A few of you who are just starting to build a school asked about how to create a school culture of innovation. Good question to ask, especially because we no longer live in an industrial age. Students now are growing up into an age where they need to be able to do what a computer and machine can’t do better. Like conceptual thinking.

“We can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking that created them.” – Einstein

Below are five simple steps to create a culture of innovation at your school. Students will be nurtured in pushing their intellectual boundaries and your staff will feel autonomy in pursuing best teaching practices.

1. Use positive reinforcement to share the success of your faculty members who innovate. You could write a quick blog post (or have a student exemplar do it) that shares the “cool” thing a staff member is doing. Some examples include the science teacher who flipped his classroom to show videos of him spelunking after work, the art teacher who pulled grant funding to bring in college theatre students to model effective acting workshops, or the gym teacher who ran his first triathlon over the weekend.

2.Try something new yourself and ask your staff how you could better innovate your practice. Try a virtual faculty meeting or flip it and have teachers respond through your online learning management system. Wear a Steve Jobs-like jean and sport coat outfit for casual Friday to look the part.

3. Be specific and humble. It’s hard to be humble. Tell your team that YOU TOO are trying. They will respect you for that, especially if something you try doesn’t go so well.

4. You are highly educated and so is your staff. But, we all need reminders. So, here is me reminding you that you are brilliant. Your turn to tell your staff.

5. Introduce FedEx days. During superintendent’s conference days, give 10% of the day to your staff and ask them to work on a problem they currently have in their job. Ask them to share their outcome by e-mailing you with the outcome or see if they are interested in sharing their problem and solution with the staff via an online chat.

There you go. Creating a culture of innovation is no easy task, especially in a school system that is run on the industrial model of school bells, periods, and desks in rows. You can change this, of course, and that would be a big risk. So, start smaller – bell by bell, step by step.

Your thoughts mean a lot to us here at No Child Held Back. Reply back to this message and let us know what problem we can help you solve.

P.S. Take a look at the press we’ve been getting!

Here are three interviews Yovel Badash took part in this past week:

  1. NHCB on WNYJ-TV
  2. Connected Cafe Interview
  3. State of Now Interview

Feel free to also share our end zip code laws initiative in Connecticut, United States. He has also been invited to take part in The Future of Education Podcast. How exciting!

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