NAIS New View EDU Podcast Archives: Season 1

NAIS New View EDU PodcastIn 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. New View EDU delves into the larger questions about what schools can be, and how they can truly serve our students, leaders, and communities. It features conversations with brilliant leaders from both inside and outside the education world.
No prescriptions, no programs—New View EDU provides inspiration to ask new questions, dig into new ideas, and find new answers to the central question: "How can we use what we’ve learned to explore the future of what our schools are for?"

Find New View EDU on Apple Podcasts, Google Play, Spotify, Stitcher, and many other podcast apps.

Season 1 Episodes: Fall 2021

Episode 1: The Purpose of School

Donna Orem and Michael HornImagine that we have been given the opportunity to completely redesign the concept of school. Where would we go?  

During the COVID-19 pandemic, educators have been forced to reimagine almost every aspect of school, changing our ideas about what’s truly essential. As we rest, recover, and reflect on the past year, we can also refine our vision for the future. NAIS President Donna Orem and celebrated author and speaker on the future of education, Michael B. Horn, join us to talk about redesigning the purpose and future of schools, collaborations between K-12 and higher education, and creating a culture of well-being in school communities.

Episode 2: Schools for Safety and Well-Being

2020 made us think about school safety in a completely different way from before. As we move forward, how can we redefine what we mean by “safety,” and imagine new ways to create school environments, conditions, and cultures of true safety and well-being?  

It’s not just physical safety measures, like masks and social distancing, that mark the pandemic as a turning point for school safety. Some experts believe that the main work of educators in 2021—and for the foreseeable future—will be trying to mitigate the effects of COVID-19 and multiple big-picture social and cultural traumas on student achievement. In a landscape where trauma is an ongoing reality of American life for many members of our school communities, how do we envision forward-thinking systems that effectively treat emotional well-being as a core construct for teaching and learning? Celebrated architect Barry Svigals, who helped to reimagine and rebuild Sandy Hook Elementary School after the tragedy, joins us to share his philosophy on school safety. Also with us is Barry’s friend and colleague Sam Seidel, Stanford K12 Lab director of strategy and research.

Episode 3: Schools and the Science of Thriving

ICaroline Webbt’s easy to say, “Have a good day at school!” But are we actually designing the environments that will support our students and staff in having good days?

In a world that’s only becoming more complex, simple concepts like having a good day can almost feel too rudimentary to think about. School leaders have plenty to do without worrying about who’s having a good day and who’s not. But having a good day is much more complicated—and far more important—than it seems. Some of our most talented staff are burned out. Our highest-achieving students leave the classroom uncertain about their ability to navigate the world with confidence and agency. Leadership expert, executive coach, and author Caroline Webb shares the research behind the science of thriving, and how changing your practices to help everyone have better days can fundamentally improve almost every aspect of education.

Episode 4: Schools for Growing Citizens

WhBaratunde Thurstonat does it mean to be a citizen of this world, of our community, and of our future? What does “citizen” mean, anyway? And what is the role of schools in growing citizens—or what should it be?

The current reality facing schools is one of rapidly changing social and political conditions that affect educators, students, and communities as a whole. Whether it’s a question of how personal choices impact collective health, or finding the right balance in helping a school community process and respond to current events, school leaders are grappling with the role of educators in teaching citizen behavior in the classroom. Does our current “civics” curriculum go far enough in helping students identify ways they can become engaged members of a thriving society? Or is “civics” just the tip of the iceberg, leaving the larger topics of developing personal agency and community engagement unexplored in our schools? In this episode, Tim Fish and Lisa Kay Solomon are joined by Baratunde Thurston, award-winning writer, activist, comedian, and host of the podcast How to Citizen With Baratunde. Together, they explore the idea of changing our mindset about the word “citizen,” from engaging with it as a noun to treating it as a verb—a set of guiding principles that can be translated into actions each person can take to contribute to society.

Episode 5: Schools for Developing Superpowers

Sanyin SiangAre we creating school environments that allow us to see the “assumed awesomeness” in everyone? Now, more than ever before, school leadership is about modeling hope, resilience, and a sense of possibility, so we can support our communities in developing their collective superpowers.

School leadership has never been easy, but at this moment in particular, there are new challenges and opportunities that could completely transform school, for better or worse. What is the role of a leader at this point in time? What are the practices that will help school leaders navigate the ambiguity and uncertainty ahead while staying true to a vision for their communities? This year, and the years ahead, are going to be a test of resilience, trust and courage. And to pass the test, CEO coach, author, and executive director of the Fuqua/Coach K Center on Leadership and Ethics at Duke University Sanyin Siang believes we’ll have to make a fundamental shift to prioritizing relationships in our schools. In this episode, hosts Tim Fish and Lisa Kay Solomon invite Sanyin to apply her learnings from working with top leaders from the military, athletics, and global entrepreneurship to the school setting. What are the essential understandings, skills, and practices school leaders can adapt from other settings to create dynamic and supportive environments for students and staff? How can we learn from the legacies of great leaders to transform our own teams and live lives of significance? 

