In the past few years, school leaders have faced a constant need to innovate and respond to rapidly changing conditions in their communities, our nation and our world. Now we're all seeking ways to bring healing and strength to our school communities as we move forward. But what else can we learn from these challenging times, and what inspiration can we draw for the future of schools?
The NAIS New View EDU podcast supports school leaders in finding those new possibilities and understanding that evolving challenges require compassionate and dynamic solutions.
In Season 3, NAIS Chief Innovation Officer Tim Fish will broaden the scope of the conversation, diving into cutting-edge school models, new ideas about leadership, and expanding the discussion beyond K-12 schools. He'll be joined by thought-provoking leaders and innovative practitioners who are doing the day-to-day work of changing education.
Find New View EDU on Apple Podcasts, Google Play, Spotify, Stitcher, and many other podcast apps.
Looking for more NAIS podcasts? Listen to Member Voices for stories from the thoughtful, hard-working individuals who make up the independent school community.
Season 3 Episodes
Available November 15
Schools exist to help prepare students for the future. But in a society that prides itself on equality, how can we create equitable schools that prepare students to enter a world where inclusion is crucial? And how does focusing on the well-being of our school communities go hand-in-hand with building inclusive environments? In the Season 3 finale, two school heads with deep expertise in leading diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) work join host Tim Fish and special guest co-host Caroline Blackwell for a conversation about equity, well-being, and the future of inclusion efforts in independent schools.
Jessie Barrie of the Bosque School (NM) and Kalyan Balaven of the Dunn School (CA) talk with Tim and Caroline about the inspiring innovations they’ve helped launch, such as the Inclusion Dashboard and the Independent Schools Experiential Education Network; how they are leading in their school communities to improve DEI work; and what they see as the strengths and pitfalls of equity and inclusion efforts in education.
Much of the work of K-12 schools is focused on getting students to the “next step,” which, for many of them, is college readiness. But increasingly, it feels like we’re not working on college readiness so much as we’re working on college admissions. Preparing kids to successfully apply to college, in the hypercompetitive admissions landscape, is almost a full-time job of its own. What should schools be doing to help students with college (and college application) readiness? When we focus on gaining admission to selective schools, what are we missing in the K-12 experience? And what do colleges actually want K-12 educators to know?
Technology has certainly changed the face of education in recent years. In some ways, it’s even become vital to the way we “do school”—especially in times when virtual classrooms have been the only way for students and teachers to stay connected. But tech also comes with significant downsides. Digital distractions, socializing on screens, and the sneaky costs of 24/7 connectivity are changing our brains. As educators and parents struggle to find the balance between the benefits of technology and the dark side of devices, what does the research show?
In this episode, higher education experts Jeff Selingo and Adam Weinberg join host Tim Fish for a candid conversation about the admissions race, life on campus, and what “college readiness” actually means. Jeff is a bestselling author whose most recent book, Who Gets In and Why, was named among the most notable books of 2020 by The New York Times. Adam is the 20th president of Denison University, and his tenure has focused on issues like affordability, curricular innovation, and closing the college-to-career gap.
On this episode, host Tim Fish is joined by psychiatrist, professor, and author Shimi Kang, an expert in the effects of technology on developing brains. She shares her insights from years of research into how the new online world is affecting kids, and recommends common-sense strategies in homes and schools to help strike a healthier balance.
As the world continues to rapidly evolve, so do the skills students need to be successful in the future. Educational models that revolve around seat time, content memorization, and age-based pacing are starting to fade into the past. But what should replace them? One idea that’s gaining traction is the concept of mastery. On this episode, Julia Griffin joins host Tim Fish to share how she and a team of innovative educators have launched the Mastery School at Hawken—an alternative learning experience within a well-established independent high school.
Describing the concept of a mastery-based education, Julia reflects on the purpose of education as achieving the “highest goal” of maximizing the individual growth of every student. Traditional high school models, she argues, are organized more for efficiency, conformity, and deference to the needs of the adults in the building. Designing a fully mastery-based system of education instead requires creating space to center the needs of each student.
