As school leaders, we’ve all probably spent some time in the past few days deeply pondering senseless violence in schools. Gathering children together for school seemed to be the best way to keep them safe and help them become the adults they were meant to be. Now, they become targets of those wishing to inflict harm. Something needs to change, a truth that is universally accepted.
It was impossible to fully extricate myself from these thoughts as I sat through sessions today. However, a theme emerged as I attended the morning sessions “Improving Culture Through Improving Leadership Performance” and “Leading Bold Moves: From Old School to Contemporary Learning Environments.” The truth is we cannot continue to educate the way we educated decades ago. We have the opportunity to demand change on behalf of the students we serve now. From offering a supportive culture where students are known, to providing students with choice and flexibility within our schools, to ensuring we protect our students from the harsh dangers of the world they will inherit; education must look different for our learners now. We must lead forward. As Mark Reardon stated in his session, this is our home court! We have the opportunity to cast a vision forward that allows schools to be transformed into an entity that fills the gaps in the children sitting before us now. The children we serve today look drastically different than those who arrived at the schoolhouse doors in the past. We have the opportunity to look closely at these children and make change, not for change's sake, but for their sake. This is leading forward!