t changing to meet the challenges of today and even tomorrow, what will that mean for our students?



Without a doubt, I think we are struggling to keep up with the changes in our world. The question is how far behind are we going to be before we make some bigger shifts in how we do business.



3. “We can’t afford it.”



There are many innovative ideas that don’t cost a thing. They just require a shift in thinking and courage to do things in a different way. I think too many schools think they can’t be innovative because of limited resources. But sometimes innovation does need budgetary support. While there are only so many dollars available for a school to spend, how funds are allocated is to some extent a choice. Instead of thinking “we can’t afford it,” maybe schools should consider “how can we find a way to afford it?” Ultimately, we shouldn’t allow the budget to kill innovation. Let’s think of possibilities to support innovation with our budgets.



4. “Our scores are great!”



Great standardized test scores can be an innovation killer. Why? Because teachers feel the pressure to keep the scores high and trying something new might result in lower scores. In many schools, a drop in scores would be considered complete failure. When the scores are high, we are tempted to pat ourselves on the back and feel that we are doing exactly what we should be doing. But is our goal to develop students who are great test takers? Or, are we trying to help students be adaptable learners and creative problem solvers? Some of the most important skills students need to be life-ready aren’t reflected in a standardized, content-driven test. 



5. “Our scores are terrible!”



Low standardized test scores can also be an innovation killer. Schools with low scores usually feel tremendous pressure to raise scores. Unfortunately, this often means a focus on remediation, with an increase in prescribed lessons, test-prep, and drill-and-practice. These methods may result in higher scores, but they can hardly be considered authentic or innovative. Moreover, these narrow-minded methods don’t prepare students to be adaptable or lifelong learners. It’s extremely difficult to think big and be bold when the focus is on fixing low test scores.



6. “That’s not how I do it.”



As George Couros has been quoted, “Isolation is the enemy of innovation.” Teachers who want to do it their way, without considering other possibilities, are detrimental to an innovative culture. This type of thinking resists collaboration and sharing work. Instead of looking for ways to work together, this attitude builds walls to protect my turf. 



7. How would we ever do that?”



One of the quickest ways to kill a creative brainstorming session is to start trying to figure out “how” the idea would work. Many great ideas were shot down because they didn’t seem possible at first. Until later, someone had the courage to give it a shot, to think in a different way, and then it became successful. Instead of focusing on “how” right from the start, think about “why” the idea might be important. Then, if the idea is important enough, you can figure out the “how” later. When something is important enough, you find a way to make it happen.



8. “We only use research-based practices.”



We can learn much from education research. But to think that we are only going to adopt ideas that have been proven successful in the research literature seems very limiting to me. If we only do the things that have been proven to work, what is the opportunity cost? Are there ideas that might be incredibly beneficial in our school that aren’t established in research? Most schools that focus exclusively on research-based practices are the ones that are trying to grow and get better at the same old stuff. They are not the ones trying to transform education so that schools are fundamentally different in ways that benefit today’s students. Research-based practices is a focus on the past. Forward-thinking practices are ones that look to prepare students for a future that will require different skills than ever before.



9. “Just one more thing.”



When educators have too many things on their plate, it becomes difficult to be innovative. There’s not enough margin in our time to think, dream, create, and experiment. This results in any new idea feeling like it’s just one more thing. And that is an innovation killer. Schools need to carve out time for teachers to collaborate, think, and develop ideas. I think it’s great for teachers to have their own Genius Hour, a time to work on projects they are passionate about. It’s one more way to encourage an innovation culture in your school.



Question: What are some other innovation killers? How can we overcome these challenges to create schools of the future? I want to hear from you. Respond by leaving a comment below or share on Twitter or Facebook.

      

Read More The 9 Innovation Killers in Your School





We are trying to develop a culture of innovation in our school. Here’s why I think that’s so important. In the past, we would always try to get better at areas we felt needed to improve. We would implement this strategy or that strategy in the hopes that it would result in a better learning experience for students. Most of the ideas were not “home grown.” They were handed down from the state department or driven by standardized testing. Teachers, at times, didn’t feel all that invested and sometimes even felt the programs were being pushed upon them. Instead of nurturing an innovation culture, we had an implementation culture—implementing someone else’s ideas.



