New View EDU Episode 2: Full Transcript

New View EDU Episode 2: Schools for Safety and Well-Being

Read the full transcript of Episode 2 of the NAIS New View EDU podcast, in which hosts Tim Fish and Lisa Kay Solomon explore school safety, well-being, and belonging with guests Barry Svigals and Sam Seidel.

Lisa Kay Solomon: On today's episode of New View EDU, we'll be exploring topics related to school safety, well-being, and belonging: topics that are on everyone's mind these days, with good reason. I couldn't be more excited to learn from our guests, Barry Svigals and Sam Seidel, about their work on re-imagining school safety in a much more holistic, foundational, communal, and integrated way.

Barry is an architect, artist, author and public speaker who is currently concluding a Fellowship at the Stanford to Reimagine School Safety. Sam Seidel thinks, writes, speaks, and designs learning  experiences at the intersections of education, race, culture, and design. He is the Director of K12 Strategy + Research at the Stanford and author of Hip Hop Genius: Remixing High School Education. In full transparency, Barry and Sam are close colleagues of mine at the Stanford, and I feel so lucky to learn from their incredible experience,  deep wisdom, and spirit of generosity.   

Barry and Sam, welcome to New View EDU. 

Barry Svigals: Thanks for having us. 

sam seidel: Yeah, thank you for having us.  

Lisa Kay Solomon: Well, Barry, you're a celebrated architect, someone who has dedicated your life to creating meaning through environments. And Sam, you are an incredible educator, thinker, someone who designs learning experiences, and really reimagines what education and learning could look like. So I'm really excited to actually start at the beginning of your collaboration on this work of re-imagining school safety. Can you tell me a little bit about the origin of how this project came to be and particularly how you all brought your talents together to focus on it? 

sam seidel: So one piece to mention is that I'm one of the directors of something called the K-12 lab at the Stanford d. School, and one of the offerings that the K-12 lab has brought to the world of K-12 education is this notion of shadow a student, and using this design empathy building practice of shadowing to learn more about what goes on in schools for students. And about three years ago when my co-director of the lab, Laura McBain and I had just started at the d. School, we decided to do this and shadow some students at a local school. And going through the school day, just experiencing what they experience.

I was shadowing a sixth grade student. I felt quite safe. I was having a nice, a nice time, a little middle school awkwardness that I was feeling, but mostly having a really nice experience there.  And then in the middle of a math class the teacher informed us that it was time to put down our pens, and we had missed something the day before that he wanted to do with us, which was an active shooter drill.  And asked us all to stand up and walk to a corner of the room and huddle down.

And he showed us how he was going to barricade the door, and it was a door that opened outward, not inward. So instead of being able to slide a desk or something, so he had made something at home in his garage, which was made out of two by fours to kind of jam the handle and hold it shut against the doorframe.

And I was looking at all of these students who, as best as I could tell, looked kind of terrified. And I felt all of a sudden, very unsafe. And then we went back to work, we got back up and sat at our desks, and picked up our pens and went back to our worksheets.

And I just noticed how incredibly distracted I was. How I was unable to do sixth grade math, which maybe I would have been unable to do anyway. But I kept having to reread the problem. I was really struggling to remember what I was supposed to be doing and so on. And it was a realization for me that probably many people already understood, certainly many students in this country, this phenomenon around active shooters, this fear around guns in schools, was impacting far more students than the students who actually went to schools where there was any sort of shooting incident. And that in fact, these drills you know, I learned later through research are in, you know, upwards of 90% you know, 97% of the schools in this country do some version.

And this just cracked open a big question for us. And we're lucky enough at the K-12 lab to receive wonderful challenges from our colleagues. And, and in this case, our Executive Director at the d. School Sarah Stein Greenberg, had said to Laura and I, what, what are the stickiest challenges in K-12 right now where you think design could play a meaningful role? What are the things that maybe other folks aren't touching for one reason or another, where do you think we could be making an impact? 

I knew that Barry had done some really powerful work re-imagining what school safety could look like, particularly in the construction of school facilities. And most particularly in the construction of the new school that was built in Sandy Hook after the horrible tragedy that had, had occurred there.

