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4 Things to Understand About Education Consulting

By: Natalie Hall on April 3rd, 2019

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4 Things to Understand About Education Consulting

School Districts

As Education Elements continues to grow, I’ve been privy to the hiring process. I think it would be helpful to explain what exactly Design Principals do...after all, a job description can only tell so much. For those interested in joining our consulting team, this article serves as a brief introduction to the role. For clients, this is a peek into the work we do both on and off-site!

  1. Misconception: Education consultants walk into a district with the intention of telling people how to do their jobs
    a. The Truth: You are not the expert on your clients’ challenges; you are an expert on processes to solve them

People sometimes mistakenly believe that consultants are hired to be subject matter experts. I have come to realize that I am most valuable to clients when I provide a combination of space and time for them to tackle specific issues, as well as coaching rooted in best practices. As a consultant, I focus these supports on creating innovative and sustainable change by encouraging collaboration and alignment between district stakeholders. Ed Elements brings value to districts by helping them use Design Thinking to empathize with users, identify unique needs (rather than their ‘wants’) and develop tailored solutions.

 

2. Misconception: Education consultants come in for a few days, draft a lofty strategic plan, then fly off to the next district...only to be heard from on the occasional check-in call

a. The Truth: Building strong and trustworthy relationships are what you rely on in the tensest client interactions

In 2013, ed-consultant Peter DeWitt wrote, “schools are feeling pretty raw these days” to describe educator’s understandable hesitation about working with an outsider given the many pulls on their time.Through building client relationships that foster open communication and radical candor , Ed Elements consultants serve as trusted advisors.  This role positions us to maximize our own and our client’s time through having conversations that work on the root cause of challenges, rather than around them.

 

3. Misconception: Education consultants offer the same buzzword solutions to all of their clients, regardless of what they're facing or trying to achieve

a. The Truth: As the districts’ challenges evolve, so must the consulting companies (and the consultants) who work on them

Ed Elements offers varying district supports, and is therefore positioned to uniquely impact and have insight into clients’ challenges. Our consultants wear many hats: facilitator, thought partner, product deliverer, advisor, and sometimes all four at the same time. It takes agility to be a successful education consultant - changes in leadership, funding, district priorities, and even natural disasters, can shift the way a district tackles a specific issue. Over the past few years we have branched into different service offerings such as strategic planning and curriculum development because districts see that our processes and approach can be applied to a variety of their most-pressing needs.

 

4. Misconception: Travel!

a. The Truth: I’ll just say it: We travel a lot.  

We try make travel as fun or as serious as we want it to be. Beyond doing great work on client site, we do our best to see the sights of where we are, enjoy a nice meal together, and deepen our relationships with our district partners. The travel and work can mean some alone time is necessary to recharge, and there's always time and space for just that, too.  

If what you learned in this article has you wanting to learn more about Education Elements, find out more about our team and culture here. We are currently hiring Design Principals for our DC and West Coast offices, which you can learn more about here.

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Join us in Atlanta, GA from May 14-16 at the Personalized Learning Summit 2019. 750 educators and education leaders will come together to learn, collaborate, inspire and be inspired. Learn more about our amazing keynote speakers, insightful sessions, energizing breakouts, and innovation tours – and save your spot today!

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About Natalie Hall

Natalie Hall is a Design Principal on the Design and Implementation Team. Natalie comes to Education Elements with experience as a middle school reading and ELA teacher, and as a consultant in the private sector. With the goal of marrying her passion for education with her well-established consulting background, she comes to Education Elements with an excitement to partner with school and district leadership to develop and implement strategies surrounding technology and curriculum implementation. Natalie graduated from Duke University with a B.A. in Public Policy Studies.

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