The connection between anti-racism and learner-centered education

As a teenager growing up in a small-town in the foothills of Northern California, I remember being shocked watching the beating of Rodney King. I was even more astonished when those white policemen who had administered the beating were found not guilty, leading to riots and mass unrest.  When I was an undergraduate student IContinue reading “The connection between anti-racism and learner-centered education”

Add one person to triple social connectedness

Relationships are foundational for leadership. Trust and connectedness are associated with positive outcomes, including improvements in student achievement. According to Bryk and Schneider, “Strong relational trust also makes it more likely that reform initiatives will diffuse broadly across the school because trust reduces the sense of risk associated with change.” Trust is so critical thatContinue reading “Add one person to triple social connectedness”

The power of listening to learners: Three important questions to ask right now

What’s working? What’s not working? What should we do differently? Listening to learners is at the heart of learner-centered education.  In my own experience, conducting student forums was a transformational experience as a superintendent.  More recently, as schools and systems have been adjusting to a variety of modes of schooling through the pandemic, feedback fromContinue reading “The power of listening to learners: Three important questions to ask right now”

Evolving systems in a learner-centered paradigm

During the course of my educational career there have been many well-intended reforms designed to meet a wider range of student needs.  As a new teacher who received my credential through the Los Angeles Unified School District Intern program, I received an extensive amount of training on language development and early literacy.  Soon thereafter IContinue reading “Evolving systems in a learner-centered paradigm”

Leading through the blurry neutral zone to create a bright Post-Pandemic era

One of my favorite frameworks to understand change is the Bridges Transition Model. Building on his background as a therapist, Bridges identifies three phases of change: the ending, the neutral zone, and the new beginning. Each of these phases is associated with emotions that frame, guide, and influence our context and individuals process at theirContinue reading “Leading through the blurry neutral zone to create a bright Post-Pandemic era”

Using the Natural Planning Model to Improve Projects

In the chaos of a global pandemic, effective project management is more important than ever. As an organization, we are in the midst of managing a number of projects, including cross-functional projects that require collaboration and coordination across multiple teams.  As we are organizing, re-organizing, prioritizing, and re-prioritizing I am often drawn back to whenContinue reading “Using the Natural Planning Model to Improve Projects”

Self-assessment is essential for meaningful engagement

Long before we had powerful mobile computing devices in our pockets, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi conducted a research project that used pager devices and randomly buzzed participants to find out what they were doing and to assess their emotional state.  Based on a massive data set, Csikszentmihalyi and his team were surprised to find out that manyContinue reading “Self-assessment is essential for meaningful engagement”

Learner-Centered Metrics That Matter in the Pandemic (and Beyond)

At a time when our educational system has been significantly disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic, schools and systems are adapting and creating new models to support modifications to in-person learning, hybrid options, and distance learning solutions.  We are also seeing innovations with “pandemic pods” and a resurgence of interest in microschools.  Regardless of the modeContinue reading “Learner-Centered Metrics That Matter in the Pandemic (and Beyond)”

Different Pathways to Reforming High School

In 2012, Tony Wagner, then a Harvard Innovation Education Fellow, interviewed hundreds of CEOs to determine the skills that our youth would need to thrive in the future. He reported themes such as critical thinking, problem solving, collaboration, adaptability, initiative, communication, and curiosity. This resonates with what I have heard over the course of more than twoContinue reading “Different Pathways to Reforming High School”

Rethinking Elementary Staffing to Create Flexible Options for All Students

As we near the halfway mark of the school year, conversations with school leaders continue to be focused on emerging options for schooling.  While many started the year in full-virtual mode, plans continue to be developed to shift to hybrid with an intention to get back to full-in-person at some point in the future.  AtContinue reading “Rethinking Elementary Staffing to Create Flexible Options for All Students”


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