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Building the 21st Century School: Adopting a Habit of Innovation

Session 1
Mary Moss, Alisa Berger — NYC iSchool, Novare Schools

We believe that those attempting to transform their schools into 21st century learning environments should not focus on a set model, combination of best practices, or infusion of technology, but rather should focus on making a radical change in our approach to school transformation. We must think about the key levers that affect the effectiveness of our schools and adopt a habit of constantly rethinking them. We propose that the 21st century schools movement abandon the idea that a single model, tool, or instructional approach will fix our schools and transform them into 21st century learning environments; instead, schools must adopt a habit of constantly learning, adapting, and reinventing ourselves. Despite constraints of size, accountability, human capacity, and diminishing budgets, we believe that school leaders have influence over four key areas of how schools function and how they meet the needs of their students: time, culture, curriculum, and human capital. It is time that we as educators admit that there is no magical combination of these factors that will fix every school and enable each school to remain high-functioning forever. However, if school leaders begin to use these areas as levers, and it becomes part of the leadership and teaching culture at each school to experiment and think outside the box to constantly shift and rethink practices in these four areas, we can truly transform our schools into 21st century learning environments that remain relevant and effective for the long-term.

Conversational Practice

2 min Introduction and charge to the group The 21st Century Schools movement should not be about adopting a single model or technology; it has to be about adopting a new mindset of constant and ongoing innovation. How can we use four critical areas of school design time, human capital, curriculum, and culture to create a framework that will enable us to constantly rethink and improve what we do?

5 min Background/history of the iSchool

80 min Guided Workshop (the following sequence is repeated for each of the 4 levers discussed) 5 min Introduction of lever , importance of each lever, share examples from the iSchool model (including the various technologies that enable the structure and the challenges and lessons weve learned in the schools first 3 years), and then we will provide tips and guiding questions to help other schools and school systems begin to utilize these levers as catalysts for change 15 min Participants discussion and collaborative completion of guide Participants will have the opportunity to discuss their ideas with other participants and will be given time to think about changes they can make using each of the levers; participants will receive a digital guide that will be used during and after the workshop with tips and questions to help them continue their thinking beyond the time of the session and conference

3 min Wrap-up

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