In an innovation culture, teachers are empowered to develop ideas that will create better learning opportunities for students. They are free to try new things, to make mistakes, to take risks, and to think out of the box. Since the ideas are developed by teachers in the classroom, they are invested in the process, and they understand the unique opportunities and challenges of their students and their content. They don’t have to ask permission to do what they believe is best for students. In fact, they are encouraged to look at school and learning with new eyes. So much of what we do is based on tradition and habit, even though it might not work best for students or learning.



Schools have been trying to get better at mostly the same old stuff for 50+ years. Maybe it’s time to try some new stuff. Instead of trying to repair the old things, I would suggest we consider building something new. It’s important to recognize that innovation is not just thinking of new ideas. It is about trying them out in a reflective way. It’s thinking of ideas and carrying them out.



As we have pursued a change culture in our school, we’ve thought about ways we can increase innovative thinking. But it’s also important to think about the things that keep us from innovating. Here are nine things that absolutely kill innovative thinking. 



1. “Prove it.”



More precisely, prove it with data. Schools are under intense pressure to prove results with data. But some promising innovations might not deliver results right away. The initial success does not always indicate what the long-term success might be. And moreover, some of the measures that schools are using may not be the best indicators of success in the first place. If we are relying exclusively on test scores to show success, are we really measuring the right thing?



Instead of being data-driven, we should be student-driven, and learning-driven. Look at a wide variety of indicators of success. When an idea isn’t successful right away, don’t feel that you must abandon it. If you feel it has the potential to make a positive impact, stick with it.



When an idea really takes off, we don’t need to prove it. I’ve seen things that are so wildly successful, that no one would question that it was incredibly beneficial for students. If our ideas are big enough, we will know if they are successful or not. 



2. “We’ve never done it that way.”



It’s so easy to get stuck in our patterns of thinking. Often we do the things that are familiar without another thought as to how effective they might be or if there might be a better way. It’s been said this is the most dangerous phrase in the language. That may be a slight exaggeration, but undoubtedly it is an innovation killer.



Instead of clinging to the way it’s always been, we should always question, “Why have we done it this way for so long?” Is this really what’s best, especially given how quickly the world is changing around us? If schools aren’t changing to meet the challenges of today and even tomorrow, what will that mean for our students?



Without a doubt, I think we are struggling to keep up with the changes in our world. The question is how far behind are we going to be before we make some bigger shifts in how we do business.



3. “We can’t afford it.”



There are many innovative ideas that don’t cost a thing. They just require a shift in thinking and courage to do things in a different way. I think too many schools think they can’t be innovative because of limited resources. But sometimes innovation does need budgetary support. While there are only so many dollars available for a school to spend, how funds are allocated is to some extent a choice. Instead of thinking “we can’t afford it,” maybe schools should consider “how can we find a way to afford it?” Ultimately, we shouldn’t allow the budget to kill innovation. Let’s think of possibilities to support innovation with our budgets.



4. “Our scores are great!”



Great standardized test scores can be an innovation killer. Why? Because teachers feel the pressure to keep the scores high and trying something new might result in lower scores. In many schools, a drop in scores would be considered complete failure. When the scores are high, we are tempted to pat ourselves on the back and feel that we are doing exactly what we should be doing. But is our goal to develop students who are great test takers? Or, are we trying to help students be adaptable learners and creative problem solvers? Some of the most important skills students need to be life-ready aren’t reflected in a standardized, content-driven test. 



5. “Our scores are terrible!”



Low standardized test scores can also be an innovation killer. Schools with low scores usually feel tremendous pressure to raise scores. Unfortunately, this often means a focus on remediation, with an increase in prescribed lessons, test-prep, and drill-and-practice. These methods may result in higher scores, but they can hardly be considered authentic or innovative. Moreover, these narrow-minded methods don’t prepare students to be adaptable or lifelong learners. It’s extremely difficult to think big and be bold when the focus is on fixing low test scores.