After COVID forced schools all over the world to dive headlong into experiments with online learning, most educators are delighted to have the chance to return to in-person classrooms. But what if the answer to a number of challenges in education—equity, access, student agency, efficiency—actually lies in going more deeply into the virtual realm? The founder of the world’s first virtual reality charter school believes that may be the way forward for schools.
Host Tim Fish talks with Adam Mangana, the chief product officer and a founder of Optima Ed, an educational experience company focused on creating American classical and virtual reality curriculum. Adam also launched the world’s first virtual reality charter school, Optima Classical Academy, in 2022. He shares his ideas about the inherent opportunities for greater personal ownership, democratized content sharing, improved access, new financial models, and a more equitable experience regardless of geography.
As schools and communities have undergone swift and often unpredictable transformations in recent years, leadership has also changed. Ideas about the characteristics of leadership, who owns the title of “leader,” and how leadership gets distributed are evolving rapidly to keep up with a culture of constant change. On this episode of New View EDU, explore what it means to be the kind of leader who can adapt and build strong schools now and into the future.
In an increasingly connected world, what can school leaders learn from their counterparts across the globe? On this episode of New View EDU, two dynamic leaders from the international independent school community share their perspectives on the past, present, and future of our schools.
Host Tim Fish talks with Dr. Nicole Furlonge, director of the Klingenstein Center at the Teachers College of Columbia University, and NAIS President Donna Orem about their views on independent school leadership for this moment. How has the need to respond to ongoing crises of well-being and safety, among other issues, changed the leadership model? What’s different for school leaders now, and what skills do they need to continue to lead successfully?
Host Tim Fish is joined by Maddy Hewitt (right), executive director of the Near East South Asia Council of Overseas Schools (NESA), and Kelly Borg (left), associate chief executive for teaching and learning at the Association of Independent Schools of New South Wales in Australia. Together, they discuss how world events such as the pandemic, global political instability, climate change, and a youth mental health crisis have fundamentally impacted education in different parts of the world—as well as what school leaders can do, and are doing right now, to create strong futures for their students and communities.
What if schools put learning into the hands of the student instead of the teacher? What if instructional models included less “instruction” and more time guiding kids to finding their own answers and inspirations? These are just some of the starting points for this discussion, and for the work that Tyler Thigpen does on a daily basis.
Tyler is the co-founder of The Forest School and the Institute for Self-Directed Learning. In this episode, he joins host Tim Fish to talk about self-directed learning and his approach to help students develop four core competencies: learning to be, learning to do, learning to learn, and learning to live together. Describing these competencies as “key marketplace skills,” Tyler delves into the benefits of an educational model that is purely student-directed. He shares what educators, parents, and students can expect from an educational experience that’s radically different from the norm.
Available September 20
Since the beginning of the New View EDU podcast, we’ve been asking guests to help us answer the question: “What is the purpose of education?” Now we’re expanding our search for answers into the realm of higher education. What’s the purpose of college? Is it just to get a foot in the door of a competitive job market, or is there something greater to be gained from higher ed? And what do the answers to these questions mean for K-12 schools?
For more than 25 years, Wendy Fischman has directed research at Project Zero, a research center at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. With Howard Gardner, she has just completed a national study of higher education and written a book about their findings, The Real World of College: What Higher Education Is and What It Can Be. In this episode, Wendy joins host Tim Fish to dig into the research and the surprising conclusions that might be drawn from the work conducting over 2,000 in-depth interviews on college campuses.
What if Elon Musk approached you one day and asked you to create a school? How would you approach the design of a radically different educational environment intended to provide deeper learning for the children of some of the most innovative thinkers in the world? That was the starting point for Josh Dahn, founder and executive director of Astra Nova School, an experimental school for ages 10-14 headquartered in Los Angeles.
Josh joins host Tim Fish on the Season 3 premiere to discuss Astra Nova's focus on helping students become “super collaborators”—people who will learn from an early age how to work well with others, how to seek and incorporate feedback, and how to grow in their own agency.
