“Don’t threaten innovation with a stick” Principal Greg Green spells out what leaders need to flip
Principal Greg Green is renowned for flipping his school, Clintondale High School in Michigan. The impetus for him was the 2009–2010 pass rate for students at the school, which was low across all subject areas.
Since then the school has implemented the flipped model initially with freshmen classes and, in 2011-12, across the whole school. Test scores, graduation rates, and college attendance have increased, student engagement has improved dramatically, and discipline problems have declined in both number and severity (check out Pearson’s case study for more information).
However, what does this mean for school leaders who want to do the same? We caught up with Principal Greg Green, to ask him what advice he could offer to other school leaders.
What is the best way to start out with flipping your school?
“I really recommend taking an incubation approach. Select two or three departments and recruit small groups of enthusiastic staff to work together. Find the people that are tech savvy and those already interested in video. You may find you already have teachers flipping their individual classes, get them involved.
What’s important is to not just focus all your energy on one department. Much better to get things moving in a number of departments so you can start to build interest across the school.”
What’s important in persuading your staff to support the idea?
“You need to think like a salesman and sell the concept! It’s really important to look at things from the perspective of your staff. What’s in it for them? How can this help them?
They need to be ready to invest extra time when you’re making a change of this magnitude. What’s important is to articulate why it’s ‘time well spent’. How this will save them time in the future and the benefits it can offer to individual students.
But you have to work things through. It’s a process so take one step at a time.”
How can you best support educators that are less confident in using technology?
“The approach we took was to partner them with teachers that were really confident users of technology. We encouraged them to co-create videos using simple tools for creating videos and then moved them along the technology ability chain.
We collected lots of video resources, such as Khan Academy, that they could access from our MediaCore platform. Having everything in the same place rather than spread across the internet made it much simpler for teachers to get started.”
How would you approach flipping your school if you were stating today?
“When you start something like this there are going to be moments when you have to rethink. You need a culture that rewards leaders and teachers trying something innovative and understands that some failure is part of the learning process.
The important thing is to give everyone a chance to innovate without the fear of failure.
The bottom line is do you really want to threaten innovation with a stick?”