6. “That’s not how I do it.”



As George Couros has been quoted, “Isolation is the enemy of innovation.” Teachers who want to do it their way, without considering other possibilities, are detrimental to an innovative culture. This type of thinking resists collaboration and sharing work. Instead of looking for ways to work together, this attitude builds walls to protect my turf. 



7. How would we ever do that?”



One of the quickest ways to kill a creative brainstorming session is to start trying to figure out “how” the idea would work. Many great ideas were shot down because they didn’t seem possible at first. Until later, someone had the courage to give it a shot, to think in a different way, and then it became successful. Instead of focusing on “how” right from the start, think about “why” the idea might be important. Then, if the idea is important enough, you can figure out the “how” later. When something is important enough, you find a way to make it happen.



8. “We only use research-based practices.”



We can learn much from education research. But to think that we are only going to adopt ideas that have been proven successful in the research literature seems very limiting to me. If we only do the things that have been proven to work, what is the opportunity cost? Are there ideas that might be incredibly beneficial in our school that aren’t established in research? Most schools that focus exclusively on research-based practices are the ones that are trying to grow and get better at the same old stuff. They are not the ones trying to transform education so that schools are fundamentally different in ways that benefit today’s students. Research-based practices is a focus on the past. Forward-thinking practices are ones that look to prepare students for a future that will require different skills than ever before.



9. “Just one more thing.”



When educators have too many things on their plate, it becomes difficult to be innovative. There’s not enough margin in our time to think, dream, create, and experiment. This results in any new idea feeling like it’s just one more thing. And that is an innovation killer. Schools need to carve out time for teachers to collaborate, think, and develop ideas. I think it’s great for teachers to have their own Genius Hour, a time to work on projects they are passionate about. It’s one more way to encourage an innovation culture in your school.



Question: What are some other innovation killers? How can we overcome these challenges to create schools of the future? I want to hear from you. Respond by leaving a comment below or share on Twitter or Facebook.

      

Read More The 9 Innovation Killers in Your School





I’ve been reading The Passage of Power: the Years of Lyndon B Johnson by Robert A. Caro. It’s the fourth book in a series of autobiographies by Caro tracing the life and political career of LBJ. It’s a fascinating read, named one of the 10 best books of 2012 by the New York Times.



In the 1960 Democratic Primary Elections, John F Kennedy utilized television to his incredible advantage. Johnson was hesitant to enter the race, even though he badly wanted the nomination, largely because he feared the possibility of defeat. He wanted it almost too badly, and would not publicly announce as a candidate. His fear of losing and fear of being humiliated in defeat paralyzed him until at the last moment, he declared. But it was too late.



While Johnson had been reluctant to take a risk, Kennedy was developing a highly effective campaign machine. He traveled the nation building support, but even more importantly, he leveraged the power of television to his great advantage. Every chance he got, he was in front of the American public, in their living rooms, connecting with them through their television sets.



Johnson thought television was a waste of time. He thought Kennedy was too flashy and that he lacked substance. Johnson was proud of his accomplishments as leader in the Senate. He blasted Kennedy for his weak record as a senator, noting that JFK had accomplished very little as a lawmaker. Kennedy rarely even showed up for work. He was too busy running a campaign for President. 



Regardless of his Senate record, JFK won the nomination. In a strange twist, he invited LBJ onto his ticket as his vice president. Begrudgingly, Johnson accepted the offer to be Kennedy’s running mate. Kennedy went on to win the election in 1960, beating Republican Richard Nixon.



In the same way Johnson failed to recognize the power of television, too many educators today are not adapting to the digital transformation of the modern age, a revolution even more powerful than television. They are struggling to adapt to these new literacies. They think of social media and other digital tools as optional at best, and at worst they completely reject that these tools have any merit for learners.



Some pay lip service to the idea that technology is important, but they do very little to model the use of digital tools, in their own lives or in their classrooms. They rarely use technology for learning, and when they do it is such a special event that it is more of a gimmick than a way of doing business. They cling to their content as if it must be the most important thing for their students to know, without ever questioning how irrelevant it might be for some.



