5 Things Innovative Schools Do Differently – A.J. Juliani

Interesting blog post about innovative schools. It is an interesting list to have in front of me as we look for a high school for our son, especially in comparison to the high school my daughter currently attends. 5 Things Innovative Schools Do Differently – A.J. Juliani.

According to Juliani, “Innovative Schools” have the following characteristics

1. They aren’t afraid of change. They see change as a good thing.

2. They make mistakes. They learn from mistakes.

3. They are transparent. They let community members know what’s happening: students, teachers, parents.

4. They use technology to expand learning.

5. They are connected. They learn from other educators and schools around the country.

On my most cynical days, I would argue that my daughter’s school does none of these, with a few exceptions.

Change: there are a few teachers who just do things differently because they are driven to, and for them, I am grateful. Sadly, most of what I see her doing is the same. The same fill-in-the-bubble test, the same policies, the same refusal to look into new solutions to problems. When new ideas are suggested, they are quickly dismissed.

Mistakes: her school would never admit to a mistake. They have an edge, a need to maintain PERFECTION and not admit mistakes. It’s off-putting, elitist and condescending.

Transparent: Oh my. Let’s not even start on this. A weekly paragraph emailed to parents who subscribe is considered transparent. Facebook is district wide, and totally run by the PR folks. There is this need to keep a perfectly made-up face. It’s not a conversation. It’s a finely orchestrated commercial.

Using technology. Fortunately, there are a few teachers who use this well. There are many more who don’t. There are signs everywhere about no cell phones in class. There is very little PD (from what I hear from teachers). They have put small pilot projects into classes, and this is encouraging. I will be happier when I see the right kind of PD, the teaching students about using tech and the involvement of families.

Connected. How about not connected? Not at all. My daughter finally has one teacher using Twitter to communicate with students. Administrators? Nope. Not at all.

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