And I reached out to Barry for insight and perhaps connections to folks that might want to come and be fellows for a year and work on this design challenge with us. And much to my surprise, Barry responded that he happened to be at a transition point in his career and was actually interested in engaging with us. 

Lisa Kay Solomon: Barry, I'm curious what intrigued you enough about Sam's question that... sounds like, you know, was a sort of offer to go all in and to really explore a whole new way of thinking about space.

Barry Svigals: Well yes, I've been involved in structures, but most importantly, I've been involved in the process to create the structures. And that's an, a very important dimension of what we're talking about, school safety. We don't, in fact, create the future by imagining at some time, some, somewhere in the distance, in some building, particularly for architects, everyone is thinking about what the physical manifestation of something is. In fact, these things are created by how we're talking as we are right now. And the process of our understanding what the, what the real questions are; to admit right off the bat that we really don't know, and that we begin to engage wholeheartedly in as deeply a collaborative process as possible to begin to unearth the ways and the path forward. What that does not only in the creation of any kind of building, but particularly for buildings that are now school buildings, that are now under the heavy weight of people being afraid, frankly, fear is such an incredible driver.

It certainly was when we arrived in Newtown in 2013. Under the weight of that, how to reimagine school safety, because that was first and foremost on everyone's mind. And in fact, the methodology that we need to bring to schools is that we need to start with questions. We need to begin with, first, the most fundamental of questions. We don't start with "What kind of chain link fence should we have," or "What kind of camera systems should we have," or "Who should we hire to be security resource officers in our school?" I mean, a whole other host of things that superintendents and administrators of schools very often begin with. It is precisely the wrong place to begin, because as we know, for a hammer, all the world is a nail.

And for someone looking through schools through the lens of traditional safety and safety strategies are going to come up with them. And they're going to look like the active shooter drill that Sam talked about, or worse: ones that are done with ammunition and, and fake blood. And I just... Inconceivable, what that does to traumatize.

So. Um, one of the questions that clearly came up for us is: What's the difference between being safe in the sense of physical safety, and actually feeling safe? Coming out of an active shooter drill traumatized as Sam was. Can you imagine what the, what the third graders felt? Um, this is happening of course, all across the country in well-intentioned circumstances. There are unfortunately unintentional consequences of all of it. We began to unearth the questions that were, were the drivers and they were the foundational ones. What allows for a joyful experience in your school?
What allows for a joyful experience in your school? If  all our strategies around school safety are put through that lens, you come up with a whole different set of outcomes. 

Tim Fish: Barry, I love that. I love that notion, and I love that notion of starting with questions. And as we think about this idea of being safe and feeling safe, and we think about how many people, many people in schools, many people out of schools, perceive the concept of safety. And what's on the checklist, if you will, of making a school safe, are things like: fences, security systems, fire alarms, et cetera. And one of the things that we have been talking a lot about, Lisa and I have been talking a lot about, is this larger concept of well-being and this concept of feeling safe. And one of the things I'm really curious about is how you see an expanded understanding of safety.

Barry Svigals: Well, this is a conversation that Sam and I have been having for, now, years.

I would turn it right around and say that you begin with well-being. Say, oh, we're doing safety. Let's hope everyone feels well about it.  I think the primary orientation is that secret sauce, which is: You think about what you love about your school.

And when we began at Sandy Hook we avoided talking about creating the school for about a month, which made some of the people kind of nervous because the school had to be built at some point. And we were on a very tight schedule, but we put it off by asking questions. What do you love about your home? What do you love about your neighborhood? What do you love about your community? And that, those were specific words that we were using. If we connect with what we love, we begin from another place. We know then what is at stake. We wouldn't blithely put up metal detectors at the front of our school. We wouldn't blithely put in 200 cameras, which don't get looked at in the screens anyway, because they can't be manned, but I just had another separate thing, but we, there are many things we simply would not do if we begin from a place of the well-being, which is essential for learning.

I mean, again, we tend to silo all of the things that we do. To think that we can solve problems more effectively by defining them. Yes, that's true, but there needs to be a divergence before we can get to the convergence. We need to really get the largest embrace of what it is we care about and go from there. 

