One of the most common questions I answer about Education Elements is, “So what do you guys do?” If we have an elevator ride that goes to, say, the top of the world’s tallest building, I can give a fairly satisfying and comprehensive answer. If, on the other hand, we are just waiting in a short line for a cup of coffee, I tend to say something like, “We help districts solve their biggest challenges,” which, judging by the reaction I often get, is not nearly the level of detail people are looking to hear. So in the age of TL;DR and Buzzfeed lists that always come in odd numbers, I decided to try to put pen to paper and explain what we do in a way that gets more head nods and doesn’t have anyone thinking, “For the love of God will she ever stop talking?” (Don’t worry, you can just read the bold parts)
- We help districts solve their biggest challenges. This just happens to be true and worth saying again. Our team is full of problem solvers. If you give us a problem, we are going to work with you to solve it.
- We shift mindsets. So much of getting something done in an organization, schools and districts included, is about getting buy-in and support for new ideas. We make that happen.
- We focus on what’s good for students. We believe everything we do should positively impact students. There is more than one way to do it - we can change what happens in classrooms, in buildings or in systems - but it is all so that students are better off in the end. This could include a shift to personalized learning or competency-based education but might also be about how we recruit and train teachers, how to improve budgeting, software selection or procurement, or a myriad of other things that impact kids.
- We support the adults in the system. We build the capacity of leaders and teachers, provide coaching and do professional development. We know that adults are learners too and that we need to empower them, enable them and support them in everything we do.
- We plan, responsively. When we do strategic planning, when we create processes for curriculum adoption or policies around procurement, we think about the needs of today and how everything will be adapted for tomorrow. We do not believe in slides that sit on shelves or meetings that end up forgotten. Our work is actionable and adaptable.
- We benchmark. We developed a tool, Onpoint, to let districts know how they are doing with personalized learning, and what they need to do next. We believe that data is important, not only for our students, but for all of us.
- We organize and align. Our experience in leading large-scale change management efforts is that there are a lot of emails, dates, and documents to track and that doing so becomes a workstream in and of itself. So we developed Touchpoint as a way to keep everything, and everyone, on track.
I know there is a tendency to want to put us in a category by title or role (PD Provider, Trainer, Consultant, etc.) or by Category (Personalized Learning, Finance, IT, Strategic Planning, etc.) but to do that defines us too narrowly. Instead think of us as good listeners and diagnosticians, great collaborators and advisors, and passionate problem solvers. We are the people you call when you need help. We are ready to solve your challenges.
To learn more about the Core Four elements which guide our work, check out the white paper below.