NAIS New View EDU Podcast

NAIS New View EDU PodcastIn recent years, school leaders have faced a constant need to innovate and respond to rapidly changing conditions in their communities, our nation, and our world. Now we're all seeking ways to bring healing and strength to our school communities as we move forward. But what else can we learn from these challenging times, and what inspiration can we draw for the future of schools?  

The NAIS New View EDU podcast supports school leaders in finding those new possibilities and understanding that evolving challenges require compassionate and dynamic solutions.

The sixth season of New View EDU tackles deep questions around well-being, achievement, and the true goals of education. Starting with a conversation with bestselling author Jennifer Wallace about her research into the dangers of achievement pressure in schools, we're delving into how to design schools that build healthy striving in an increasingly unhealthy society. Host Tim Fish gets perspectives from a unique array of guests, including children's book authors, an innovative entrepreneur, and former New View EDU co-host and futurist Lisa Kay Solomon. This season, we're asking not only about the purpose of school, but about the people we hope to nurture within its walls.
Find New View EDU on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and many other podcast apps.

Looking for more NAIS podcasts? Listen to Member Voices for stories from the thoughtful, hard-working individuals who make up the independent school community.

Want to sponsor an episode? Click here for more information.

Season 6 Episodes: Spring 2024

Episode 60: Student Voices on Learning Self-Reliance

Available May 14, 2024

Midland School studentsMost schools envision helping students grow in their agency, independence, and self-reliance. How to do that is a hotly debated topic with no easy answers. But while most students are trying to build those skills in settings that are also grappling with issues like technology use and the difficulties of providing meaningful opportunities outside the classroom, there are some schools where learning self-reliance happens in a wholly different way. Two students from Midland School in California join New View EDU to share their experiences with a no-tech, nature-based campus where growing your own food and heating your own living quarters are just part of a normal school day.

Ayanna Hopkins-Zelada, left, and River Peace, two Midland School students, talk with host Tim Fish about the challenges and rewards of their unconventional education. They share how they were each drawn to Midland, a boarding school on 2,800 acres that was founded during the Depression Era on the principle of “needs over wants.” While life at Midland includes conditions many students might consider spartan—minimalist cabins heated by wood stoves, outdoor bathrooms, limited internet availability, and a ban on cellphones—Ayanna and River say the perks far outweigh the downsides.

Episode 59: Schools and the Emotional Lives of Teenagers

Lisa DamourNow more than ever, schools are focused on supporting student mental health. With teen anxiety and depression rates rising, there’s a clear need to design environments that help foster adolescent well-being. But are well-being programs working as intended? What are we getting right—and getting wrong—about the emotional lives of teenagers?

Clinical psychologist and bestselling author Lisa Damour joins host Tim Fish for an in-depth, practical discussion of adolescent mental health and development. She draws on her expertise and the research she’s conducted for her books UntangledUnder Pressure, and The Emotional Lives of Teenagers, as well as her wealth of experience consulting with schools and organizations that center on child development, Lisa explains what she looks for in school environments that truly support emotional health and wellness for teens.

Lisa suggests schools think of creating “equilibrium” programming—that is, shifting the focus from possibly misguided notions of well-being to helping teens learn to stay balanced and grounded despite the many challenges of daily life. Lisa notes that many adults have the idea that a mentally healthy teen is a teen who isn’t upset, stressed, or unhappy. But in her view, that’s all wrong; a mentally healthy teen, she says, is a teen who can feel upset, stressed, or unhappy, and respond to those feelings with coping skills that are adaptive and effective. 

Episode 58: Transforming Teaching and Learning

Glenn WhitmanWhat would it look like if a school went “all in” on training teachers to become experts in the neuroscience behind learning? St. Andrew's Episcopal School (MD) did just that, and in the process, created the Center for Transformative Teaching and Learning. The center is dedicated to helping educators unlock the power of “Mind Brain Education.”

Glenn Whitman, history teacher at St. Andrew's and the center’s director, joins host Tim Fish to reflect on the evolution of the center, the contributions it has made to the St. Andrew's community, and the key learnings from Mind Brain Education (MBE). Together, Tim and Glenn dive into the practical applications of a schoolwide commitment to MBE and explore how the research can improve teaching and learning.

