"Necessity is the mother of invention." There is much truth and experience to validate that proverb. As schools have made a quick flip to distance learning, will this have a lasting impact on the education system as a whole?
The reality is that it is too early to tell. However, School Heads should be proactive right now. You must work to develop long-term strategies, should this be a major disruption that significantly alters the ways in which private-independent schools function.
Schools that recognize these changes and alter their offerings to meet what their market desires will be the ones that make it through to the other side.
What You Should Do Right Now
The first step that schools need to take right now is to understand changing preferences, accept them, and be willing to adapt. It’s key to understand that preferences and values might change differently per demographic. Your parent body is always changing, and different demographics of parents desire different things.
Think about how to create a survey of your families. This survey would focus on better understanding their values—what is important to them right now and in the future.
When crafting the survey, keep in mind that values and opinions are quickly evolving. Consider conducting multiple surveys every few months to judge how preferences change. Also, you might start to welcome the first parents from Generation Z in the coming years, who will also bring their own values and preferences to the table.
Once you have the results of your survey, you will have to ask some serious institutional questions.
- How do evolving preferences impact your school’s learning model, schedule, and programs?
- How do your programs reflect your mission, or teach in light of it?
Disruption can cause failures and collapse, but can also spur societal evolution. New approaches and uses of existing systems can jumpstart positive changes.
The schools that are proactive in evaluating their mission, their program, and how they should serve their community are going to be ready to confront disruption now and in the future.
The lessons that we learn through quarantine could very well change a great deal about the way we live, teach, and learn. Effectively managing the uncertainty about what is happening now and what will happen next can turn disruption into an exciting transformation.
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