I spent the morning at the Apple campus in Cupertino yesterday for a meeting with their education division. The meeting was fantastic, but what really blew me away was the atmosphere. Walking from the parking lot into the main lobby, I could sense something, but I just couldn’t put my finger on it. I’ve been to Apple before, I’ve been to the Google campus before – it’s always fun, but so NOT the education world that I work in.
In the back of my mind was this notion that now I am an administrator (many of my friends would say that I’ve gone to the “dark side”). My first official administrative job will begin on August 4th – as the AP of the largest elementary school in my district. What struck me as I walked around the Apple campus yesterday morning was the energy there. From the lobby to the grounds, and the café, everyone seemed to be exuding energy, enthusiasm, creativity, and vitality. I couldn’t help but wonder why our schools don’t feel the same way. Am I the only one who feels this way? I certainly don’t mean to say this specifically about my new school – I haven’t spent enough time there to tell. I will report back on that later. But from my experience as a teacher and instructional resource teacher working in many of the schools in my district, I just don’t feel the buzz.
Of course, many individual classrooms that I have vistited have this feeling, but I have never felt it from a school as a whole. How can an organization as large as Apple exude this feeling and a school campus full of energetic students does not? What is stifling the energy there? This is what I want to focus on during my year as a new administrator – how can we create a school that exudes excitement for learning and has a palpable energy that people can feel the minute they walk on campus? What are the roadblocks to this? How can people settle for anything less?
I’m hoping that my new school community will surprise me and be that school. If not, I’m willing to work as hard as it takes to try to make that palpable energy a reality. I hope my staff, students, and community will join me in that goal.