Do you have that professional group chat of colleagues who are constantly sending you the best articles they are reading? I certainly do, and one of our favorites has been the Let’s Start Over Opinion Series in the NY Times. Recently Jal Mehta, professor at the Harvard Graduate School of Education and Sarah Fine who co-authored In Search of Deeper Learning recently added an excellent piece titled Make Schools More Human. They open with a feeling so many educators hold to be true: “The pandemic — and the pause in institutionalized schooling — has helped us to see what should change when that happens.” They offered 4 key lessons for all of us:

  1. The pandemic has revealed the limits of one-size-fits-all schooling.

  2. The necessity of making schools more human. One of the best outcomes of the pandemic is that it forced schools to get off their treadmill and actually talk to students and parents — understand their life circumstances and how those intersected with school expectations.

  3. We cannot set the needs of students against the needs of adults.

  4. The question of how to catch students up on what they missed during the pandemic.

How might these 4 Key Lessons from Mehata and Fine resonate with your experience? What might be your additional lessons? For many of us, these questions will guide our next steps to mediate our present decisions for our future. 

As you think about your next message to colleagues, how will you unpack your understanding of these lessons and “check for understanding” with others? This meaning making is critical—and together we can impact future lesson planning.


Frances Marie Gipson, PhD

Dr. Frances Marie Gipson is a clinical associate professor of education in the School of Educational Studies at Claremont Graduate University, and also serves in the capacity of Director of the Urban Leadership Program. Prior to this role, Dr. Gipson served as the Chief Academic Officer of the second largest school district in the nation.  Dr. Gipson’s leadership has been formally recognized from her peers, higher education, and national organizations ranging from Administrator of the Year Award from ACSA, the Tae Han Kim award for humanitarian and cultural accomplishments, CSULA Day of the Educator award for excellence in fieldwork supervision, Excellence in Urban Leadership Award, Top 30 Trailblazers, Technologists, and Transformers by the Center for Digital Education, AALA President’s Award, Sanford Inaugural Scholar, and most recently Distinguished Alumni by CGU.

Dr. Gipson believes that “living in the system” and “disturbing the system” are both critical to agency and advocacy for youth, and ensure that our communities are at the center of all decisions. She is inspired to coach, mentor, and support the next generation of urban leaders who will promote flourishing urban school systems.