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Redesigning School

Author: Terry Dubow

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There's a secret hidden in plain sight: school doesn't work for many, many students because, to a large extent, today’s schools were built for yesterday’s world. Schools still prioritize teaching over learning, conformity over agency, memorization over application, testing knowledge over using it, grading over growing, competition over collaboration, stress over engagement, the what over the why. What would happen, though, if we designed school with students and the future in mind? Every other Wednesday, parents, students, and fellow teachers should join Terry Dubow, Garet Libbey, and Julia Griffin as they interview experts, students, and educators, and explore ways to redesign school for changed world.
40 Episodes
Now that it’s winter break, we all have a chance to take a breath and reflect a bit about the fall and just what we accomplished and what it asked of faculty, students, and families.  And just in time because many schools will begin 2021 in remote...In this episode, Terry Dubow and Garet Libbey invite Courtney Martin, Hawken’s Director of the Lower School, and Dr. Michelle Harris, Director of the Middle School to talk about lessons learned and tips for how to make the most from the next round of remote learning. Educators and parents will get a glimpse into best practices for helping young students thrive during this heightened but temporary (!) moment.
Recently, the Mastery School of Hawken hosted a virtual Open House that invited members of the community to learn more about the school, its values, and its ambitions. As a part of of the program, the ReDesigning School podcast hosted two sessions with students and Ambrose Faturoti,  Dean of Students of the Mastery School.In the first session, Ambrose and the students describe life at the school, and in the second, they explore how issues of diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice are woven through everything from activities to the real-world challenges they face in their Macros.Edited by Nick FletcherMusic by  Krackatoa track and Scott Holmes
As schools consider ways to redesign their approach and programming, they might want to investigate a field that likely does not appear in the established curriculum: architecture. While teaching architecture in high school is a rarity, it may actually offer deeply effective ways of helping students learn everything from complex mathematics to the intricacies of collaboration. Founding faculty member at the Mastery School of Hawken, Katie Zielinski joins the podcast to describe her architecture Macro and the ways it can help students grow in more ways than one might expect.
ReDesigning School is not a political podcast -- there are enough of those -- but a few days before the 2020 election, Terry Dubow and Garet Libbey sat down (virtually of course) with Laura Tavares, Program Director for Organizational Learning and Thought Leadership at Facing History and Ourselves. The goal: to explore how schools can build programs and cultures that inspire what's become something of a rarity in our democracy -- civil and engaged citizens. The good news is that many educators are working hard on this necessary, urgent enterprise. Laura leads strategic partnerships, designs learning experiences for educators, and creates innovative classroom resources. She writes about history, current events and education for publications including the New York Times, Educational Leadership and Social Education. Laura joined the staff of Facing History in 2005 after several years teaching history and literature in independent schools. She is also a faculty member at the Harvard Graduate School of Education's Project Zero Classroom. Laura graduated from Wellesley College and received graduate degrees in literature and history from Oxford University, where she studied as a Rhodes Scholar. A few helpful resources mentioned in the episode:Resource Guide for teaching about the 2020 electionHow to Foster Civil DiscourseDanielle AllenThe Better Arguments Project Ron Ritchhart and the Eight Forces of Culture
It's been a long time coming. The Mastery School of Hawken was a mere idea a few years ago, and now it's a thriving school with students, faculty, and an approach that upends how school generally works. Julia Griffin, Director of the Mastery School, and Nick Cheadle, return to the podcast to share their reactions and reflections on the opening and what's next.Be sure to check out the Mastery School's new website to learn more about some of the program elements discussed. 
And we're back.Here at ReDesigning School, we've had our collective heads down for the past months, and now we're ready to look up. As have many in schools across the world, the Hawken administration and faculty have had to redesign just about every facet of school while staying true to our purpose, which is to deliver "Forward-focused preparation for the real world through the development of character and intellect."No easy task, but we've learned a few things that we can share.In Episode One of Season Three, Scott Looney, Head of Hawken School, and Garet Libbey, Hawken’s  Associate Head of School for Program, join to discuss the hows and whys of Hawken's  decision to open in person in early September.This season of ReDesigning School features a few exciting shifts:Our aperture is widening. This year, we'll explore how and why schools Pre K-12 are reassessing their approaches and redesigning their programs.We have a new co-host: Garet Libbey will share co-hosting duties with Julia Griffin, who is quite busy being the Director of the Mastery School of Hawken, our brand new high school.We plan to use portions of this season to go behind the scenes of the Mastery School during its inaugural year. We also plan to hear from experts and practitioners in other schools about opportunities and pitfalls in this very unusual school year.Thanks for listening! Please share and review, and don't forget to go to for more content. 
