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What Will Next Year Look Like?

Updated: Feb 19, 2021

In my role supporting school principals, I think this question has been asked more in the last few months than it ever has in the history of education. While it can be difficult to be a school leader and feel like you don’t have all the answers, it can also be liberating. Because of all of the sweeping changes that have taken place over the past year, we have the opportunity to reinvent schools in a way that is more equitable and student and family centered than ever before.

Now, let’s be realistic, change is hard and it often comes very slowly in school systems. I was a school principal for 22 years and saw many innovation come along, but found that many times the changes were short-lived because people were anxious to get back to the type of instruction and idea of school they had been most accustomed to. I recently saw this anonymous quote -

“Status quo is around the corner, and it has a strong pull. It will take

discipline, community, courage, strong arguments, and a healthy dose of optimism and wonder to resist that pull."

This quote really got me thinking about how important it is for a school leader to keep their vision and mission for what school can be at the forefront as they work with their school community (staff, parents and students) to start planning for a new school year.

If you are an educator, I’m sure you’ve seen many different roadmaps and theories about how to reconstruct school systems. But, I recently landed on an e-book that was put out by the Big Questions Institute that shared nine simple (but very complex) questions to ask as you think about your restart. Here are the questions they shared:

1. What is sacred?

2. What is learning?

3. Where is the power?

4. Why do we _____?

5. Who is unheard?

6. Are we literate?

7. Are we ok?

8. Are we connected?

9. What’s next?