Linc Kroeger is the President of Knight Moves, a limited profit company creating the next generation of elite technology professionals through extensive training in technology disciplines, with an intentional focus on including Native American, rural, and urban underserved communities.
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What School Leaders Can Learn About Innovation From Computer Scientists
Daniel: Should you persevere? Should you pivot or should you kill the project? The project that you love, the project you had so much invested in? Big, big dreams. It was going to change your campus, but then it was done. I really enjoyed today’s conversation with Link Kroeger, and he runs a program called Knight Moves and we’ll talk about that. They’re doing some really interesting work around computer science and coding, but I learned this idea of PK. I hadn’t heard about it before. I guess it’s this agile sort of methodology, Linc’s startup tech, start up type of vibe going on there and system that they use. But it’s PBK, Persevere, pivot, kill. I think for Ruckus Makers , this is something that you need to adopt because often a challenge that schools face is that they’re just too much into the system, into the institution. We love our plans, our three year plans that are very, very rigid and often not very realistic. And then no matter what, more hours, more effort, achieve the goal and then it doesn’t get achieved and nothing really happens. No new value on campus. What are we doing? Let’s learn how to persevere. Let’s learn how to pivot. Let’s learn how to kill and how to iterate, write, invent in. Since this show is for Ruckus Makers, it’s about designing the future of school. Now, PBC is one way to do that. It’s about challenging the status quo. PBC is certainly a way to do that, and since you’re a Ruckus Maker , you’re investing in your continuous growth. Thank you so much for listening and subscribing to the Better Leaders Better Schools Podcast. This is Danny, Chief Ruckus Maker over at Better Leaders, Better Schools. We’ll be right back after some show sponsorship messages.
Daniel: Deliver on your school’s vision with Harvard’s certificate in school Management and Leadership. Learn from Harvard Business and Education School Faculty in Self-paced Online Professional development specifically designed for pre-K through 12 school leaders. Courses include leading change, leading school strategy and Innovation. Leading people and Leading Learning. Teach FX helps educators see how their instructional practices lead to student talk and learning in both in-person and live online, learning for any subject at any grade level. See Teach FX for yourself and learn about special partnership options for Ruckus Makers at teachfx.com/BLBS. All students have an opportunity to succeed with Organized Binder who equips educators with a resource to provide stable and consistent learning, whether that’s in a distance hybrid or traditional educational setting. Learn more at organizedBinder.com. All right, everybody, we’re here with Ruckus Maker Link Kroeger, who’s the president of Knight Moves, a limiting profit company, creating the next generation of elite technology professionals through extensive training and technology disciplines with an intentional focus on including Native American, rural and urban underserved communities. Linc, Welcome to the show.
Linc: Hey, Danny. Thanks for having me.
Daniel: It’s a pleasure. I love the view from space. I’m getting the overview effect right now. I have a lot of love and compassion for our fellow citizens there on Earth. Linc, companies love to talk about diversity. They just love to talk about diversity and inclusion. But most of the time they really just move people around. What do you think’s going on there?
Linc: If you really look at companies and I have 35 years, mostly larger company backgrounds, some start up, but companies really aren’t designed for workforce development. Even if you look at apprenticeship models, that’s a newer thing. They’re super expensive and they’re not very practical, technology spaces for a list of reasons we can go into. The education system solves diversity, inclusion and even there, if you look within computer science nationally, 21% of students are women in computer science. From a diversity perspective, it’s ultra low. If the college system isn’t taking care of diversity, it’s probably not going to happen in companies because that’s where they get the majority of their entry level talent. So that’s my perspective on why companies really either diversity inclusion is much more around like internal training, like becoming conscious of your unconscious bias and and then on how do we really meet our goals. But it is just moving people between companies for the most part.
Daniel: Instead of I guess, examining the root, solving the problems and that kind of thing is something else that we were chatting about during our intro call as well, which I think is very interesting. Our educational institutions, the best suited for creating more diverse talent or computer scientists. Tell us more about that. That’s a very interesting perspective.
Linc: One is we try not to form perspectives. We try to ask and get feedback. When I say from perspectives, I mean not go into something not understanding why. Working with Native American tribes there’s a very low attendance rate to four year college by Native Americans. But there’s often references on your scholarships and you go, Well, that seems like a paradox, doesn’t it? But we don’t even try to guess why that is. We just go speak to them and say, “Hey, why is it you have a low attendance rate in college?” And they say, “Oh, well, geez, you don’t understand Native Americans. There’s 374 tribes in this country, and we’re all different people groups. It’s not like we’re Native Americans. It’s like we’re Navajo and Comanche and Cheyenne and SAC and Fox and Kiowa. There’s only 4000 of us left out on this remote plot of land. If our kids leave and go to college, they don’t come back. If they don’t come back, we’re going to die as a people group. So how do we stay together?” I wouldn’t have guessed that. I don’t want to try to guess, but when we talk to young black men in the inner city and say, “Why are you going to college?” And if they say no, which is generally the answer, right? You say, “Well, why wouldn’t you go to college?” And what would you expect to hear? You’d probably expect to hear financial reasons, but that’s pretty rarely it. It’s more I just can’t see myself. There’s just no way I’m going to be sitting in a room for four years. Memorizing and dying for four years in a classroom. It’s just not their mode of operations. How do you create a learning environment where individuals are moving in kinetic and applying what they’re learning and not putting drool pants to catch from falling asleep? Or used to being active. So that’s kind of the feedback we’ve gotten from the inner city group.
