How do you make plans three or six months out -- and beyond -- when the press of the immediate feels so urgent? Caring for people and communities is paramount: without them, we don’t move forward. But that doesn’t mean that in the midst of this work, we can’t look ahead as well. We need to look ahead. Today’s Blueprint offers some guidance, tips and encouragement about how to be tactical as you keep your eyes on the whole field — or, as Ron Heifetz says, “move between the balcony and the dance floor.”
An Open Letter to Independent School Leaders
A few days ago, two professors from the Education Economics Center at the Kennesaw State business school published an thoughtful overview of how independent schools might approach issues of safety, student enrollment, and fiscal solvency . Despite the complex material (and the level of detail they share), the authors have managed to make this letter remarkably clear and readable. It’s organized in the format of an FAQ and includes explicit recommendations for action steps. 
Coronavirus and the Academic Calendar
Moving up to the balcony means getting ready for summer and beyond. As we follow indicators, and take cues from a variety of sources, we are watching higher ed’s choices as they respond to the uncertainty for summer and fall. In the previous issue of the Blueprint, you read about Beloit College, and they’re in the news again: their discussions around how they might transform the academic calendar forms the basis for this Chronicle of Higher Education article about new approaches to time in the wake of the pandemic. While the piece concentrates on the schedule for learning, the article also discusses the crucial importance of teaching collaboratively and creatively.
Preparing Your Business for a Post-Pandemic World
This Harvard Business Review article is addressed to business leaders, but the advice rings true for schools and not for profits. The authors advance a simple framework (the “5 Ps”) for strategically mapping your response both right now and in service of what’s next. A helpful accompaniment to this guidance: this reminder that we must avoid paralysis or perfectionism, and instead bring strategy right into the tactical, once again "moving between the balcony and the dance floor".
Nonprofit Fundraising in the Age of Coronavirus
On the fundraising front, many have asked us: How do we continue to raise money? In truth, you must never stop — but you should adapt your approach and consider how you can strategically offer what matters most to your communities now as the foundation for your ask. Many organizations are reporting robust annual fund numbers and the creation of “emergency funds” to support school employees and families affected by the pandemic. This article shares more examples of how schools and not for profits can pivot and stay engaged with their donors in this environment.
Structuring Board Meeting Time to Increase Impact
Organizations need their boards more than ever, and we've consulted with numerous heads and their board chairs in the last two weeks to offer guidance across a wide range of areas: redesigning board meetings for remote success; considering how the board-head partnership adapts to address the pandemic; establishing the right questions for heads and boards to pursue together; and coaching an intentional approach to leadership that fortifies the board, faculty, staff, and broader community. For a few quick tips, we offer our recent article in the NAIS magazine Independent School , which outlines some suggestions for rethinking how boards might spend their meeting time in order to drive engagement and impact.
A Roundtable Discussion on the Future of Schools
On April 10, Stephanie served as a panelist for a school leadership roundtable discussion facilitated by Michael Nachbar, Executive Director of Global Online Academy (GOA). Click here to read GLP’s blog post about the insights that Stephanie shared, and click here to read GOA’s blog post with additional takeaways from the discussion.
How The Pandemic Is Accelerating The Future Of Work
This positive piece on how the pandemic is accelerating progress in the workplace, and how technology is an essential element, reminds us that we might look beyond our current work as “crisis response” and “emergency planning” and instead ask: what should we be doing differently into the future – and why? While McGowan focuses on for-profit enterprises, her provocations concerning purpose are relevant to mission-driven organizations as well.
The Pandemic, According to Kids
And here’s a reminder of how capable and ready our learners are to talk about what’s happening right now — and how perhaps that’s the most important learning of all! Paying attention to our learners and communities in this moment, and learning in real time, will be the foundations for the near and long term future.
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