Architects, Performing Artists, and Poets Tom Vander Ark Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
Leaders Are Architects • Leaders design ‘productive workplaces’ grounded in “dignity, meaning and community” (Marvin Weisbord) • Leaders ask questions about physical and social places: • Does what I do count? Is this place open to my influence? • Why should I come here? Can I be somebody here? • Is there for me a rhyme or reason here? • Is this a place where I can learn something? • Does it help to understand architecture as a social response? (Max DePree, Leadership is an Art) Leadership begins with a picture of a better place, …it’s legacy is an organization
Leaders Are Performing Artists • The visible signs of artful leadership are expressed, ultimately, in its practice. (DePree) • Enthusiasm, energy, & hope (Fullen) • “Getting everybody improving whole-systems” (Weisbord) Leadership begins with script writing, …it’s legend is a few symbolic acts.
& story tellers, teachers & gift polishers, stewards & servants, enablers & ennoblers, space makers & and blame takers Leaders, in their own way, go deep, draw out, and lift up Leaders create space/capacity for knowledge building Leaders choose important fights, and fight with purpose Leaders Are Poets… Leadership is… a picture that becomes a place, a plan put into practice, a life of fulfilled commitments.
Voice Learning Excellence Stewardship Justice Love What Commitments Do You Bring to Work? Bill Ayers, A Simple Justice
What Do Kids Need to Know and Be Able to Do? • Don’t rely on state standards • Most are too broad and too vague • Most don’t include key life, work and civic skills • Build local understanding and ownership of: • How the world has changed • Why schools need to change • How schools change • Shared priorities Tony Wagner, Making the Grade
What Forms of Evidence Will We Require? • It’s all about student motivation • Tests are lousy motivators • Focus on student work • Frequent and varied assessment • Online diagnostics • Demonstrations • Portfolios
Who Are the Winners and Losers? USA Average High school graduation College graduation Typical Urban Poor High school graduation College graduation 77% 23% 50% 5% • Who’s not at school? • Are you doing any better than replicating social class? • Who leaves school prepared for college (w/o remediation)?
How Should the System Work? Coherence Choice Business Wal-mart Professions: law, analogy real estate, accounting Education San Diego Charter district • What will success at scale look like? • People need to see themselves in a metaphor
How Do Schools Change? School-based change • Focus on student learning • Clear priorities • Sense of urgency • Adult learning • Coaching • Time to collaborate • Effective design • Curriculum/instruction • Structure & schedule Accountability Resources Research
What Do We Know? • Three bodies of evidence emerged in the 90’s: • Early learning makes a difference • Good teachers make a difference • School size makes a difference • Good News from the 90’s • Some elementary improvement • Some expert consensus about attributes of good schools • Bad News from the 90’s • Little secondary improvement • Wider achievement gap • Parents/teachers don’t know about small schools
Three initial options: Classroom instruction Professional development, coaching, curriculum San Diego School design Restructuring, model adoption Baltimore, Portland, Sacramento Community organizing Public engagement Oakland Where To Start? Classroom School Community -S. Jubb Competencies Conditions Culture -T. Wagner Start where need/opportunity is the greatest, but cover all of your bases.
What’s Next? 12 reasons every community needs a new school strategy: 1.Improve achievement & safety 2.Expand disadvantaged choice 3.Provide staff incentives 4.Engage the community 5.Develop the economy 6.Build enrollment or deal with it 7.Turnaround a failing school 8.Introduce a new proposition 9.Do some R&D 10.Pilot governance strategies 11.Untrack secondary schools 12.Change the conversation 2 ideas worth considering 1.Early college (diploma+AA) 2.IT+mentorships+internships 6 reasons every state needs better accountability systems 1.Online tests beat paper 2.Multiple measures beat 1 3.Performance beats bubbles 4.School quality reviews inform 5.Teachers need mentors and should demonstrate competence 6.Failing schools need money, direction, assistance, network
Questions for Architects, Performing Artists, and Poets • What commitments do you bring to your work? • What do kids need to know and be able to do? • What forms of evidence will we require? • Who are the winners and losers? • How should the system work? • How do schools change? • What do we know? • Where to start? • What’s next? The right answers begin with the right questions
I can tell by the way the trees beat, after so many dull days, on my worried windowpanes that a storm is coming, and I hear the far-off fields say things I can’t bear to without a friend, I can’t love without a sister. The storm, the shifter of shapes, drives on across the woods and across time, and the world looks as if it had no age: the landscape, like a line in the psalm book, is seriousness and weight and eternity. What we choose to fight is so tiny! What fights with us is so great! If only we would let ourselves be dominated as things do by some immense storm, we would become strong too, and not need names. When we win it’s with small things, and the triumph itself makes us small. What is extraordinary and eternal does not want to be bent by us. I mean the Angel who appeared to the wrestlers of the Old Testament: when the wrestler’s sinews grew long like metal strings, he felt them under his fingers like chords of deep music. Whoever was beaten by this Angel (who often simply declined the fight) went away proud and strengthened and great from the harsh hand, that kneaded him as if to change his shape. Winning does not tempt that man. This is how he grows: by being defeated, decisively, by constantly greater beings. The Man Watching (Rilke)