Episode 6: Schools for Exploration and Improvisation

 Rob PoyntonStructure is, and always has been, an important element of school. We create systems, benchmarks, routines, schedules, and ways of “doing school” that allow us to measure and define the learning process. But we know that too much structure can have its downsides, sometimes sapping creativity, joy, and inspiration from the experience of school. How can school leaders create the right amount of structure to support emerging agency while giving space for new ideas? And how can we learn to view challenges or setbacks as new possibilities instead of disruptions? Author, co-founder of the online learning space Yellow, and associate fellow at Oxford’s Saïd Business School Rob Poynton joins New View EDU to share how improvisation can be a game-changer for school leaders.

In this episode, hosts Tim Fish and Lisa Kay Solomon chat with Rob about how schools can become more Yellow—or in other words, how the same thoughtful, seemingly loosely structured approaches to learning and discovery Rob has designed in his online learning space might be adapted to K-12 schools. What opportunities might reveal themselves if we instead learn to let go and apply the principles of improvisation to leading our communities? With greater flexibility and a spirit of possibility, can we use this moment to imagine School 2.0?

Episode 7: Schools for Diversity and Designing Inclusive Futures

Lonny Brooks and Ahmed BestAs educators and school leaders hone their methods in response to a growing understanding of the importance of representation and culturally responsive practices in the classroom, New View EDU dives into the subject with a transformative conversation on the power of structured imagination in creating inclusive cultures. Guests Lonny Brooks and Ahmed Best are, together, the co-hosts of the Afrofuturist podcast and creators of the game Afro-Rithms From the Future. Lonny is also a futurist, scholar, professor of communications, and co-principal investigator for the Long Term and Futures Thinking in Education Project; Ahmed is an award-winning actor best known for his role as Jar Jar Binks in the Star Wars films, as well as a writer, director, producer, futurist, and science fiction devotee. They delve into how their shared understanding of the future-thinking orientation inherent in the Black American experience, and the lack of representation of the Black community in the science fiction and gaming worlds, led to their creation of a communal game experience devoted to “democratizing the future.” They also share what their work means for educators and schools everywhere. Exploring how sensitivity to the importance of every individual’s perspective and intrinsic value develops student agency, Lonny and Ahmed reflect on the ways in which educational and social structures may stifle the emergence of vitally needed new voices and points of view.

Episode 8: Schools as Practice Zones for Adulting

Julie Lythcott-HaimsHow do educators support our young people in becoming independent, thriving, adaptable, confident learners? How do we encourage them to develop a sense of their own agency and shape their lives, rather than having their lives dictated to them? And what is the role of schools in creating capable, responsible adults—not just high-stat students who achieve academically but struggle to “adult” beyond the classroom? Julie Lythcott-Haims, New York Times bestselling author of Your Turn, Real American, and How to Raise an Adult, joins New View EDU to shed light on how our current concepts in education may be inadvertently restricting students’ growth. In this episode, hosts Tim Fish and Lisa Kay Solomon talk with Julie about her personal concept of “rooting for humans” and her investment in helping all people thrive. A former dean at Stanford University, Julie shares how her own observations about the emerging harm of helicopter parenting led her to begin exploring how young people suffer when they’re deprived of opportunities to develop agency, self-determination, and problem-solving skills. More deeply, Julie examines the ways in which true inclusion and care for every student make a stark difference in the educational landscape. 

Episode 9: Schools for the Long Term

Roman KrznaricAre we being good ancestors? This thought-provoking question strikes at the heart of what it means to design for the future. What can school leaders do right now, in the present, to ensure that long-term thinking is a pervasive, prominent practice in our schools? 

In this episode—in the temporary absence of co-host Tim Fish—Lisa Kay Solomon sits down with Roman Krznaric to dig deeply into the concept of being a “good ancestor.” Roman, a public philosopher, bestselling author, and founder of the world’s first empathy museum, explains how the good ancestor framework can be a foundational guiding principle for school leaders. Starting from the place of asking what legacy our present-day decisions will leave for future generations, Roman traces good ancestor thinking from indigenous cultures to present-day innovations. He shares how grounding futures thinking in a deep understanding of empathy can lead people to make radically different choices than they would make under other conditions. And he makes the argument that the way we approach strategic planning may not actually be very future-focused at all.

Episode 10: What Have We Learned and Where Do We Go From Here?

Episode 10 panelAfter a season of conversations about education, leadership, and the future, we’re pausing to reflect. What changes do we need to make to our systems and practices to best support students in navigating a future shaped by the events of 2020? Teaching and learning through a pandemic and a period of historic social and political change has exposed cracks in our system—but also surprising strengths. What have we learned to value more highly in our learning environments? What new, meaningful contributions were made by students, and what enabled them to make those contributions? And how do we design new, better systems of education that support the changes we want to introduce?

In this episode, hosts Tim Fish and Lisa Kay Solomon highlight some of the “good news” in a panel discussion with NAIS President Donna Orem and three dynamic, committed independent school heads: Ashley Harper of Wakefield School (VA), Lisa Yvette Waller of Berkeley Carroll School (NY), and Luthern Williams of New Roads School (CA). Together, our guests represent nearly 100 collective years of experience in education. They share reflections on the themes of student agency, well-being, and purpose that have been core to the conversations throughout the first nine episodes of this season, as well as personal observations and experiences of pivoting to not just meet, but embrace and conquer, the constantly evolving challenges of the pandemic.