Schools are spending valuable resources, time, and money on trying to figure out that one thing; the secret sauce, the silver bullet. Teachers and leaders are working so hard, but are seeing mixed results.
An organization built around the idea of inspiring young people to be science and technology leaders, FIRST, offers students an amazing learning opportunity. But, it also offers a valuable lesson on the pathway to successful innovation far beyond science and technology.
The foundation of FIRST is a concept called Gracious Professionalism. It’s an ideal that suggests fierce competition and mutual gains are not separate notions. FIRST also teaches kids Coopertition®, defined as displaying unqualified kindness and respect in the face of fierce competition. Coopertition means competing always, but assisting and enabling others when you can, leading to unprecedented innovation.
Over the last 6 years, MAPSA, Michigan’s charter school association has implemented a teacher incentive fund grant titled the Teacher Excellence & Academic Milestones for Students (TEAMS) project. In partnership with Innovators in Education, MAPSA has coordinated a number of experiential learning trips across the nation to for Detroit school leaders to visit some of the top performing and truly innovative charter schools that are beating the odds. The latest trip was to the windy city to tour some of the top schools in Chicago.
In 2008, the Michigan Wolverines finished the season 3-9. Short of a spike in 2011, the program teetered around five hundred for years, showing anything but consistency in performance. In 2014, the team finished with a record of 5-7 overall and 3-5 in the Big Ten, cementing a low point in the program.
In 2008, the Washington Huskies finished with a record of 0-12. This was followed by years of seeking out winning records by only a game with signs that the tipping point was coming, but still finishing with a 7-6 record in 2015.
Creating a vision that truly defines your school can be challenging and time consuming. But, it’s an investment of immeasurable return. Try these practice tips to see a glimpse of the possibilities.
Let’s set the record straight! While school leadership teams strive to improve on educational outcomes for the students they serve, there is no lack of brilliance and passion towards the development of ideas. There is not a lack of clarity as to the importance of big picture outcomes school leadership teams work towards. And, there is certainly no lack of options for researched and proven solutions to common challenges.
So why does a gap still exist between vision and reality? Why aren’t student achievement goals reaching the heights great leadership envisions?