Do reading, writing, and math skills still matter? Absolutely. Every person should have skills in these traditional literacies, but we can’t stop there. Those skills are just the beginning. Students need to also know how to apply these basic skills in ways that generate value in today’s world. They need to practice these skills in modern applications. Learning digital literacies is not about learning gadgets or gimmicks. It’s about learning how to collaborate, communicate, create, and think in a connected, information-rich world.



So instead of writing that research paper, ask students to create blogs. Incorporate social media into studies of literature and history. Reach out to experts in various fields to demonstrate the power of connections. Examine how modern films, music, and art impact the world of science and social science. Develop a classroom culture that goes beyond memorizing and testing. We need students to develop the skills of makers, designers, and innovators.



If we are slow to respond to how our world is changing, we are doing our students a disservice. We can’t afford to make our own comfort and preferences the priority, now when seismic shifts are happening all around us that demand we change. If we want our students to win at life in a digital world, we have to act as if it’s that important. Our students are counting on us. We have to lead.



If educators fail to adapt to the rapidly changing world, our students will suffer. Someone else will get the job. Someone else will solve the problem. Or even worse, the problem won’t get solved. We will limit the possibilities of our most important resource, our children. simply because we didn’t take a risk, try something new, or continue to be a learner. Like LBJ, if we are slow to adapt, it will result in failure. We all stand to lose.



Question: How are you adapting as an educator and as a learner? What have you done to step out of your comfort zone? I want to hear from you. Leave a comment below or respond on Twitter or Facebook.

      

Read More If We Fail to Adapt, Our Students Lose





I’ve been reading The Passage of Power: the Years of Lyndon B Johnson by Robert A. Caro. It’s the fourth book in a series of autobiographies by Caro tracing the life and political career of LBJ. It’s a fascinating read, named one of the 10 best books of 2012 by the New York Times.



In the 1960 Democratic Primary Elections, John F Kennedy utilized television to his incredible advantage. Johnson was hesitant to enter the race, even though he badly wanted the nomination, largely because he feared the possibility of defeat. He wanted it almost too badly, and would not publicly announce as a candidate. His fear of losing and fear of being humiliated in defeat paralyzed him until at the last moment, he declared. But it was too late.



While Johnson had been reluctant to take a risk, Kennedy was developing a highly effective campaign machine. He traveled the nation building support, but even more importantly, he leveraged the power of television to his great advantage. Every chance he got, he was in front of the American public, in their living rooms, connecting with them through their television sets.



Johnson thought television was a waste of time. He thought Kennedy was too flashy and that he lacked substance. Johnson was proud of his accomplishments as leader in the Senate. He blasted Kennedy for his weak record as a senator, noting that JFK had accomplished very little as a lawmaker. Kennedy rarely even showed up for work. He was too busy running a campaign for President. 



Regardless of his Senate record, JFK won the nomination. In a strange twist, he invited LBJ onto his ticket as his vice president. Begrudgingly, Johnson accepted the offer to be Kennedy’s running mate. Kennedy went on to win the election in 1960, beating Republican Richard Nixon.



In the same way Johnson failed to recognize the power of television, too many educators today are not adapting to the digital transformation of the modern age, a revolution even more powerful than television. They are struggling to adapt to these new literacies. They think of social media and other digital tools as optional at best, and at worst they completely reject that these tools have any merit for learners.



Some pay lip service to the idea that technology is important, but they do very little to model the use of digital tools, in their own lives or in their classrooms. They rarely use technology for learning, and when they do it is such a special event that it is more of a gimmick than a way of doing business. They cling to their content as if it must be the most important thing for their students to know, without ever questioning how irrelevant it might be for some.



Do reading, writing, and math skills still matter? Absolutely. Every person should have skills in these traditional literacies, but we can’t stop there. Those skills are just the beginning. Students need to also know how to apply these basic skills in ways that generate value in today’s world. They need to practice these skills in modern applications. Learning digital literacies is not about learning gadgets or gimmicks. It’s about learning how to collaborate, communicate, create, and think in a connected, information-rich world.



