Some programs create outcomes we don’t intend, or that we can’t see all aspects of, because we are too familiar with them. We can help.
Imagine a stack of books on a table. It’s a common photo in a school’s alumni magazine. Or it’s often a poster on a bookstore window. In a way, a school is a stack of programs – academic classes, sports, clubs, “free” time, field trips, assemblies, and so on, a teetering stack that too many people say is stress-inducing instead of inspirational.
Most of these programs are planned by adults and articulated to the students and their parents. Here is what we do and why. Oftentimes – perhaps too often – we do what we do because we have done it this way, but sooner or later every single program in a school is challenged and must justify itself. I will never use algebra for the rest of my life. The five-paragraph essay is done. Who says I must play a sport? What could this waste of time have to do with getting into college?
We also must admit to ourselves that some of our programs create outcomes we don’t intend, or that we can’t see all aspects of our program because we are too familiar with it.
Our experience helps us help a school evaluate any program. We do not arrive with an agenda that one program is by its very nature better than another, but we believe schools must create systematic and productive programmatic reviews.