200 years ago, you didn't have to do this. Everyone in the community picked up a hammer, built the school themselves. And they knew what the school was for and about. We are a long way away from that. So what we have to do is knit the community back together, again, to begin to ask any of these questions, particularly ones about school safety.

sam seidel: The thing I appreciate about Barry, that refusal to give answers or jump to this type of glass, this type of fence. Right. But to go back to what those fundamental questions are, what that starting point is. And so much of our work has been about how to help other people do that, because I've said to Barry many times, not everyone has that orientation. Not everyone knows how to do that. Maybe they have that inclination, but don't... where do I begin? One of the things we've been developing is like, just tools, resources to help people do that. So like one of the first ones that we've shared very publicly is called Questions to Your Answers About School Safety, and just that title sort of tells you, whatever you think you know, we're going to try to get in there and ask some questions and open up that conversation.

That's one piece is an appreciation and, and, and I want to share that that's a big part of where our work has gone. How do we help others do that? Another piece is you asked a question, Tim, about well-being. And Barry, you talked a fair amount in your response about community, and it makes me think of these pillars that we've been working on, around when we think about re-imagining school safety. When we think about what well-being means and looks like in schools. And those pillars are: Community, Equity, and well-being. So wanted to just surface that, that we're kind of, we've already danced right up to two of them. And I think it's important to add that third piece around equity and understanding what safety means. Is it possible what, when, when you have a diverse community, a community with a diverse set of needs, what are the ways in which doing something that might make one person feel more comfortable, more safe, might create a challenge for someone else, and how do we navigate those things, and how do we make sure we're not replicating some of the systemic patterns that exist in our K-12 system, in our society? How do we make sure we're not replicating those in our, in our K-12 schools? 

And lastly, maybe for now just want to say I don't... I think we get too often caught up in this idea that it's a zero sum game, that if we prioritize physical safety, we automatically have to sacrifice emotional well-being. Or community. And want to push back on that. And I think we'll probably, as we have more conversation, have some chances to look at particular areas where that's maybe seen as the case, it doesn't have to be. But I think it's a really key element here that decoupling or, or letting go of this notion that if we want to do the thing that will keep our, our students most physically safe, like, we want to do this drill, but now we're going to scare them, but they'll be safer. And that there are actually ways to address both simultaneously, that can be a win-win and not one at the cost of the other.

Lisa Kay Solomon: Sam, I love that reframing of a zero sum to a multiplicity of possibilities, and even your whole approach, which sounds like has... it's a discovery orientation for yourselves, as you really defined what it means to reimagine school safety and how we define it. And Barry, your point about starting from a place of well-being and love. Can you imagine if strategy started from a place of well-being and love? And this point that I think you're both making that I think is so powerful is this notion that safety is everyone's job.

So this notion, Sam, of starting with the shadow a student experience that you had, that was so visceral for you and, and our safety got, got, just continued to be besieged with so many external events. And again, starting from this place of love allows us all to have a part in re-imagining school safety. So I want to talk a little bit about what does it mean for everyone to feel like safety is a part of their job? So, Bar, maybe I'd love to start with you.  

Barry Svigals: Well, it, of course, all of this interrelates, starting with school safety is not where, of course, I began. Uh, education and learning is everyone's responsibility. And I think that, unfortunately, has been lost. We've—parents have very often abrogated their responsibility to schools and say, you, you know, here's my kid. Teach him. An extension of that is here's my kid. Keep him safe. All schools are in communities. And the life of the community is the most important resource for the school, and the school is an important resource for the life of the community. There is a resonance and complementarity about the ecology of our social fabric that we don't acknowledge. And when we don't acknowledge it, it has the same waterfall effect that it has in the environment. We look at one piece, not connected to the other piece.

Inevitably, it's going to not only fail in and of itself, but fail to take advantage of the way it can be fed. We were talking earlier about who's the school community, and how is everyone responsible? Well, the superintendent certainly feels they're responsible. And it doesn't mean that it's necessarily your job, but to care about and participate in the decision-making is part of your responsibility. And it needs to be offered to the students who, we were talking about this earlier. And all the people that are involved in, as we were saying earlier, the inner life of the school. And the three people, if someone said to me, if you want to know something about a school, there are three people you should talk to: Person at the front desk, person who works in the cafeteria, and the person who is maintaining the school.

