Category Archives: Reflection on class

Thinking about new schools

I hope you are enjoying this beautiful day! The weekend is supposed to be rainy, which means it will provide a great opportunity for you to think about the schools you would like to design. I encourage you to take a look at the “Ideal School Letters” and the “Reform Critique” assignments that your classmates have posted on the discussion board (Blackboard). Reading about the ideas of others might give you a sense of who you might like to work with, and then you can reach out to form your school design groups. I happened to run into a student who was in the class last year, and she said she was reuniting with her school design group for dinner that night. While the process of designing a new school with a group of people can be demanding, we do hope that you enjoy yourselves and make new friends in the process!

We also hope that it was helpful to hear about three different school designs from those who are intimately involved with them. You can learn a lot about these organizations online, and I thought I would share this interview with Ron Berger (of Expeditionary Learning) so that you could hear more about his work.

The discussion this past Wednesday made me think a lot about how schools approach learning differently, and how the process of “scaling up” can distill a school design down to its essentials. What are the key ideas about a school that absolutely can’t change? What are the values, processes, or people, that give a school its identity? You might also be interested in a recent interview I conducted with Santiago Rincón-Gallardo, in which he explains the process of bringing a model for learning to scale in Mexico.


What should change?

Looking ahead to next week, we wanted to let you know about our visitors: Becca Tatischeff, Hillary Mills, and Mia Hood and Jesse Rector.
As you review the websites and learn about Expeditionary Learning and KIPP, think about what you can learn about the theories of action of these school designs: What are their goals? What are their key strategies/resources? How are they supposed to work?
And, please remember to post your reform description on Blackboard (if you have not done so already), and complete the book club survey. We will assign you to book groups next week.

What’s involved in change?

Yesterday, we met in small groups to discuss key ideas and questions that came up in the readings. Each group created a google doc, which they used to jot down quick notes that to share with each other and the class. You can find some of these links under the “About this course” section on the left. Then, everyone shared their Ideal School descriptions with one or two other people. We are looking forward to reading them and learning more about your ideas!
For next week, please come prepared to participate in small group discussions on the readings again. Looking ahead, you can find a link to the Reform Critique assignment (due 10/15) here, and you can find samples of student work from other classes on Blackboard (in the “Content” section). Please look over the assignment and begin to think about a reform you might like to focus on. If you have any questions, please speak with us in class next week.
Finally, here are a few videos that you might find interesting.
Dennis Shirley on The Global Fourth Way:

Clayton Christensen on disruptive innovation:

Peter Senge on webs of interdependence: