CVHS and The Future Here, I offer a sketch of 3 essential areas for CVHS to consider when contemplating the

future: The Mission Our school is set up more for personalized learning than most other schools are: we have a school-within-a-school design, professional learning communities, and an advisement system, all of which are designed to ensure that no student remains unknown. To keep up in our competitive environment, however, our school is going to have to push the envelope of personalized learning to a much greater degree. With innovations like COVA and The Big Picture Schools, we can’t afford to talk personalization without “walking” it as well. Thus, our renewed mission statement should highlight personalization. And above and beyond this should be one more ingredient: our school should stress characterbuilding and emotional development. Anya Kamanetz in DIY U and Daniel Goleman in Emotional Intelligence both stress the practical importance of “EQ,” how it leads to fulfilling lives, and how it is the main differentiator for career advancement once a person passes the threshold into a new career or station in life. Since this is the case, it would be foolish for my school not to focus on it. Thus, our mission should read something like this: Castle View’s intentional focus is to set students on the exciting and fun journey to discover their gifts, talents, and passions, to develop these through study and action, and to build their character for the effective implementation of their gifts. The Brand I want our brand to be cool and hip. I’m thinking about how the author Dave Eggers branded his 826 Valencia literacy campaign. He and his staff made the website and their individual writing centers (which are often located in the back of pirate supply stores) attractive and playful so that their student-customers might be more prone to explore the territory. In A Whole New Mind, Dan Pink stresses the importance of playfulness, and that’s what our school needs to go after. We talk so much about “rigor,” but I fear we’re going to get rigor mortis if we don’t stop to realize what kids (and adults too, I believe) want, which is seriousness mixed with fun, and meaning mixed with a little mayhem.

The Marketing Plan Because we’re in the Web 2.0-era, I’d like to market our school through the tips and strategies found in Dan Schwabel’s book Me 2.0: Build a Powerful Brand to Achieve Career Success. I’ve only skimmed the book thus far, but it gives invaluable information about leveraging technologies like Facebook, Twitter, and various blogging platforms like Blogger and Wordpress to develop an online ethos and persona that is attractive to customers, or, in our case, parents, teachers, and students. Our school would also do the traditional marketing actions like calling parent and community meetings, sending out newsletters and purchasing newspaper ad space, but I truly believe that our biggest leverage point would be using the aforementioned technology. We simply can’t be afraid of it, but this, unfortunately, is the normal response when a new technology is introduced. For example, back in Plato’s day, the new technology was writing with the stylus. For Plato, this was anathema. He thought that writing, as opposed to direct, face-to-face communication, would hurt Athens by corroding the memory of Athenians and by weakening democratic discourse (because speakers would no longer be present to defend what they had written). The same dynamic is at work today: how many times have you heard that Facebook means the demise of real social interaction? Yet, this is the kind of technology to reach students. (I can speak from personal experience here: I’m reachable on email and at school throughout the school day, but kids reach me most frequently on Facebook.) We need to stop being pollyannas about this, realize that the days of “Little House on the Prairie” are over, and get on board with what is hip and cool to our customers. My marketing plan, at every step of the way, will keep this focus in mind.

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