Those three people are going to know more about the school than the principal or the superintendent could ever know. Because they're not distracted by the idea that they're in charge, which really is a distracting idea. Um, they're involved in it and they should be brought into it. There are many stories about bus drivers who have saved kids' lives. Not by making sure they didn't walk in front of the bus, though that's part of it, but recognizing how they're bullied on the, on the bus, for example. I mean, any number of things like that, same is true in the cafeteria. These people are very, not, very often not brought into the conversation, but they need to be brought into the conversation.

That's how the responsibility can be seen as much larger and communal. And every school is in a community, whether you think about it or not. Very often, we drop a kid, drop my kid at school who, or if I go who's next door, who's the business down the street. And Sam, you could tell the story about Ascend, for example, and the, and the parade.

sam seidel: Yeah. I mean, I think Ascend is a, is a great example of a school that understands that it's in community. And I would say, I don't know what the, how they would phrase it. I would say communities, plural. It's a school in Oakland, in a neighborhood. There's commerce, there's residential, there's folks living right outside the gate of the school. And ... It's permeable. I mean, folks come in, families, community members and students go out. 

And so Barry's mentioning the parade when we got to see this beautiful costume parade that they, I think it's an annual event where they go out through the neighborhood and you know, engage with the communities around the school.

Uh, we also got to go to one of their expos. They have expos where they open the school and share student project work, as well as food, and performances, and all sorts of things with members of the community.  But the whole school is just brought to life and the halls are lined and classrooms are all lined with examples of student work. And that work, not all of it, but much of it has to do with the world outside, whether it's explorations of nature or... one of the projects that stood out to me, given what we were looking at and thinking about at the time, was a project some students had done. I think they were middle school students who had gone and looked at video cameras all around the neighborhood. Um, and asked a question around whether they felt like these cameras made them safer or less safe and who the cameras, who and what the cameras were meant to protect. And so they had done this exploration and kind of both—data, sort of quantitative data tracking, of where were there more or less cameras, and then some theorizing about why, and then reading about the phenomenon of security and closed circuit and all this you know, these kinds of things. But they were inviting the community into that conversation. So students, you know, of course, teachers involved in, in sparking that and, and then inviting us in and asking us to respond by writing things on the wall and engage in conversation. And so I think that's just a tangible example of a school having a real permeability with the communities around it, and also engaging a large and diverse set of people in a conversation about what safety means or feels or looks like, and what the unintended consequences of things that may have been done within the name of safety, what those unintended consequences might be.

Barry Svigals: And the exploration in and of itself opened up the community. I'm remembering, Sam, the story that Jeff told us about, who was the assistant principal. Uh, they invited one of the local police officers to come in and he was sitting, engaging with them and opposite him was a young seventh grade Afro-American student who said, does it make you feel uncomfortable that I had my hands out of sight underneath the table? That opened up a pretty interesting conversation that went not only through the school, but through the police department. And if you don't think kids can change things, think again. If you ask them to be involved, the most extraordinary things can come of it. 

Tim Fish: You know, Barry, that makes me think, that's an incredible story. And I love, Sam, the concept of that permeability of the border of the school and the connection to the community, and how that connection is an invitation for the community to participate. And I also think often about, when we think about one of the trends that I've seen, and one of the things I've often wondered about, having worked in schools and talked with school leaders, is the balance they're trying to strike between sort of safety, if you will, and engaging in the community. And, and what the impact I've often seen between sort of the notion of safety and our pursuit of student agency. Right? One of the powerful elements of agency in my mind, is the ability to get out of the way of students and allow them to truly explore. You know? And I think about a lecture I saw years ago from Tim Gill in the UK, about this notion of risk in childhood, and how over time we have tried to mitigate any notion of risk in childhood.

