On the eve of the 2012 NAIS Conference in Seattle, I thought I would re-post this one as I am reminded of its relevance as I prepare for the flight from Atlanta to the Northwest.

Ross All Over the Map

          I have a proposal for a structure that will sustain and support innovation and emerging practice in independent schools.  As conversations are taking place across the country and indeed beyond our national boundaries about what our schools will need to become over the coming years and decades, our institutions and our profession increasingly struggle to form functional and sustainable networks of conversation.  The problem is not that the networks do not exist—rather the problem is that no single conversational network can hold a wide enough breadth of the conversation to catalyze progress in schools toward the brave, comprehensive steps that will be required of our schools.  I believe NAIS is uniquely positioned to ameliorate this challenge.
          NAIS has been assertive in pursuing challenging themes at its Annual Conferences; however, to my knowledge, it has not found the means by which…

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2 thoughts on “

  1. bllbrwn423 February 26, 2012 / 12:26 pm

    Thank you, Ross. Since I am a new follower of yours, I appreciate your re-posting this idea. I know nothing about NAIS existing structures, but I have two primary responses. First, this looks like an institutional Critical Friends Group of sorts. Having worked in some CFGs within previous schools, the spirit of your suggestion rings true. Secondly, as past Coordinator of Faculty Development several schools ago, I know that what you describe for the whole profession often challenges individual schools–namely, how to sustain meaningful conversations, assessments and evolutions, instead of falling into the hit-and-run model of annual events and themes.
    Thank you for your generative approach. Safe travels to and from Seattle.

    • J Ross Peters February 26, 2012 / 2:03 pm

      Thanks for this, Bill. I believe you are correct on all fronts. The connection to CFGs seems relevant, and I certainly know first hand the difficulty of maintaining these vital conversations whether we are simply trying to manage them in our own school or across the country.

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