Bringing to Scale

Bringing an idea to scale is something we hear a lot in education. When something is working really well in one classroom or school, we think we need to replicate it on a larger scale. Small ideas are pushed to become big ideas with big implications and buy-in. Yes, there are some great ideas which should be brought to "scale" such as recess, and social-emotional learning or restorative justice and culturally responsive practices. However, many great ideas or programs that work in one space, can't always be brought to scale.

So much of what we do in schools is contextual. What works in one classroom won't always work in another. I am able to do things in my space, which I know others can not do. This is not an arrogant comment but a reality. I have resources available and have built a culture that is unique to my school community. Sure, some of the things I do can be replicated but not everyone is me, and my kids are not your kids, and our space is not your space. I hope there are many things happening in my school which could be replicated in other places because I think they are great for kids. However, I am not naive enough to think that is always possible.

What I would suggest is instead of spending time looking for ideas to bring to scale, we focus on individual kids. When you attend a conference, look for ideas which you know will help kids in your school. Better yet, look for ideas which you can take, innovate or manipulate to fit the needs of your students. Start from the ground up. Look for students who have academic, social, emotional, or physical needs that we can address. Instead of looking for something for all kids, try to find something for each kid.


For more thoughts from the run, check out my youtube playlist.

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