BEP040 – Pathways to Personalization Part 7 – The Pilot

Shawn Rubin, Chief Education Officer, and Cathy Sanford, Director of Research and Development, both from the Highlander Institute, talk about their new book, Pathways to Personalization: A Framework for School Change.

This is the seventh of a multi-part series about the book. In this episode, Shawn and Cathy talk about the pilot— the time frame, what the content of that pilot should look like, and best practices.


01:58 What pilot teachers need in order to support their efforts and maximize their potential

02:44 We feel like the most important thing they need is coaches, or some coaching through the process

03:41 Example of design teams

05:05 Immense risks that individual pilot teachers are taking and the immense pressure that’s on them

05:40 The design team has to be like squirrels that are gathering nuts in the fall

06:54 Is there somebody acting like a Project Manager to make sure that you’re setting expectations for the pilot, that timelines and benchmarks are being met? Is there any person who’s taking on that role?  Or set of people?

07:18 A great lead change agent is going to deputize members of the design team to hold different parts of that work

09:51 You’ve got to pick the right teachers. You have to pick your divers.

10:35 Compliment your teachers because it’s not happening enough.

10:55 Complimenting and accountability

11:47 Difference between complimenting someone’s practice and validating

12:23 I’m interested to get your feedback on what success looks like for the pilot at different benchmarks and at the end. What do you think success looks like?

14:37 Goal setting in the plan phase and the local component

16:25 One thing that keeps recurring … is that this framework seems to be much more about empowerment than about being prescriptive and telling you exactly what you should do.

16:48 Barrier Mapping

Innovation and Scaling for Impact by Christian Seelos and Johanna Mair

18:30 Really understanding the people around you

19:30 You really need to think about the mindset change that needs to occur

21:06 We highly encourage people to share back with us the ways that they’re approaching this work


Pathways to Personalization: A Framework for School Change

Book Website:
Harvard Education Press:


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