He talks about students or children climbing on the lions in Trafalgar square in London, and how, when they're holding on to the lion, they hold on in a way, because they know there's risk if they fall. And that understanding of learning how to hold on is an essential part of childhood.

But yet I think in pursuit of safety, we've tried to remove all of that and created a space where children don't get that opportunity to explore sometimes, or don't get that permeable experience where they're able to sort of be separated from the watchful eye of an adult. So I'm just curious about your thoughts on that. And if that, because that feels to me like one of the key elements of building that true sense of community, is the way children are able to interact in that community. 

Barry Svigals: Yeah, it's said that one of the most abusive aspects of our culture is that we infantilize our children. That it's actually abusive. It's the worst thing you could do to a child, is to keep them from the exploration into the world. And with respect to feeling safe and being safe, when you start putting up walls to the outside, it sets up a dynamic where, interestingly enough, we know this, this idea about being in a prison in schools. But it also makes kids fearful. Um, and as we go back to the beginning of the conversation where the devices we think is going to, that are going to protect our children actually make them more fearful. Um, that's the, again, the metric of being safe and, and feeling safe. But the permeability is a really important —it relates to the holistic idea of: we have schools in our communities that need to relate to everything else and everything else needs to relate to them. And it is not surprising if kids don't feel connected to their education, if they don't feel connected to their communities. Everything gets played out in life in relationship, and if we don't develop those relationships and challenge them right upfront, and this has to do with safety too.

And fear, I mean, fear again is that, that we have to understand that's the elephant in the room always that we're dealing with. And it's a, it's a necessity. Um, but it's like fire, you, if it's, if it's in the fireplace, it warms the house. If it's not it burns the house down. And that's what we're having in, having in schools today. It's the, the fear is burning the house down with, with devices to keep them safe. When it really doesn't do either.

Lisa Kay Solomon: I think that's so powerful, Barry, and particularly as you talk about these unintentional consequences of the actions that we make in service of, I think you talk about the hard safety, right? The, the, the metal detectors and the other things that feel like they are being deployed for protection. When in fact they are unleashing this, this feeling of trauma and fear that's pervasive. And so this holistic perspective of well-being is so important, particularly again, as we think about what are the initial conditions we want to set, as we think about what it's gonna feel like to return in fall. And so I'm wondering if you could talk a little bit about the questions that you hope that they are asking, as we think about how we are going to create a place of well-being and joy and care and community support for our young people coming back to campus. 

Barry Svigals: Sam, you want to take that one?

sam seidel: I'm tempted to pull out our post-its and pick a few that, that we think are most relevant. When I say our post-its, I'm referring to this tool, I mentioned earlier that has a whole set of questions for not just leaders, but folks throughout school communities to consider in thinking about school safety.

But I think the fundamental questions are probably the same fundamental questions around love, joy, well-being, participation, equity, permeability, how to foster these things, how to bring voices—whose, whose voice is not in this conversation currently, that should be? Um, all of these questions that we were working on prior to the pandemic feel like the same set of questions that need to be asked now. And Barry, I'd be curious if you agree with that or if there are some, perhaps you would partially agree, but there are some additional ones that you think need to be at the forefront? 

Barry Svigals: I absolutely agree, Sam. Um, and there—there's an expansion of that that I would offer. And it has to do with, in Lisa's question about where we've been beginning school and, and what do we do in, in this beginning?

I think we look, first of all, to the things that are most robust about what we already have that foster deep community relations, meaning inner community and outer community. We look at what we have. We respect what we have, and we build upon it. So we make those, we don't have to add, people think, well, what do we do now?

Well, take a look at what's really working and make it work better, and more of that, that would be the one thing. Um, and this, this touches upon the whole idea of, of, of school safety strategies. Because everyone's thinking about school safety strategies with, with COVID. And interestingly enough, as you were saying, Sam, the same questions that we asked initially, you have to ask about the response to COVID. Are we protecting ourselves against the disease and affecting a deeper problem, emotional problem, that we have within our schools. So we have to ask that question. But how do we get to the, the strategies? We need to have a way in which these questions can be considered. Again, going back to the very beginning of the conversation about how I got involved in schools, it has to do with how we are, is what it becomes.

