By Devin Vodicka Go to just about any school or district website and there will be a claim about preparing students to be “college and career ready.” According to Inside Higher Education, the most recent pre-pandemic data from the Department of Education’s Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System indicates that 37% of college students in theContinue reading “Rethinking College and Career Readiness in a Hybrid World”
By Devin Vodicka When I was hired as Superintendent in Vista Unified School District in 2012 I began a series of transition meetings to help me develop a sense of current context and immediate needs. Since I had a relatively short timeline between when I was hired and my start date, my priorities were toContinue reading “The Power of Identity: How Changing Two Words Changed Everything”
By Devin Vodicka When we recall powerful growth experiences in our lives it is not hard to identify our purpose, participants, and feedback. We can think about these three elements at the individual and at the collective level and it is at the collective level where leadership occurs. In my first month as a newContinue reading “A Different Path: Building on Community Strengths”
By Devin Vodicka Given the dynamism and agency that is inherent in living systems, influence can be exerted from anywhere and at any time. In Learner-Centered Leadership I shared how this view reframes leadership from a role or title to how we exert influence through our relationships. At the heart of this influence is relationalContinue reading “Leadership for Living Systems: Purpose, Participation, and Feedback￼”
By Devin Vodicka It is important to be honest in confronting the reality that living systems have a dark side. In natural systems, predators consume their prey for their own benefit. Sentient beings develop pathologies, sometimes harmless and also sometimes very harmful to self and to others. Suicide and murder are extreme examples and thereContinue reading “Predators and Pathologies: The Shadows of Living Systems”
By Devin Vodicka The mechanistic view focuses on optimization of the parts with the idea that if each of the parts is better understood and improved the overall system will improve. This approach became popular in organizational management in the early 1900s, largely driven by the influence of Frederick Winslow Taylor and his “Scientific Management”Continue reading “Anything Becomes Possible: The Butterfly Effect and Living Systems”
By Devin Vodicka Is schooling synonymous with education? With learning? The mechanistic mindset takes a reductionist view and sees education as a closed system. In a living systems view that focuses on interconnectedness and active agency, it is much more challenging to determine the boundary of any system. As a result, while we may beContinue reading “A Web of Mutual Influences: Expanding constraints to reconsider learning opportunities”
By Devin Vodicka We must move away from a mechanistic view of the universe to one that recognizes and supports living systems. This shift in perspective begins to make clear a number of implications for our work as educators. In a mechanistic mindset, the view tends to be narrowly focused on closed systems with theContinue reading “On Mechanistic and Living Systems”
By Devin Vodicka “The people who educate our kids are really exhausted. That’s teachers, school counselors, food service workers, and it’s principals and superintendents.” NPR – Schools will usher in another new year defined by the pandemic The educational news stories at the end of 2021 are alarming. The situation is so pervasive that EdSurgeContinue reading “Self-Care Strategies for Learner-Centered Leaders”
By Devin Vodicka Several years ago when we were running competency-based K-8 microschools in San Francisco and New York City we were confronted with the challenge of helping our students navigate competitive admissions procedures as they applied for selective high schools. We quickly learned that the vast majority of the high schools wanted to seeContinue reading “Let’s reimagine college admissions to create equitable learner-centered pathways￼”
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