In this week’s Catholic School Matters (Episode #18) podcast, Dr. Tara Rolle talks about the design of the Drexel schools.  They purposefully have set out to put teacher development at the heart of the school system.  They designed the new school system with consistency in mind.

We talked about the design of schools when religious sisters were involved.  It wasn’t an accident that each order had distinctive charisms.  And those charisms didn’t just appear with the habits.   The sisters were trained—often together at their own teacher colleges—and their schools were cross-pollinated as teaching sisters and principals were moved around.  That way, schools didn’t operated in isolation.

We seem to have moved away from collaborative efforts in this era of lay staffs.  But why couldn’t we begin to think of our school systems like the sisters did?  If a school needs a turnaround, why couldn’t we bring in a principal who specializes in turnarounds?  Or a teacher who specializes in a weaker area?

Of course, personnel moves are difficult and those types of moves are sometimes impossible.  But what’s to prevent a school from learning from stronger schools?  Or stronger leaders?  This is the essence of design.  How do we want to be intentional about the way our schools look and operate?

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