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Getting Smart Podcast

Dec 19, 2018

The Getting Smart team visits a lot of schools, well north of 100 this year. Most were primarily public urban schools, about half were purpose-built schools opened in the last 20 years, and the other half were (at least partially) transformed schools. More than half were district schools, some were charter schools, and there were also a few private schools. And the key factor that tied them all together was that they almost all had some kind of “next generation” characteristics, such as personalized and competency-based learning, project-based learning, and encouraging of design-thinking and maker activities.

The team has learned a lot from these school visits and believe they are the best form of professional learning.


In this podcast, Tom and Emily summarize 10 lessons from this year’s school visits.


Key Takeaways:

[:15] About today’s episode.

[1:05] Emily and Tom discuss what they have been up to.

[1:27] Emily elaborates on why she believes school visits are so key to professional learning.

[1:58] Emily summarizes what Getting Smart looks for in school visits.

[3:25] Emily kicks off the first of 10 lessons learned: culture is key.

[6:09] The second important lesson: students are known and cared for.

[8:14] Lesson number three: great schools have a foundational set of ideas.

[11:50] Lesson four: getting really intentional about outcomes.

[14:36] Lesson five: it’s important that the structures support deep work.

[16:36] Lesson six: shared, public work.

[19:38] Lesson seven: talent matters.

[22:02] Lesson eight: distribute and broaden leadership roles.

[23:59] Lesson nine: learning environments matter.

[26:28] Lesson ten: establishing partnerships is key.

[28:34] Emily and Tom reflect on their top ten list and wrap up this week’s episode.


Mentioned in This Episode:

100+ Middle and High Schools Worth Visiting,” by Getting Smart Staff

70 Elementary Schools Worth Visiting,” by Getting Smart Staff

Science Leadership Academy

Thrive Public Schools

High Tech High

Learner-Centered Innovation: Spark Curiosity, Ignite Passion and Unleash Genius, by Dr. Katie Martin

Portrait of a Graduate

Katherine R. Smith Elementary School

Big Picture Philadelphia

The Workshop School

Share Your Learning


Singapore American School

Opportunity Culture

Envision City Arts and Tech School

Sarah E. Goode STEM Academy

Purdue Polytechnic Institute

XQ Super School

Who You Know: Unlocking Innovations That Expand Students' Networks, by Julie Freeland Fisher


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