Josh challenges educators to consider what they truly believe is the best and highest use of students’ time during the school day, and he also delves into his team’s quest to create an educational experience that has a far-reaching impact.
Season 2 Episodes
We often focus on the student experience in our schools, which is a critical issue needing constant attention. But our school communities also include adults—the faculty and staff who work to make the student experience worthwhile. With the post-pandemic workforce shifting dramatically in all sectors, what can school leaders learn about transforming systems and practices to retain excellent teachers? How can we model leadership that supports and centers the well-being of faculty and staff? And how can we ensure that our schools are desirable workplaces where professionals can thrive and feel valued?
In this episode, NAIS President Donna Orem joins host Tim Fish to moderate a panel discussion with three energetic, experienced heads of school: Crissy Cáceres from Brooklyn Friends School (NY); Brett Jacobsen from Mount Vernon School (GA); and Doreen Kelly of Ravenscroft School (NC). Together, the roundtable participants discuss new trends in workplaces nationwide, how they view their roles as leaders in recruiting and retaining excellent staff, and what’s next in developing supportive, compassionate, collaborative environments for every member of their communities.
We’re all familiar with the stories of people who became wildly successful after failing dozens of times to reach their goals. But what if those “inspirational” failure stories are the wrong ones to share? What if we’re defining success and failure the wrong way to begin with? And how do our own expectations of how things “should” be influence our perceptions of what learning, growth, and success actually look like?
In this episode, Laura McBain joins host Tim Fish to talk about her upcoming book, My Favorite Failure. Laura is the K12 Lab Director of Community and Implementation at the Stanford d.school. She shares why she believes we as a society have the wrong ideas about the value of failing, the purpose of education, and the role of student agency in developing schools for the future.
Laura argues that we currently tend to share stories about failures that turned into material successes; but the real learning, she says, comes when we fail in ways that change how we approach the world.
Schools are workplaces—not only for students, but for the faculty and staff who provide the learning environment in a school community. Are we truly designing our schools to be great workplaces for everyone? What does research about neuroscience and the human experience teach us about the qualities of truly productive, inclusive, desirable places to work and learn?
In this episode, Camille Inge, a researcher and consultant at the NeuroLeadership Institute, joins host Tim Fish and special guest co-host Caroline Blackwell, the vice president of equity and justice for NAIS. Together, Camille, Tim, and Caroline dig into the research that has inspired NLI’s frameworks to help improve organizations through science.
In the midst of the Great Resignation, how can we get back on track and ensure that our school communities are desirable, supportive places for people to work and learn? Camille explores the SCARF model, which summarizes the major social findings in neurocognitive research and applies them to human behavior in the workplace.
How did the study of “civics” become a boring, drill-and-kill topic? When and why did we stop treating civic literacy as a relevant, necessary skill for students to learn? And how can we reclaim a sense of civic responsibility, citizenship, and future agency in our school communities?
What’s the difference between educating students for the future, and simply “doing school?” Are we designing school communities that foster the development of better adults, or are we clinging to old ideas about content and rigor that no longer serve us well? And what role do parental expectations, higher ed, and societal pressure play in the decisions we make about how schools function?
In this episode, Eric Liu, co-founder and CEO of Citizen University, joins hosts Tim Fish and Lisa Kay Solomon to discuss how Citizen University’s models of interdisciplinary education can serve as inspiration for more interesting, relevant, active, and inspiring K-12 civic education.
What if each of us believed we had the power to make change happen in civic life—and felt we had the responsibility to try? That’s the premise behind Citizen University, and the starting point for this discussion on power literacy, changemaking, and civic agency in schools.
In this episode, Denise Pope joins host Tim Fish to talk about how a total reframe of our definitions of success, the purpose of school, and what well-being looks like are vital to turning the tide after the challenges of the past few years. Denise is a speaker, author, senior lecturer at the Stanford Graduate School of Education and co-founder of Challenge Success.
Arguing that schools exist to create “better adults” for our collective future, Denise delves into a wealth of research and experience showing that what we say we believe about the importance of well-being in schools, and what we actually design into our educational frameworks, are fundamentally mismatched.
