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Are Schools Safe?

Recent tragic events have pushed conversations about school safety into the mainstream. Seemingly everyone, including the President of the United States, is weighing in with thoughts about how to make schools safer. An emotionally charged topic, it's crucial for school stakeholders to be well informed about school safety before proposing policy and procedural changes. In coming weeks, students will take part in social activism in the name of school safety and effective gun-control legislation. Interestingly, many students will be walking out of school, likely the safest place in their community, to make their point.

Contrary to social media exchanges and sensationalized news coverage, school safety in the U.S. has improved dramatically during the last twenty years.

“Children and youth are safer in school than almost anywhere else."- Dewey Cornell

School shootings and mass shootings are difficult to predict and prevent because they are statistically rare. Researcher, James Alan F…
Recent posts

College and Career Readiness; "What is the Purpose of School?"

What is the purpose of school? Some will say schools are necessary to prepare students for subsequent life stages. For some, this is additional formal education, for others, it may be launching a career. Others will argue schools are essential for creating educated contributors to democracy. Sadly, many families regard schools as daycare centers. When I asked students, "what is the purpose of school?", The most common responses were "I don't know" and "to prepare students for something." These seemingly uninspired responses are actually rather insightful.

We live in an era of exponentially accelerating change. How can educators be expected to know what the future holds? Are traditional school structures and curricula preparing students for their "something"? Media is brimming with reports, many contradicting, about job automation, machine learning, and the changing nature of work. We are also seeing numerous reports of people earning college …

This Champion Learns From Failure

Philadelphia Eagles quarterback, Nick Foles, was voted "most valuable player" of SuperBowl LII. He is also two years removed from contemplating leaving the game of football entirely after being traded, benched, and cut. As well as he played last Sunday, Foles's post-game comments reinforced the power behind what many educators are channeling to students as "growth mindset." The backup QB who became SuperBowl MVP provided us with a meritorious message of humility and learning, along with a rock-solid game plan for life.

Foles said, “The big thing is don’t be afraid to fail. In our society today with Instagram and Twitter, it’s all highlight reel. All of the good things, but when you look at it, and failure is a part of life. That’s a part of building character and growing. Without failure, who would you be? I wouldn’t be up here if I hadn’t fallen thousands of times and made mistakes.”

“I am not perfect, I am not Superman. I may be in the NFL, and we just won the …

Finding my Fingers; Learning Stories

Are you a good learner?

"You've got to really want to play because your fingers don't do what they're told." says acclaimed guitarist, Mark Knopfler. His uniquely brilliant fingerstyle playing is the product of desire, determination, and practice - lots and lots of practice. Like many successful musicians (Eric Clapton, Prince, Elton John) Knopfler is primarily self-taught, meaning he has achieved mastery without formal training. His lengthy obsession with playing folk and blues style music trained his fingers to become, as he says, "orchestrated like those of a piano player."

Providing provocation in style all his own, Will Richardson, as part of a Change.School conversation asked, "Are you a good learner? How do you know?" The backdrop of this discussion was challenging our assumptions of what we believe about schools. Stripping away the superfluous, educators should be sprouting and nurturing learners. 

Reflecting on who I am as a learner caus…