Glenn shares that the central question for St. Andrew's faculty and staff became: Would a deeper understanding of how learning takes place in the developing brain help teachers become even more effective mentors, not just in the classroom, but also in coaching and in social-emotional contexts throughout the school community? Exploring that question led the school to train every adult in the neuroscience of teaching and learning, and eventually, to adopting MBE as a key underpinning of daily practices at St. Andrew's. 

Episode 57: Jobs to Be Done in Schools

Bob MoestaWhat’s the difference between the job to be done by a Milky Way bar and the job to be done by a Snickers bar? And what does that have to do with schools? As it turns out, a lot, according to Bob Moesta. The author, professor, innovator, and founder of The Re-Wired Group joins New View EDU to outline how reframing our thinking about the jobs to be done by our schools can transform the way we approach hiring, retention, admissions, and student engagement.

Bob sits down with host Tim Fish for a candid conversation about his journey from a struggling student with dyslexia, to an entrepreneur and innovator whose work helped contribute to the famous Betty White Snickers ad campaign. Bob shares that in his view, dyslexia was a gift that helped him unlock his superpowers—if he couldn’t fit into the traditional educational system, he would have to learn to harness his divergent thinking to do something new and different.

One of the strengths Bob says he has cultivated through his life experiences is empathy, and through that empathy, he developed a keen ability to tap into the emotional experience inherent in every customer journey—including the relationship of a family to a school. Starting from the premise that we choose products and experiences for their emotional value to our lives, Bob maintains that in the world of independent schools, we often think about that value all wrong. While schools may say they’re offering perks like small class sizes or state-of-the-art facilities, and parents may list those as reasons they’ve chosen the school for their kids, Bob says the real motivators are very different.

Episode 56: Helping Students Shape Dynamic Futures

Lisa Kay SolomonHow many of us have taken a history class? But what about a class on the future? Or a class on how to navigate ambiguity? These are the kinds of educational experiences Lisa Kay Solomon urges educators to design for students to prepare them for an increasingly volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous world. 

Lisa—former co-host of New View EDU—returns to join host Tim Fish for a discussion about the importance of teaching futures thinking. Building off her work at the Stanford and her popular course “Inventing the Future,” Lisa shares ideas and examples of ways educators can incorporate a future-focused mindset into classrooms, both K-12 and beyond.

Arguing that the first time we learn to deal with ambiguity and multiple potential outcomes should not be while we’re in the thick of a real-world crisis, Lisa points to the many ways in which futures thinking intersects with strategic planning, school leadership, and preparation for life. She shares that the work of a futurist is not to predict the future but to scenario plan, anticipating many possibilities and constructing rich narratives and responses to each. 

Episode 55: Creating Bravely

Create bravely. That’s the mantra of twin brothers Peter and Paul Reynolds. Together, they have built a life of service to others through creativity as authors, illustrators, designers, educators, bookstore owners, and digital media executives. They share a passion for inspiring others and helping people find their path in life through creativity, kindness, and what they call “hard fun.”

Peter and Paul ReynoldsPeter, left, and Paul join host Tim Fish to talk about how their shared work has led them to become deeply involved in schools, both through working with students and through founding initiatives to uplift and support educators. Starting with their background, the brothers share how their civic-minded parents raised them with the mindset that even when it feels like the world is falling apart, we can make things better by remaining hopeful. That early inspiration led them to look for ways to improve the world through everything they do.

Much of the Reynolds’ work has centered around the importance of storytelling. Peter is an award-winning author and illustrator, perhaps best known for his book The Dot, which has inspired educators everywhere through the annual International Dot Day. Paul helms FableVision Studios, a multimedia production studio in Boston specializing in educational game design and mission-driven digital media projects. Together, the brothers own The Blue Bunny Books and Toys and founded The Reynolds Center for Teaching and Learning. All of these projects, as well as many others, stay true to the ideal of “creating bravely” and “dipping things in story.” Both children and adults, the brothers say, reap the benefits of encouraging messages delivered playfully.

Episode 54: Creating Climates of Care

Denise PopeWell-being. Engagement. Belonging. These three values are the “trifecta” of attributes for healthy and productive learning, according to this week's guest. But how do we design learning environments that put the focus on that trifecta, without diminishing the educational achievement, challenge, and rigor we believe our students deserve? 

