Category Archives: Starting a School

Our School: Searching for Community in the Era of Choice

Unlike the others, who set off in teams to look for the twigs, branches, and leaves they would weave together to capture the essence of their school, Laura Graber searched the ground around her, alone.

It was unlike her – the person most responsible for bringing this group together in the first place to launch a school from scratch, and the person most committed to doing so democratically. But now it was June, and the inaugural year was over, and the staff of twenty-one women and two men was completing its last shared activity before the start of the summer, when the size of their team would double, when they would pack up all the records and wires and playthings and poster boards and move to a new building across town, and when the glow of what had just been accomplished would start to fade in exchange for a renewed anxiety of all the new challenges to be overcome.

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Categories: Book Projects, Starting a School

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Stories of Transformation: Blue (School) Skies Ahead

It was fifteen years ago, but I still remember the first time I saw Blue Man Group. Watching those bald blue aliens discover how to eat a Twinkie, or investigate the queasy vibrations of a giant Jello cake, or climb the walls of the theater to learn more about the people who were sitting there – well, anyone who’s seen the show knows there’s nothing quite like it.

Since that time, Blue Man Group has become an international phenomenon, and an unlikely aesthetic portal through which to vicariously experience the wonders of inquiry, discovery and mischief. And now, those same core ingredients are at the heart of a remarkable new school in New York City – a school I got to visit and see through the eyes of two of its founders, “Blue Man” Matt Goldman and his wife, Renee Rolleri.

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Categories: Assessment, Learning, Organizational Change, Starting a School

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Looking for the World’s Greatest Principal

It’s time our new school (scheduled opening Fall 2011) found its instructional leader. Who can help us find the right candidate? Send them here. And please help spread the word!

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Categories: Leadership, Learning, Starting a School

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Tribal Leadership, Chicago & Organizational Culture

I’m in Chicago this week attending the National Charter Schools Conference, and on the plane this morning I continued reading a book that was recommended to me last week by Zappos’ Tony Hsieh, called Tribal Leadership. It’s a fascinating book to be reading as we prepare to start a completely new school. And as someone […]

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Categories: Leadership, Starting a School, Voice

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Best Questions — Starting a School, Part II

I’ve volunteered to take the lead at putting together a plan for recruiting, interviewing and evaluating prospective principals for our new elementary school here in DC (scheduled opening, August 2011), and thus far it’s been a really useful process of trying to surface the “best questions” one should ask to get the fullest sense of […]

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