Adaptability Project, Day Eight

It’s 5:40pm on Wednesday night as I sit down to write this post. The Adaptability Project is supposed to let out at 3:30 every afternoon, but my three teammates and I stayed in the MDA Library for an extra two hours to work on our presentation. The other three groups that are presenting to the judges tomorrow were done way ahead of time, but even with the extra prep time, we are worried that we aren’t quite as polished as we would like to be. Our proposal is a big one, an audacious one, and we need to choreograph four people handing off to each other through several transitions. We have two embedded videos that we are going to show, too.

Nancy, our Head of School, has repeatedly stressed storytelling and the emotional appeal, so we are starting off with a snippet of George School’s winter greeting video from last year, which is a rendition of John Lennon’s “Imagine.” It is kind of hokey, but we’ll get a chuckle from our audience and the judges, plus we’ll set the tone for our dream-big ideas. I’m not completely aware of the specifics of the other three groups’ proposals, but I know ours is the biggest. We are suggesting that we hire an academic technology integrationist, make a major push into blended learning, join an online consortium, and scale up independent study opportunities for our students.

Do we think that we are going to be one of the two proposals selected? Frankly, we aren’t that confident. If the “sharks” pick the winners based on the quality of the presentations themselves (one of the six criteria on the rubric), we aren’t going to win. On the other hand, if they select the winners based on which proposals truly set the school on a path to financial sustainability by reengineering our business model, then I think they will have to pick our proposal. Our proposal offers a pathway to grow academic offerings without adding FTEs and additional expenses; I don’t believe the other proposals can make that claim. I’ll be very interested to see what my colleague Colette has whipped up, though. I know that she is working on a plan to go to a 12-month model and add a summer term to our academic year, and depending on how she has envisioned the finances, that could be very, very interesting. Do I want to teach over the summer? No, but some people do.

Melaina discusses blended learning at her alma mater as our team rehearses for the big day.

Melaina discusses blended learning at her alma mater as our team rehearses for the big day.

This is a short post tonight — I need to decompress! Tomorrow I’ll take notes on the other presentations and summarize them on my blog. We’ll know whom the judges selected, and we’ll have debriefed the process. Our group is presenting in the number two slot, so we’ll have the heat off of us by 10:30am. I hope I don’t choke. By the way, my little side proposal isn’t going to be presented to the judges tomorrow, but it may yet live to see the light of day at a faculty meeting next year.

To borrow a phrase from George School’s Quaker founders, please “hold me in the light” tomorrow morning. And if you can get to Newtown, PA at 9am, come to the Molly Dodd Anderson Library and join the audience!


3 thoughts on “Adaptability Project, Day Eight

  1. Shawna

    I will be holding you in the light tomorrow. I have enjoyed reading your blog over the past week. I’m interested in seeing what direction the judges think GS should go. I teach in a system that has gone to online learning days for all inclement weather days. It was amazing how much real work and learning can occur on these days.
    Best of luck!


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