Each Friday we’ll give an update on the work of our Fellows, a select group of educators who are experimenting with new approaches to meet the demands of the 21st Century.

This week we had an online collaborative hosted by our committee on communication. We discussed the successes and challenges we face when trying to communicate our vision for school transformation.

There seemed to be widespread agreement that it’s hard to communicate the need and the vision succinctly — it’s complicated. How do you whittle it down to an elevator speech?

It reminded me of two of our influential thinkers. Dasko and Sheinberg distinguish transformational change from traditional and transitional.

Transformation requires the complete overhaul of mindset, paradigms, culture, communication, structure, strategy, actions, systems and processes. 



Like a caterpillar changing to a butterfly, the result of transformation is a state that is completely different than it was before. The researchers say it must begin with a personal awakening by facing a crisis that is essential for survival and requires a whole new approach. That’s not too easy to do in 30 seconds…

It also reminds me of Thomas Kuhn who says that we are usually not aware that we are in the middle of a paradigm shift as it is happening.

“The proliferation of competing articulations, the willingness to try anything, the expression of explicit discontent, the recourse to philosophy and debate over fundamentals, all these are symptoms of a transition from normal to extraordinary research.”

How in the world can we articulate that in 30 seconds? We have two attempts here and here but they are far from perfect. We’ll keep you posted as our Fellows try out different pitches and find ones that are particularly succinct and powerful.