So instead of writing that research paper, ask students to create blogs. Incorporate social media into studies of literature and history. Reach out to experts in various fields to demonstrate the power of connections. Examine how modern films, music, and art impact the world of science and social science. Develop a classroom culture that goes beyond memorizing and testing. We need students to develop the skills of makers, designers, and innovators.



If we are slow to respond to how our world is changing, we are doing our students a disservice. We can’t afford to make our own comfort and preferences the priority, now when seismic shifts are happening all around us that demand we change. If we want our students to win at life in a digital world, we have to act as if it’s that important. Our students are counting on us. We have to lead.



If educators fail to adapt to the rapidly changing world, our students will suffer. Someone else will get the job. Someone else will solve the problem. Or even worse, the problem won’t get solved. We will limit the possibilities of our most important resource, our children. simply because we didn’t take a risk, try something new, or continue to be a learner. Like LBJ, if we are slow to adapt, it will result in failure. We all stand to lose.



Question: How are you adapting as an educator and as a learner? What have you done to step out of your comfort zone? I want to hear from you. Leave a comment below or respond on Twitter or Facebook.

      

Read More If We Fail to Adapt, Our Students Lose





I’ve been reading Good to Great by Jim Collins. It’s one of the top business books ever, but it has so much to offer for educators and really for everyone. The principles apply to life in a variety of ways.



In the book, Collins shares the story of Merck, the pharmaceutical giant. At one point in its history, the company gave away millions of doses of a drug that cured river blindness. The disease was caused by a parasitic worm that ultimately caused blindness in victims. 



The point of the story was that Merck didn’t profit from distributing the drug charitably to remote places like the Amazon. Collins shared the story to illustrate that Merck had established a purpose for the company beyond profits.



Back in 1950, George Merck, son of the founder, explained the company’s philosophy:

We try to remember that medicine is for the patient…It is not for the profits. The profits follow, and if we have remembered that, they have never failed to appear. The better we have remembered it, the larger they have been.

Collins described how the great companies they studied all shared a commitment to core values aside from the desired end resultprofits. The companies all had different core values, but they were consistent in building these into the organization and preserving these values over time.



So how does this apply to schools? In recent years, schools have felt immense pressure to produce ever increasing standardized test scores. It seems that schools were being defined almost exclusively by how well students were doing on achievement tests. 



As a result, many schools lost sight of developing core values other than creating higher test scores. But raising test scores is not a vision for learning. It is not at the heart of what a school is or should be. We have, to an extent, created an identity crisis in education by allowing too much of our value to be defined by high stakes standardized tests.



But the purpose of my post is not to rail against standardized tests. In more recent days, it seems that policy makers have taken small steps to reduce the amount of testing and its exclusive role in defining successful schools. That’s all good news.



But what are we doing to establish core values in our schools? Every school has a mission statement, and most of them are quite alike. But do the mission statements really reflect the culture of your organization? What is it you want your school to do better than anyone else? What are your core values?



I’ve adapted the words of George Merck to education. It’s a brief statement about some of my core beliefs.

We try to remember that our school is about learning, and for the students. It’s about creating better opportunities. It’s about building on strengths and ultimately building stronger people. It is not about higher test scores. However, if we create a future-driven, learner-centered school, higher test scores will likely follow. But if we focus on test scores, we miss the mark badly and will likely fail many of our students.

I would like to see schools think deeply about the outcomes they are seeking for their students. I would like to see students, parents, business leaders, and higher education have a voice in the discussion. What do we really want for our bottom line? It’s obviously not profits. And it’s not standardized test scores either.



Every community has different needs and every school has different strengths, so I think finding a purpose and establishing core values should be closely tied to the individual school. But instead of focusing on outcomes like graduation rate, test scores, or attendance, maybe some schools would adopt one or more of these core values?



What if a school chose to make ending poverty a reality in its community?



What if a school’s purpose was to find a cure for cancer? Or solve some other pressing problem plaguing humanity.



