Book Review: The Innovator’s Mindset: Empower Learning, Unleash Talent, and Lead a Culture of Creativity

Having formed a sizable committee from all walks of our educational to craft a plan to become a “District of Innovation,” district leaders and I decided to launch our series of “colloquies” with a book study. Considering the title, The Innovator’s Mindset: Empower Learning, Unleash Talent, and Lead a Culture of Creativity, and the fact the author, George Couros, was scheduled to be the keynote speaker for our summer technology and curriculum conference, Lone Star TIA, it made perfect sense. Although I’d already ordered a digital copy upon its release, I had yet read the text knowing I was saving…

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On my bookshelf

On Pinterest, I created a list of [the most influential] books on my bookshelf. My favorites/most influential: 1. Daring Greatly by Brené Brown 2. Daring Greatly by Brené Brown 3. Daring Greatly by Brené Brown 4. The Gifts of Imperfection by Brené Brown 5. Linchpin by Seth Godin 6. Poke the Box by Seth Godin 7. Presentation Zen by Garr Reynolds 8. Schools Cannot Do It Alone by Jamie Vollmer 9. What Matters Now by Gary Hamel 10. (tie) Start with Why by Simon Sinek 10. (tie) Switch by Chip and Dan Heath 10. (tie) Made to Stick by Chip and Dan Heath 13. A Whole New Mind by…

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Federal investments in education: Are you up for it, legislators?

This morning, I was asked to respond to three “homework” questions for our school board to take to the 2016 Advocacy Institute to discuss issues applicable to our school district with members of Congress and/or their staff. Having crafted my states over the past three hours, I use my responses as today’s blog post. Preface As noted in my recent TEDx Talk, “Education Is None of Your Business,” education is a state of flux. It has operated on a traditional, industrialized, business model for well over a hundred years. Education is not a business; and the United States can no longer operate…

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Trees

“I don’t like trees because they’re not perfect,” I blurted from the backseat of the car. I remember my parents shocked reaction and call for clarification. Something about the lack of symmetry was a sad statement for a boy of eight, and quite telling of my innate perfectionism. Now as an adult having endured and survived many of life’s greatest personal challenges, I’ve grown to appreciate the beauty found in trees because their imperfections. Like us, trees go through seasons. At times, the trees are in full bloom, and the smell of crisp spring air engulfs us. By fall, our…

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Raising a Ruckus

Note: This post was originally written February 18, 2013 and added to this blog site today because I was reminded of it after my post yesterday, Asking Questions vs Providing Answers (and because I have a blog now). After attending the Summit for Innovative Education hosted by McRel in Denver, CO, I offered a less than enthusiastic review to one of the two dynamic keynote speakers. Days later, my boss, Dr. Mike Mattingly, and I received an email from an exec at McRel stating, “Our hope is that you found it informative and engaging, but some feedback we received indicated…

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Asking questions vs providing answers

“Innovation starts not by providing answers, but by asking questions.” George Couros, author of The Innovator’s Mindset: Empower Learning, Unleash Talent, and Lead a Culture of Creativity Recently, I attended an invitation-only “innovation forum” billed as the next-generation of “conferencing.” Described with enticing phrasing of participating with a select group of thought leaders with genuine and meaningful dialogue with like-minded individuals, I opted in despite the fact it was mid-May; and in the school business, May is…May. Ask any educator which is more challenging, August or May, and the answer will at a minimum cause a pause, but most likely reflect the time of…

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The Ever Increasing Burden on America’s Public Schools 

This is one of the more fascinating looks into [some of] the plates classroom teachers are expected to spin all while ensuring every child is meeting national and state standards. For a PDF version, visit http://www.jamievollmer.com/pdf/the-list.pdf. “The contract between our communities and our schools has changed. It’s no longer “Help us teach our children.” It’s “Raise our kids.” No generation of teachers and administrators in history has had to fulfill this mandate. And each year, the pressure grows.” Jamie Vollmer Source: The Ever Increasing Burden on America’s Public Schools (Print Version) | Jamie Vollmer

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Nostesia

As previously mentioned, one of my heroes in education is businessman Jamie Vollmer, author of the book, Schools Cannot Do It Alone: Building Public Support for America’s Public Schools. He coined one of my favorite terms, “nostesia,” a combination of nostalgia and amnesia. Whether changing from conventional A – F grading system to standards-based grading or from a traditional calendar to one spread throughout the calendar year to prevent summer learning loss (or the “summer learning slide”), this term fights to defend and maintain the status quo. Nostesia Millions of Americans argue, often vehemently, that today’s schools are dreadful compared to the…

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The Blueberry Story by Jamie Vollmer

One of my heroes in education is Jamie Vollmer, author of the book, Schools Cannot Do It Alone: Building Public Support for America’s Public Schools. But Jamie is not an educator; he is a businessman. Yet the saga of his transition from a critic of public education to a supporter captures the issues facing public education in a profound way starting with his “blueberry” story. I urge you to visit his website, purchase his book, and read his detailed account of public education in America. It is one of the best reads on schooling you will find. The Blueberry Story:…

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Summer learning loss: Long-term ramifications over short-term [economic] gains

On its website, the National Summer Learning Association writes, “For the more than 25 million low-income public school students in America, summer is often anything but a vacation. Instead of a relaxing break to explore new interests and places, it’s often a time when children, youth and families struggle to find and afford food to eat and a safe place to be.  Summer learning loss, the phenomenon where young people lose academic skills over the summer, is one of the most significant causes of the achievement gap between lower and higher income youth and one of the strongest contributors to…

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