If we are, in our relationships with one another, strong. Open. Creative. Then that's the outcome you're going to see. Now these decisions around school safety are particularly problematic. They're very difficult. It requires a strong foundation of exchange among all the important members of the community, all the constituencies.

And I would throw that net as wide as you possibly could. And it's only going to bring in more fish. It'll be great. And it makes the school safer. We know that eyes on the prize make a circumstance safer. This is why glass makes sense. Now all of these strategies, we're not against school safety strategies. Cause it kind of sounds like we are. We're not, we think they're essential. But they need to come at the service of our learning and our learning environment, and the well-being of the students. So it's at the service of that. And so, for example what is in front of the Sandy Hook School is a rain garden. It's a learning—place of learning for kids to come out and see when it rains, first of all, they know that the water is captured. It's in the swale, this bio swale, it's also a moat. In front of the school, it happens to be a, a 30 foot barrier to the front of the school and there are bridges that go in.

Now, the bridges are not just any old bridges, they're bridges that are reminiscent of the bridges that are in the town. So it connects to the town. Again, if you think from the point of view of strengthening your community and, and, and heralding something and celebrating something, and making it safer, it's a very different proposition, what you end up with. 

Tim Fish: You know, Barry, it reminds me of thinking around polarity thinking, right. And the idea that it doesn't have to be one or the other, that we really can manage to the upsides of both poles. Right. And try to minimize the downsides of both poles. I think that it's exactly the kind of thing we're thinking about. And I find that as a fascinating way... cause I a hundred percent agree with you. Of course we want safe schools, right. And we want to prioritize well-being and equity and joy and love and that, and that sense of community. And it's, it's this notion of doing both, which is an incredible design opportunity for school leaders.

Barry Svigals: It's a great opportunity, when you start something, to say what you feel is most important. Say something about what you love. So I would say to any school principal, superintendent, teacher, I'm sure in front of the classrooms, they're thinking that teachers are thinking about this.

What can I say to the students walking through? That's the most important thing. 

Lisa Kay Solomon: I love that, and Barry, it—it reminds me of, you know, well, something that's just been coming up throughout this whole conversation is that well-being, belonging, equity, safety, happen at these micro touch points that they, that everyone has an opportunity to design around, if you have that clarity. And Sam, I really appreciate your point earlier that in some ways the questions haven't changed. In fact, they're more important. Because they honor what is fixed. What is fixed is the love of our community. What is fixed is our desire to support each other and to be a community.

And I'm reminded of a great quote from Plato, which I did not expect to bring up at this moment, but really talked about, you know, what makes for a community and the, and the quote is: "What is honored in a country is cultivated there." And I just think what you are talking about so much is honoring the love that we have of our, of our community, the love that we have for each other. And then everything from there flows from that ,those responses and that understanding.

And so I'm curious, Tim, from you to hear, you know, how we can make this even more actionable for school leaders and how to continue to facilitate these really important questions. 

Tim Fish: Yeah, I absolutely, and I, you know, I think about a school leader right now who is thinking about the summer and thinking about the work to do, and thinking about the response to COVID in particular, in the return to school next year. And how throughout this year, there's been this imperative to be reacting every minute to new information and prioritizing the physical safety of the entire school community: students, staff, faculty, everyone. And how it's put us in a response where we're always in that. I'd love the opportunity for leaders to take a moment, to take some time and to step back with your questions and begin with, what do we love? What does it look like? What does well-being look like in our community, and how might we collaborate with the students? Barry, I love your point. What a novel idea, you know, and Sam, to bring the students into the conversation about how we can design a safe community that, that does value and honor physical and psychological safety and everything else. And yet at the same time, give folks the feeling of safe. That for me, what an incredible conversation and dialogue that's possible at our, at our tables this summer with school leaders and teachers and students.

sam seidel: Can I offer one build on that?

Tim Fish: Yeah, please. Absolutely. 

sam seidel: Yeah. I love, I love where you're going with that. And, and it makes me think of an activity. I don't know where this activity originated, but one place where I first heard about it was in a program that we used to run called School Retool, which was for school leaders.