Daniel: Where did you get that perspective from too? Obviously, that serves you well and I think having leadership, curiosity, going to the source, asking questions, not assuming you know the answer, but where they come from for you.
Linc: It’s from so many years in the innovation technology space. Using approaches like design thinking that teach you to not go in with ideas or preset solutions, but work off of the whole feedback loop. And if you’re familiar with Lean Start. On the PK methodology that’s pivot, persevere or kill. So you go into something, you learn. The whole idea is how do you do something of value that’s small, learn from it, and then either pivot, persevere or kill you. You go, “Oh, I learn something, pivot this way,” or “Oh boy. Yeah, that’s right. Let’s keep going.” Persevere, great concept. We’ve got something valuable to learn. Just kill this. It’s not the direction to go. Whole mentality and mindset for innovation is really just so ingrained in our organization, just how we look at everything.
Daniel: I haven’t heard that before, so I want to pull on that thread a little bit more. I do talk to Ruckus Makers that watch the show, listen to the show about running experiments. What’s an experiment and innovation you’d like to try just to see if it works. It’s like, what if it works? And if it doesn’t work, what do you learn as a result? But with the PPK that you were talking about, pivot, persevere and kill, if I got it right, is there a sort of a runway that a company or an organization might give themselves in terms of figuring it out? I’m wondering how they know, “Okay, it’s not successful. We’re going to kill it or we need to pivot or we just need to hunker down and persevere a bit more.”
Linc: You always say what’s something. You look at the old world. I’ve been around IT, Information technology forever. It feels like back in the mainframe days. In the old days, you designed everything. All this waterfall, ultra design and everything was offshoring to India because you’d create all your hard requirements. In fact, I remember back in the nineties when my chief information officer I reported to said blank,you’re going to have to get out of the computer science area because there will be no software developers in this country in 20 years. That’s what people thought back in the nineties because everything was going to India. But then this whole evolution around extreme development, Scrum and Agile. We went from, let’s say, the information area era into the innovation era. In the innovation era, it’s all about how you differentiate yourself and get ahead. Why didn’t Marriott invent Airbnb? Why does Airbnb rent more hotel rooms? Why didn’t Sears, Walmart, go down the list, invent Amazon? Organizations are very, very bad at reinventing themselves and disrupting themselves. Taking that whole pathway of doing something small that’s valuable, learning from it and saying, “did it work? Did your market receive it? Is it really giving the value you thought it would?” and making your adjustments off that. Keeping that in mind you’re going to do one of those three things. Wow, this is valuable. Keep going deeper, add more to it or pivot a little.
Daniel: My question with the timeline is not as relevant. It’s more the small experiment, the small innovation. What have you learned? Being curious about that and if it’s good stuff, you’re getting value. Keep going and if it’s not so good, either kill it or pivot.
Linc: The other problem with waterfall and just saying I’m going to make the three year rigid requirement locked plan is, things change. If you look at this initiative from the time I started it. The big pivot disruptor to us was COVID. It disrupted it in a good way because if you were to ask me three years ago, what’s the hardest part of this program, if it’s rural or Native American? Again our three demographics are urban underserved, Native American and rural. Very different contexts. Three years ago, I would have said the hardest thing is to get companies to hire people coming from rural Native American because there is a lot of remote work. It’s just a standard. It’s still about 75% of it. Shops say we’re going to be remote forever and software development because we’ve done it the last two years. Heck, we’ve done it to India forever. It’s the standard. But 30 years ago, unheard of. The big pivot that created for us that was bad out of COVID is there’s about a 1.4 million person shortage in computer science talent in the United States. What happened with COVID is all of a sudden you’ve got these armies of recruiters searching for tech talent. If you’re a community college software development instructor out in the middle of nowhere, all of a sudden now they’re recruiting you to make 30, 40,000 or more. Three, four years ago, our primary strategy on our deployment of this was partnering with the local community college who would teach our foundational prerequisite courses. My best guess is one in 15 community colleges nationally can even staff computer science instructors. How do you hire somebody ? 60,000 when they can make 90,000. We’ve had to pivot and we didn’t have a choice. If we would have gone into this with this is our plan and we’re going to leverage community college and we didn’t have a peak mindset, we’d be dead right now. We’re too close because they almost don’t exist out there. As far as rural and Native American area community college software development instructors.
