• Launching a new school model is hard. But do it anyway.

    Posted by Guest Blogger

    Mar. 5th, 2014

    Editor’s Note: Christine Ortiz is a social entrepreneur and innovator in education, school model development, curriculum design and youth empowerment. Christine is the founder of Ampersand School and Blank Schools, and a passionate, visionary member of the 4.0 community.

    SXSWedu is in full swing, and I’m excited about the people I’ve met and have yet to meet this week. I’ve had some of the most productive conversations during these 4 super intense days. After quick introductions, the conversations quickly turn to school design. I started my own lab school 5 years ago, and at SXSWedu I can’t throw a stick without hitting someone who has a notebook full of notes, designs, sketches and plans for their own school. It is exciting and fun to talk with people from all around the country, and even the world, about these incredibly innovative schools they have thought so hard about. But the 4 days come to an end, and I go home. And then I get upset.

    I can’t get through those days without meeting a dozen people with plans to start an innovative new school – but I can count on my fingers the people I’ve met who actually have.

    Launching a new school model is hard. Doing it on your own is even harder. I went the lone-ranger route and experienced first hand how difficult it is, but also how rewarding. Questioning assumptions, testing new methods, designing a better way of doing school has been an incredible experience.

    I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about how we can get more people to cross over from talking about launching a new school to actually doing it, and my hunch is that what people need to get them to cross over is a community and some resources.

    Lucky for you, 4.0 Schools and the Future of School challenge are giving you both.

    Now you’ve got absolutely no excuses. Stop talking, and start building. When I run into you at SXSWedu next year, and you find out I started a school, I can’t wait to hear you say “me too.”

    – Christine M. Ortiz, M.Ed, MNM