The transition to remote teaching and learning has surely stretched all teachers, students, and parents, but something distinctly challenging is happening in lower schools. To keep younger students engaged and learning requires planning, patience, and grit from all parties. It also requires a genuine strategy and a relentless focus on student well-being and growth. Courtney Martin, Hawken's Director of the Lower School, joins the pod to discuss how her teachers, students, and families are adjusting to the new normal and to provide a glimpse into the challenges and rewards she's witnessed. As an aside: This episode is a bit of a sneak preview of what you'll find in season three of ReDesigning School when we'll expand our focus to include topics and stories from Pre-Kindergarten to High School. Coming to your podcast feed in the fall!
In the latest edition of our series on Remote Teaching and Learning, we wrestle with the whys and hows of creating inclusive, dynamic, and meaningful community while we're all working away from each other.  Heidi Wilbrandt --  teacher, coach, dean, and member of the Diversity Equity Inclusion and Justice team -- joins the pod to discuss strategies for forming connections during a time when we risk many students -- and teachers -- feeling disconnected and alone.A few helpful resources:Elena Aguilar’s The Art of Coaching TeamsDaniel Coyle’s The Culture CodeAna Homayoun’s Social Media Wellness
Problem-based, place-based, project-based -- pick your P to accompany your BL. These days, many teachers are trying to figure out how to adjust their experiential learning plans when our shared experience is that we're all working from home. Many schools have projects and classes that ask students to engage with the community, but here at Hawken we have whole courses that we call Macros that use challenges from community partners as the primary learning and teaching terrain. We invited two Macro teachers, Janae Peters and Justin Cook, to share how they've modified their course to meet the moment without losing the heart, ambition, or meaning of their students' learning experiences. Some helpful links:The Korda Institute for TeachingHawken's Entrepreneurship Program
Eric Hudson, Director of Learning and Design at Global Online Academy, has been at this distance learning thing for years, and he has wisdom to share. He joined the podcast to share important background and advice to help answer the central question of this moment: "What does it mean to be a teacher when you don't have a classroom?"A few key concepts that Eric mentions:Cognitive LoadUnderstanding by Design
A not so funny thing happened on the way to summer this year... The global pandemic has disrupted the world as we know it, which has led all of us to reimagine, reconfigure, and redesign our lives. For teachers and students in particular, the moment has resulted in a momentous and sudden shift in how, when, where, and why we do our work.At ReDesigning School, we're going to change the focus of the podcast for the next weeks to explore how schools are adjusting their programs in real-time -- the good, the bad, the we're-not-sure-yets. First up: Jodie Ricci, chair of the performing arts department at Hawken and educational coach in Harvard University's Project Zero online classroom. We also interviewed Zoe, a Hawken senior, to hear a student's perspective on the shift to remote learning. What's clear is that for all its real and immense challenges, this moment is also an opportunity to refine and revise our approaches. 
A few days before schools closed and social distancing began, we spoke with Stacy Caldwell, CEO of the Mastery Transcript Consortium. She shared a lot of good news about how quickly and successfully colleges have accepted the Mastery Transcript. She also spoke about how the Mastery Transcript meets the moment when high schools are shifting approaches to focus on enduring skills, habits, and content knowledge.
Last month, we hosted the first cohort of accepted students at the Mastery School of Hawken for an evening of celebration and gratitude. It was quite a night and a key marker between the dream of a new school and its reality. To capture the energy of the evening, we set up the podcast and interviewed students and parents to hear their take on this enterprise. They had a lot to say! We also asked Rasa Drane, the director of admissions for the Mastery School of Hawken, to join the pod to share her experiences so far and update us on where we are with building the founding class.  
