Characteristics of a Great School


It is an interesting “google search”…you have probably seen heaps of these but thought I would share a few insights that will be good to think about for 2017.

  • A good school will improve the community it is embedded within and serves.
  • A good school can adapt quickly to human needs and technology change.
  • A good school produces students that not only read and write, but choose to.
  • A good school has diverse and compelling measures of success–measures that families and communities understand and value.
  • A good school is full of students that don’t just understand “much,” but rather know what’s worth understanding.
  • A good school knows it can’t do it all, so seeks to do what’s necessary exceptionally well.
  • A good school improves other schools and cultural organizations it’s connected with.
  • A good school is always on and never closed. (It is not a factory.)
  • A good school makes certain that every single student and family feels welcome and understood on equal terms.
  • A good school is full of students that not only ask great questions, but do so with great frequency and ferocity.
  • A good school changes students; students change great schools.
  • A good school understands the difference between broken thinking and broken implementation.
  • A good school speaks the language of its students.
  • A good school doesn’t make empty promises, create noble-but-misleading mission statements, or mislead parents and community-members with edu-jargon. It is authentic and transparent.
  • A good school values its teachers and administrators and parents as agents of student success.
  • A good school favours personalized learning over differentiated learning.
  • A good school teaches thought, not content.
  • A good school produces students that know themselves in their own context, one that they know and choose. This includes culture, community, language, and profession.
  • A good school produces students that have personal and specific hope for the future that they can articulate and believe in and share with others.
  • A good school produces students that can empathize, critique, protect, love, inspire, make, design, restore, and understand almost anything–and then do so as a matter of habit.
  • A good school is more concerned with cultural practices than pedagogical practices–students and families than other schools or the educational status quo.
  • A good school helps student separate trivial knowledge from vocational knowledge from academic knowledge from applied knowledge from knowledge-as-wisdom.
  • A good school will experience disruption in its own patterns and practices and values because its students are creative, empowered, and connected, and cause unpredictable change themselves.


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