Denise Pope, the co-founder of Challenge Success, returns to New View EDU to help host Tim Fish unravel the tricky issues around creating climates of care in our classrooms while also upholding academic standards. First and foremost, Denise says, we must stop thinking of “building community” as a box we’ve checked when everyone in a school is nice to each other most of the time. True community-building, in a way that will benefit students long-term, is a process of teaching students to work with others in meaningful ways despite different personalities, strengths, and weaknesses. When students feel needed as part of a group, and see the value each person brings to the work, then the pathway to an authentic sense of belonging opens.

Denise shares several examples of how Challenge Success works with schools to help them make small, incremental changes that infuse school with joy and ambition and help them pursue the trifecta of well-being, engagement, and belonging for every student.

Episode 53: Transforming the Future of School

Sam Chaltain“Knowing what we now know, we can no longer do what we now do. To do so is educational malpractice.” That provocative statement, by Stephanie Pace-Marshall, is one of the principles that guides this week's guest through his work redesigning education for the modern era. In this episode of New View EDU, globally recognized writer, filmmaker, and school designer Sam Chaltain asks listeners to consider how the world has changed since our school system was designed, and what educational “sacred cows” schools need to dispense with to keep pace with the rapid evolution of society.

Sam and host Tim Fish tackle these questions and more, starting with a list of the many practices Sam believes are no longer suitable for today’s students. Time-honored systems like age-based groupings, discrete subject areas, 180-day calendars, and even grades are all up for scrutiny. Sam posits that the purpose of school no longer can be strictly about content acquisition and retention—that the real work lies in helping each individual student identify their personal strengths, interests, and potential path forward in life. To do so, he says, may involve teaching traditional content areas like chemistry or history…or may not. Whatever we choose to teach, Sam’s goal is to pursue the “conditions for epiphany.”

Episode 52: Designing Education for Transfer

Jay McTigheWe know we need to redesign our schools to reflect the future our students will inhabit. Issues of mental health, well-being, mattering, and social-emotional growth are emerging as vitally important challenges to solve—to say nothing of the continued need to provide a high-quality, rigorous, and academically sound education environment. But while we may understand why an overhaul of our practices is essential to success, the big question remains: How?

Renowned education thought leader Jay McTighe returns to New View EDU to help provide some of the answers. Jay and host Tim Fish engage in a deep, tactical, and logical conversation about how school leaders can identify the goals they’re pursuing and utilize a design process that provides clear outcomes. Offering the premise that “rote learning of factual information is an insufficient preparation” for an ever-changing, unpredictable future, Jay encourages educators to instead focus on providing a framework that will help students apply concepts and skills to unknown challenges.

Elaborating on this concept, which he refers to as “designing for transfer,” Jay proposes that schools should think of curriculum as a series of transferable skills that build upon one another—not ignoring content, but using it to illustrate the biggest ideas students will need to help them build their toolbox for the future.

Episode 51: What Schools Can Do About Achievement Culture

Debra Wilson and Jennifer WallaceWe all want our students to excel. In many ways, schools are set up to foster achievement—to help students reach their potential, strive for great things, and move on to success after graduation. But focusing on achievement can create a culture that quickly becomes toxic to kids. Where do we cross the line, and what can we do about it?

In the Season 6 premiere, Jennifer Wallace, bestselling author of Never Enough, and NAIS President Debra P. Wilson join host Tim Fish for an in-depth discussion of the research surrounding the damage achievement culture is doing to American students. They talk about what Jennifer uncovered through the process of writing her book that may be helpful to educators and parents. After learning that students at highly ranked schools in the U.S. were officially classified as an “at-risk” group, with higher rates of clinical depression, anxiety, and substance use than their peers, Jennifer probed to find out more about the factors that led to this trend.

The good news is that there are steps we can all take to reverse these troubling findings. Jennifer, Debra, and Tim discuss the importance of creating environments that support “mattering”—the idea that a healthy relationship to achievement can grow through allowing students to find places where they feel needed and valued and are motivated by a deep connection to the task.


Archives: Episodes and Resources from Past Seasons