by Ross Peters, Managing Partner.
The Far and the Near:
Keep long-term strategy and shorter-term tactics operating in relation to each other
This week my daughter and I are in Glacier National Park. Even with some trails flooded and others still too icy, it has been a special and wonderful trip. The decision to come to this particular National Park was all hers, and it came from an AP Environmental class she took at Asheville School. In February she announced to Katie and me that she was going no matter what, so in the end I have been tagging along with her. She had learned that in as soon as ten years the Glaciers might fully disappear from the park named in their honor. The need to go and go now was urgent. In the context of the Environmental science course, the end of the Park’s glacier was nigh.
Ten years. In the immediacy of a single day’s hike, a decade feels far away. Eleanor and I are not morose or funereal as we push up as high as we can to get a better view. We have been enjoying each moment together, less as a fleeting set of moments and more because it is fun and ‘stop in your tracks’ beautiful. The immediacy of the moment juxtaposed against the apprehension regarding the future is impossible to hold simultaneously. It is a fascinating polarity, and it translates to schools.
School leaders and boards are fighting to hold ‘the near and the far’ in mind simultaneously. The task is as hard as trying to hold a handful of water in your hands for a long time. It is exhausting, and it is nearly, if not completely, impossible.
In my recent work with schools, I have kept this struggle front of mind, and I think it is an area where we at EXPLO Elevate can be most helpful–we strive to make it possible to keep long-term strategy and shorter-term tactics operating in relation to each other. In a sense, they have to be dance partners in order for a school to navigate both ‘the far and the near.’
As I was thinking about this idea on the trail, I was, of course, taking some phone pictures. I found that both what is distant and what is near demand attention. Pay too much attention to either one and you miss the other. Great schools find ways to handle both.
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Dave, working alongside Gary, offers suggestions for how to document process without sucking the life out of project-based learning. Read ON!
How to Find the Grail: The Path to Student Engagement (Part Two): Beware the False Flag of Rigor
Don’t miss the first two parts of Ross‘ 3-Part series on finding the path to student engagement. Part 1 and Part 2
New Summer Course: Undisciplined!
We are excited to announce a four-day, dynamic workshop to help you find and create connections between your subject and others!
Undisciplined: Creating Connections for Deeper Learning
AUGUST 8-11 | 9:00AM-3:00PM | The Willows Community School, Culver City, CA