Leading Out of the Storm: Taking Schools Forward (Not ‘Back to Normal’) | Joshua Freedman | 6 Min Read

Trust is the missing link; it’s a call for safety in an era where students, parents, faculty, board members and administrators feel overwhelmed and buffeted by volatility. While “return to normal” might sound appealing, it’s a myth that’s actually contributing to the conundrum. The only path is forward, which means that braver is safer.

School leaders are grappling with pressures that combine into a painful mess:

  • The emotional and financial burdens of the pandemic, including exhausted educators
  • Students who are, in record numbers, experiencing painful anxiety and loss of stamina
  • Parents and board members who are filled with their own complex emotions
  • Deep uncertainty about the emerging economic conditions
  • Social polarization including deep divisions about if and how to address racism and other areas of inequity
  • A growing recognition that the foundational structures of independent school design (from curriculum to exclusivity to grading to governance) are not working well
  • People who are more stressed, isolated, and volatile than ever before

Is it possible to lead in this context? What does it take to move forward? In the face of all this uncertainty, it’s easy to understand a wish to “go back to normal” or to retreat toward…

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Joshua Freedman

Joshua Freedman, CEO, Six Seconds, is one of the pioneers in the field of emotional intelligence; he cofounded Six Seconds in 1997, is the bestselling author of At the Heart of Leadership and five other books and six validated psychometric assessments on EQ, and contributor to many EQ programs including Coaching Equity Essentials. He’s also an instructor at Columbia Teachers College SPA administrative credential program; he is cocreator of the world’s largest social emotional learning program, POP-UP Festival ­— in partnership with UNICEF World Children’s Day, bringing skills for emotional wellbeing to millions of children & adults in 200+ countries.