April (2014)
March (2014)
January (2014)
December (2013)
Stay Hungry!
How We Grade
November (2013)
September (2013)
August (2013)
May (2013)
April (2013)
March (2013)
February (2013)
January (2013)
Fueling the Next Generation
Two articles came through my twitter feed over the past week that struck a chord, not only with me personally, but with regard to the work we do with Proctor's students each and every day.

The first article, from the Harvard Business Review blog network, Don't Make Assumptions About the Next Generation; Invest in It proposed a different approach to employers looking at millennials. Rather than Gen Xers and Baby Boomers feeling as though this younger generation is narcissistic and entitled and waiting for these youngsters to get in line, the author, Col. Eric G. Kail, suggests the opposite: older generations must adapt and bridge the gap with younger generations.

The author offers his perspective from his military background, however his proposition that communication gaps and preconceived notions void much of the common ground on which relationships can be built between these two different generations. Kail writes, "To begin a paradigm shift in how we lead others, we need to first understand how they develop and learn."

He adds, "The central position to what I'm suggesting is that we lead millennials forward and not drag them back to what we believe to be the 'good old ways' of developing people. Seasoned leaders don't need to turn their backs on decades of experience, but they also don't need to subject emerging generations to the same techniques of learning and development that made sense 10 or 20 years ago."

When read in concert with this post by Ian Symmonds, a clear vision for the integration of young voices in institutional decision making emerges. Symmonds writes, "The young people I meet on college and school campuses across the nation are greener, more politically and socially active, and more global in their views than just a generation before. Call them the active generation. They are on the move, seeking positive change, and leveraging technology and social networks to do it."

While the above mentioned white page discusses the need to have young professional voices at the decision-making table, my mind naturally shifts to the role a generation younger needs to play in institutional decision making. Student voice has long been a valued piece of community at Proctor, however, this blog does not just want to pat ourselves on our back for what we currently do, but rather to dream about what the potential impact of student voices could be in the future on Proctor's campus.

How can we continue to develop student voices as the primary shaper of school culture? How can we tap into these young minds who bring such a different perspective to the issues schools are facing? Can we include students in ongoing administrative conversations? Can we inform students of the budget challenges facing independent schools around the country and then set them free to identify solutions? Can we use students to dream up new off-campus programs that would transform their learning experiences? Can students drive faculty behavior in the area of sustainability practices? Can students drive technology integration in the classroom?

All these questions are ones that are percolating on campus, sometimes beneath the surface, and other times in very obvious ways, as Proctor's new installation of a photovoltaic display on the Wilkins Meeting House demonstrates. Regardless of where these voices originate, we must be sure to provide a place at the decision-making table for the next generation of leaders, and must actively seek to bridge the gap between generations as we develop institutional direction moving into the future.
Bridging the gap between generations can be challenging, but valuing student voice is an essential component to Proctor's culture.
Leaders emerge each year among the student body and identifying how to engage their voices is an ongoing process.
Student voices drove the installation of new solar panels on the Wilkins Meeting House over the past year and a half!
But how else can we engage student voices and bring them to the decision-making table?
How valuable would it be to have more varied generational perspectives wrestling with the current challenges facing independent schools?
The value placed on student voices has long been important at Proctor, and we must be sure to keep our generation of millennial's engaged by understanding and appreciating their perspectives.