After the many challenges of the past two years, how healthy are our school communities? How attuned are we to the lessons we can learn from the people and influences around us? How can we approach learning with gentleness, curiosity, care, and a sense of wonder? And what do mushrooms have to do with any of it?
In this episode, learning instigator and love activist Michelle King joins Tim Fish and Lisa Kay Solomon to talk about how schools can become incubators of the beloved community, and how integral a sense of wonder and belief in the inherent value of each person is to creating environments where student and staff well-being can thrive.
Independent schools are inherently mission-driven. What would happen if they focused on becoming purpose-driven instead? How would schools define their purpose, and how would school communities be changed through purpose-driven leadership?
In this episode, John Gulla and Donna Orem join host Tim Fish for an in-depth discussion on how independent schools are situated during this pivotal moment in society—and how our school cultures can contribute to everything from improving educational practices to reviving civil discourse and civic engagement. John is the executive director of the Edward E. Ford Foundation and comes from a long career in independent schools. Donna is the president of NAIS.
We’re used to working and teaching in hierarchical structures, where power flows from the top down. But what would happen if, instead of maintaining power at the top, leaders gave power away to others? How could sharing power change the way we work, the way we relate to others, and the way we approach problem-solving? And what would schools look like if everyone was part of a constellation of contributors?
This episode features a recording of Matthew Barzun’s live keynote conversation with NAIS Chief Innovation Officer Tim Fish at the 2022 NAIS Annual Conference. Matthew, whose resume includes work in entrepreneurship, political campaigns, and U.S. ambassadorships to the United Kingdom and Sweden, is the author of The Power of Giving Away Power: How the Best Leaders Learn to Let Go. Starting from the unexpected point of the founding of our nation, Matthew delves into the question of how to create systems that allow each individual to be both unique and interconnected. How can we be “stars” in the constellation while also creating part of a bigger picture? And how does sharing power with others help to create that constellation?
What does it mean to teach the future? How can educators apply imagination and critical thinking to big questions about science, technology, artificial intelligence, and shaping the future?
In this episode, Ruth Wylie joins Tim Fish and Lisa Kay Solomon to share some of the innovative and creative ways in which she and her colleagues have made complex futures thinking accessible and meaningful to students of all ages. Ruth is the assistant director for the Center for Science and the Imagination at Arizona State University.
Asserting that futures thinking is as valuable as historical understanding, Ruth advocates weaving discussions and imaginative explorations of possible futures into existing classroom study. Bringing the future into the classroom is about telling a “continuous story,” and it can be as simple as finding new ways to help students imagine their own successful futures, or as deep as inspiring them to change the future for everyone.
Societies depend on our ability to “play well together.” But at a time when there are so many perceived threats to our well-being from external forces, how can we convince leaders of the importance of play? And what unique value does play bring to our schools and communities?
We tend to think of playtime as the province of young children. Jill Vialet, a social entrepreneur, author, visiting scholar at UC Berkeley, and founder of PlayWorks, has devoted her career to proving otherwise. In this episode, Jill joins Tim Fish and Lisa Kay Solomon to explain why the way we think about play as a part of our society deserves a second look. Drawing on her decades of experience working with schools and students, Jill argues that the basic skills and practices of play are the underpinnings of what makes people and societies successful. From learning to communicate, to assessing and surviving risk, to negotiation, compromise, and creative problem-solving, play is the natural platform that allows people to learn and practice important skills. Those skills, in turn, inform every part of our world, including how we work together and progress as a democracy.
What is the goal of modern education, and are we designing our schools and practices properly to help us meet that goal?
Jay McTighe, a veteran educator and accomplished author with more than 50 years’ experience in the field, joins hosts Tim Fish and Lisa Kay Solomon to delve into what he believes defines deeper learning in the 21st century. McTighe provides a detailed road map to help educators navigate the answers to important questions. What should a school’s mission statement include? What is the most productive and meaningful structure for “professional development” days? And what are we missing when we focus on covering content instead of designing our classrooms for deeper learning?
Archives: Episodes and Resources from Past Seasons