How does a leader know when to focus on process or outcomes?

By Devin Vodicka At the end of the day, leaders can hold people accountable for process or outcomes but not both. Confusing when to orient to process and when to hold to outcomes leads to frustration.  Diagnosing the situation as a technical problem or adaptive challenge determines the best approach.  The satisfaction of feeling successfulContinue reading “How does a leader know when to focus on process or outcomes?”

Increasing workplace flexibility means that schools can’t become more rigid

By Devin Vodicka A casual review of school and district vision and mission statements makes it clear that we hope to prepare students for the future.  While there is enduring wisdom in the idea that we should provide study in a broad set of academic disciplines to help students develop metacognition and lifelong learning skills,Continue reading “Increasing workplace flexibility means that schools can’t become more rigid”

The connection between anti-racism and learner-centered education

Devin Vodicka 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 undergraduateContinue reading “The connection between anti-racism and learner-centered education”

Add one person to triple social connectedness

Devin Vodicka 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 soContinue 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? Devin Vodicka 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,Continue reading “The power of listening to learners: Three important questions to ask right now”

Evolving systems in a learner-centered paradigm

Devin Vodicka 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.  SoonContinue reading “Evolving systems in a learner-centered paradigm”

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

Devin Vodicka 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 processContinue reading “Leading through the blurry neutral zone to create a bright Post-Pandemic era”

Using the Natural Planning Model to Improve Projects

Devin Vodicka 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 backContinue reading “Using the Natural Planning Model to Improve Projects”

Self-assessment is essential for meaningful engagement

Devin Vodicka 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 outContinue reading “Self-assessment is essential for meaningful engagement”

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

Devin Vodicka 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 ofContinue reading “Learner-Centered Metrics That Matter in the Pandemic (and Beyond)”