And it, part of the program was sharing were called hacks. Like these things you could do that were sort of relatively easy to advance toward a particular aspiration. And one of them was called student safety net, and it was a relatively —what I think of as a relatively simple activity, where you put up the name of every student in the school, whether you have a hundred students or 3000. And the staff just notes students who they know by name and recognize and have spoken to more than a sentence, or something like that. And you start to see patterns, right? 

I could imagine going back to your question, Lisa, about like, what should folks do coming in at the beginning of the year or the summer, or whenever right now, tomorrow, 10 minutes from now. Um, going through that activity to say, you know, who are the four students, if we're like most schools, that we're always calling on, because they're just so wonderful. And they've been at the last meeting, they know some of our jargon, and I know they're free at this time. Right. That's, there's sort of like, a lot of schools have sort of a go-to set of student leaders. But who do we know the least? Um, and how can we learn more about those students and how can we include them more? And what does it take to make it possible for them to show up? Are language interpreters needed? Are there physical barriers? Are there ramps needed or a different height of table? Is childcare needed? Um, I'm thinking high school here. That's my background. You know, what are the things that may be making it challenging?

Tim Fish: I love that. I love that opportunity. I love that activity and I think to your really good point, that really, I think is the thread that I'm pulling through this whole conversation is that that is absolutely part of safety. That, that safety, that, that looking for: Who are the students we're missing in this community? Is at the heart of what it means to feel safe.

sam seidel: I wonder if every school in this country did that activity, I'm just going to say four times a year, maybe less, maybe three or one. Would we have school shootings? Would we have suicides? 

Tim Fish: That's right. 

sam seidel: I don't want to...oversimplify some of these complex societal challenges, but part of me just doesn't know. Could something that fundamental change those things that have been sort of accepted as like, aspects of our society?

Because by doing that activity, we start to say, who do we not know? And I think we have a natural inclination to then say, how do we get to know them? Um, and once we go down that path, I mean, you know, so many of the stories that we've heard and read that have led to violence, either self-inflicted or inflicted upon others, comes from stories where students weren't—didn't have a single person who they felt a connection to. Who they knew. Who knew them, and was checking in with them.

So I, I, I would love to learn more about that. 

Tim Fish: I would love to, I, you know, I have a tendency to think in apps and I was thinking about an app that you could scroll through and touch. Because I think that, that to see, then see the data on the back end and blah, blah, blah. Right. But I also was reminiscing back to a conversation I had with a school leader at the Concordia school in Shanghai, it was a counselor at the school. And he had, was finding that he was overwhelmed as a psychologist with requests and crisis response with students. And that he was just being called in for crisis after crisis, that he could not manage it. And so he began a process by which every week, every student in the school answered five questions on a very simple survey. And then he flowed all that information back into Tableau and was able to not only look at the data at a meta level, but also he was able to show teachers the profile of their students that they had in their classes and kids who were in it. And there were specific questions that he only looked at, like, do you feel you need to talk to someone? For example, was one of the questions. And if a student just simply checked yes to that question, no questions asked, no definition, he would proactively go out and meet with that student. And he was able to completely change the course of his work in the community from being one of crisis response to being one of being proactively involved in the community. And teachers were able to see their students differently.

Lisa Kay Solomon: Oh, it's wonderful. So much to think about, so much to explore more, that, that posture of learning and care and discovery is exactly what we hope school leaders give themselves the opportunity to do as we return. And I think so much of what this conversation is about is where we're putting our attention towards. Right. Where are we focusing? And I just want to end, maybe, with a question from your deck that really inspired me, that I hope school leaders take away because we can, right? I think the whole point of this is to, is to give everyone permission to ask these bigger questions. 

If we could start over, where would we start? 

And so thank you so much for giving us inspiration that we can start with love, and we can start with care, and we can start with connection to our community and each other, and that we all have the ability to do that and model that.

And that's just a wonderful gift. So thank you for your work. Thank you for sharing your time with us today. And we're excited to continue the conversation with you, and excited to learn from our school leaders on what this prompts for them. 

Barry Svigals: Thank you, Lisa. Thank you, Tim.