What if a school’s purpose was to make learning as customized and personal as possible for students?



What if a core value was to make learning as creative as possible?



What if a core value was to construct learning on a foundation of each student’s passions?



What if a school involved students as co-creators of their own learning?



Those are just a few ideas. I think the possibilities are endless. Instead of the same old mission statements, wouldn’t it be great to see schools finding a unique mission to drive action and really make a difference in the lives of their students and in the world outside of the school?



Question: What are the core values you would want your school to embrace? What can your school do better than anyone else? I would love to hear from you. Leave a comment below or share on Twitter or Facebook.

      

Read More Our Mission is Not Higher Test Scores





I’ve been reading Good to Great by Jim Collins. It’s one of the top business books ever, but it has so much to offer for educators and really for everyone. The principles apply to life in a variety of ways.



In the book, Collins shares the story of Merck, the pharmaceutical giant. At one point in its history, the company gave away millions of doses of a drug that cured river blindness. The disease was caused by a parasitic worm that ultimately caused blindness in victims. 



The point of the story was that Merck didn’t profit from distributing the drug charitably to remote places like the Amazon. Collins shared the story to illustrate that Merck had established a purpose for the company beyond profits.



Back in 1950, George Merck, son of the founder, explained the company’s philosophy:

We try to remember that medicine is for the patient…It is not for the profits. The profits follow, and if we have remembered that, they have never failed to appear. The better we have remembered it, the larger they have been.

Collins described how the great companies they studied all shared a commitment to core values aside from the desired end resultprofits. The companies all had different core values, but they were consistent in building these into the organization and preserving these values over time.



So how does this apply to schools? In recent years, schools have felt immense pressure to produce ever increasing standardized test scores. It seems that schools were being defined almost exclusively by how well students were doing on achievement tests. 



As a result, many schools lost sight of developing core values other than creating higher test scores. But raising test scores is not a vision for learning. It is not at the heart of what a school is or should be. We have, to an extent, created an identity crisis in education by allowing too much of our value to be defined by high stakes standardized tests.



But the purpose of my post is not to rail against standardized tests. In more recent days, it seems that policy makers have taken small steps to reduce the amount of testing and its exclusive role in defining successful schools. That’s all good news.



But what are we doing to establish core values in our schools? Every school has a mission statement, and most of them are quite alike. But do the mission statements really reflect the culture of your organization? What is it you want your school to do better than anyone else? What are your core values?



I’ve adapted the words of George Merck to education. It’s a brief statement about some of my core beliefs.

We try to remember that our school is about learning, and for the students. It’s about creating better opportunities. It’s about building on strengths and ultimately building stronger people. It is not about higher test scores. However, if we create a future-driven, learner-centered school, higher test scores will likely follow. But if we focus on test scores, we miss the mark badly and will likely fail many of our students.

I would like to see schools think deeply about the outcomes they are seeking for their students. I would like to see students, parents, business leaders, and higher education have a voice in the discussion. What do we really want for our bottom line? It’s obviously not profits. And it’s not standardized test scores either.



Every community has different needs and every school has different strengths, so I think finding a purpose and establishing core values should be closely tied to the individual school. But instead of focusing on outcomes like graduation rate, test scores, or attendance, maybe some schools would adopt one or more of these core values?



What if a school chose to make ending poverty a reality in its community?



What if a school’s purpose was to find a cure for cancer? Or solve some other pressing problem plaguing humanity.



What if a school’s purpose was to make learning as customized and personal as possible for students?



What if a core value was to make learning as creative as possible?



What if a core value was to construct learning on a foundation of each student’s passions?



What if a school involved students as co-creators of their own learning?



Those are just a few ideas. I think the possibilities are endless. Instead of the same old mission statements, wouldn’t it be great to see schools finding a unique mission to drive action and really make a difference in the lives of their students and in the world outside of the school?



Question: What are the core values you would want your school to embrace? What can your school do better than anyone else? I would love to hear from you. Leave a comment below or share on Twitter or Facebook.

      

Read More Our Mission is Not Higher Test Scores