As the new year approaches I decided to do something I read about recently. I am going to share my five “moonshots”. I had never heard this term before before reading “Design Thinking for School Leaders” by Alyssa Gallagher. “Moonshot” was coined by Google to describe their most innovative projects. These ideas are not meant to address small problems by coming up with easy and safe solutions. Moonshots address huge problems by proposing radical solutions that will gain more than 10 times the improvement.
In education, change can be scary. I am in my 7th year of teaching and I have seen change every year, but not significant change. This constant state of flux is brought on because the issues in education are being solved with small solutions. Educators see a problem that needs to be addressed, but they don’t want to change too much at once. So they implement 10% changes here and 10% changes the next year, and so on and so forth. This never leads to true and lasting improvements, because by the time the final product is in place new leadership is in place, or people have lost their commitment to the original vision.
Teachers are being asked every day to do the impossible. Individualize instruction for all students in the class no matter their level. Give one on one attention to all 30+ students each class period. Provide detailed feedback on assessments, and do so in a timely manner (the next day or two). Be understanding of the child who has a rough home life and know that school is not his top priority, but also make sure that he scores proficient on the end of year exam. Come to work every day with a smile on your face because your students depend on you. The list goes on and on.
Since we are asked to do the impossible, why not dream? Dream of all the wonderful things that public schools could be. Dream of all of the ways you would reach the unreachable students. Dream of all the ways you can prepare students for post-secondary education or career readiness. So these are my dreams, or moonshots, for my school district.
A restorative justice system that eliminates suspensions.
A common time for teachers to meet with each of the content teams they are a part of.
Regular access to a laptop and internet for every child.
A maximum class size of 24 students.
Increase the graduation rate of our minority students to match that of the rest of the school.
These are my dreams/moonshots for my school district. I look at this list and my first thought is that there is no way that most of these can, or will, happen. But let’s dream about what school would be like if they did. If we allow ourselves to dream, we begin to dream up innovative solutions. So why not try?