The landscape of college admissions is always complicated, so what happens when you add in paradigm shifts like mastery learning and the Mastery Transcript?  To answer that and other questions, we invited Renee Bischoff, Hawken's Director of College Counseling, to join the podcast so we could explore the intersection of the college admissions process and efforts to redesign school.The news, surprisingly perhaps, is good. A few resources that might come in handy:What about College? -- A whitepaper from your friends at ReDesigning SchoolA Fit Over Rankings -- A whitepaper from your friends at Challenge SuccessWhat ReDesigning School Looks Like: The Story of EngineeringLife in College Matters for Life After College  -- Results from the Purdue Gallup Poll 2014
The data around mental and emotional health in schools and college campuses are sobering -- to say the least. As we redesign school, we should think about ways for it to challenge, stretch and inspire growth without grinding kids down. That's the life work of Dr. Denise Pope, founder of Challenge Success, a non-profit school reform organization affiliated with the Stanford University Graduate School of Education. Besides being one of the kindest, smartest souls around, Pope is also a senior Lecturer at the Stanford University Graduate School of Education, where she specializes in student engagement, curriculum studies, qualitative research methods, and service learning. She is the author of “Doing School”: How We Are Creating a Generation of Stressed Out, Materialistic, and Miseducated Students (Yale University Press, 2001), and co-author of Overloaded and Underprepared: Strategies for Stronger Schools and Healthy, Successful Kids (Jossey-Bass, 2015)A few relevant resources:A Fit Over RankingsRewriting the Myth of Supergirl
"Education is undergoing a period of dramatic evolution," Grant Lichtman writes in his new book Thrive. "The number of options families have for their children’s education is expanding at a rate never seen in human history. Schools that understand and deliver what families want and need will survive and thrive in the future; those that do not risk losing the critical mass of students they need to stay alive. This may not be the hand educators want, but it is the hand we have been dealt."Grant joins the pod to share his insights on how schools are evolving. One key takeaway: The pace of change is rapid and driven by market pressure and a deeper understanding of what students need to thrive in the complex world they'll inherit. A few resources mentioned in the episode:Dr. Ashley Poklar's blog postDesign 39 CampusIn Search of Deeper LearningGrant's booksMarie Kondō's The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing 
We know the story: high school can be an emotional rollercoaster for some (or most or many or all…) students. What if we designed school with emotional and psychological health in mind? That's one of the questions gnawing at Janae Peters, Hawken teacher and member of the team designing the Mastery School. Janae returns to the pod to talk about the whys and hows of embedding social-emotional learning into the very fabric of school life. For more, read her most recent post, "How to Make a School Human and Humane."A few other mentions on the episode for those paying close attention:Pedro Noguera's research on Social-Emotional LearningThe teaching methods of The Korda Institute for TeachingThe Harvard Business Review article about strengths-based learning
On November 17, 200 or so people gathered at The Mastery School of Hawken's Open House. We thought it was a great time to take the pod out of the studio and record an episode in front of a live audience. Our topic: a deep dive into Macros -- the core building blocks of the academic program at the Mastery School of Hawken. Julia Hodges, Roze Kerr ‘21, Luke Kim ‘20, and Katie McGregor of United Cerebral Palsy of Greater Cleveland join the pod to detail how the Engineering Macro works and makes a difference in the lives of everyone involved.For a glimpse into the Engineering Macro, take a look at this short video. 
In our final installment of our Meet the Team episodes, meet Nick Cheadle, Spanish teacher and intrepid traveler. Nick joined Hawken this fall and serves as a key member of the design team for the Mastery School of Hawken. Hear about his background and his vision for how students can learn about language, culture, and themselves. 
No one knows for sure what the world of jobs will look like in ten, twenty, thirty years. We do know, though, the world of work is shifting profoundly. The question for schools is what educators should do about it.In a sobering but ultimately invigorating post, Rennie Greenfield writes, "Much of 21st century schooling is languishing in an outdated paradigm in desperate need of a revolution, and, if it does not evolve, the system will be guilty of dooming these students to the impending jobocalypse."  In this episode, Rennie joined the pod to talk about his research and what it means for schools.We mention a few articles and videos that you might want to review:The Future of WorkSociety Is Changing What the Future of Work Will Be Like. Are You Prepared?What ReDesigning School Looks Like: The Story of Engineering
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