Daniel: I appreciate you sharing that story because you’re talking about the disruption of COVID and how you had to make some moves and that kind of thing. My last question around this and then I want to move us through some other questions I prepared for you. I’m really interested in having you talk about leadership presence and leadership DNA in terms of being okay with the pivot? A Ruckus Maker watching or listening, they’ve gone through experiences where they’ve had to change and evolve as an institution or as a leader. But change is hard, right? Sometimes it feels a bit scary and you’re just like, “Oh man, can we do it” and that kind of thing.” If you get stopped by your fear, you’re really in for a world of hurt. You need to have your eyes open and be prepared to make those changes and that kind of stuff. What is it about link and leadership presence and DNA that allows you to be okay with the pivot or even killing a project that you really wanted to see succeed?
Linc: First is we use the word experience a lot. This is already experienced. The first thing is just to level up with yourself and say, “Well, there’s only one pathway to experience.” And that’s experimentation. That’s what the word comes from. The reality is the only way you’re experienced is you have a whole collection of experiments and that’s life. It is a big transition, like companies who switch from that whole waterfall mentality and there’s some things you have to do. More waterfalls. When I say waterfall, I hope people understand what that means. But it means very detailed plans of everything you do. Ultra high failure rate in the technology space. You look over the last 20, 30 years and you look at statistics around the success rate of i.t. Technology projects completing on time, on budget rate. It’s abysmal. And what we learned we’re so planned and structured. Once you’re in the agile world, I don’t know if you’ve ever seen a Gantt chart Danny, but like if you use Microsoft Project or whatever tool right is you won’t see one of those any around anyone doing innovation or around Agile or PBC because it’s really, I would call it a tool for people that just want to feel safe. When we see a structure and we see a plan, we feel safe because, oh, here’s how it’s going to show me in the next three years of my life, it’s going to work. Well, you know what? You don’t know what covid’s coming around that you just don’t know. You’ve just got to realize you don’t know what’s going to happen. When you do this, right? You don’t know. You’ve got to learn and then you’ve got to learn from what you learn from. You’ve got to build pivot and slight commercial here on I guess if you’d say my biggest gripe of the federal government is everything is this giant waterfall. I’ve had some meetings with government officials, they’re like, “What can we do differently?” And I’m like,”I mean, look at your rural broadband. It would get stuck for years because you make it a $1,000,000,000 price tag right now.” How about we took an approach where we’re trying to say, “Well, how do we roll broadband out to every rural community so everybody has it, which is a great focus?” But they look at it only from a waterfall perspective saying, we’ve got to get everything and we’ve got to have OC. What if we just said, “What are all the rural communities that have a hospital or an education school?” We pick those first. Now you’re down to a small percentage of those communities. Do those first, you learn that’s your high priority and then do your next slide. You break it into slices, but once you get used to it, you can’t go back to the waterfall. It’s just so natural. It works so much better. People flow and work as a team.
Daniel: Absolutely. I’m fired up to learn more about PBC now, and I can’t wait to know if there is a book or something that you might recommend?
Linc: Tons of great Lean startups? I look out there for a Lean startup. It’s how Silicon Valley runs. If you want to talk about how innovative solutions get developed? It’s really the framework.
Daniel: I know you’re talking about government, but bureaucracy, education, bureaucracy too. They also love these three year, very detailed, very rigid plans, which a lot of times don’t come true. I think there’s a lot that we can learn from industry and from especially the tech world and agile thinking and lean startup, like you’re saying in terms of the approach to the work, especially in modern days. Some of that I think came through with PBC. Also talking to Native American populations and other groups of folks that you serve. Feedback loops came I think is a thread there. Can you talk a little bit about the importance of just messaging to what people care about and utilizing feedback loops as part of your process?
Linc: I’ll give you one example area. When I first started presenting we primarily focused on high school age individuals with START, I’d say it’s 85% approximately, and then about 15% mid-career workers who are transitioning. The reason we have such a heavy focus on high school age is you’re going to get more people into tech now, you’re going to get more diversity in tech. You better do it before they’re 18 years old. Because in Iowa, where I live, the average age of someone who goes to a code camp after they graduate high school is 36 years old. There’s this big chasm of age from when they go, “Oh, I could be doing tech. If you don’t get them, then you might have to wait 18 years. How are you ever going to turn the amount of people into it, especially with diversity? When I first started presenting to high schoolers on why they should be interested, because my job was to go inspire them to sign up. Basically how it started was here’s your local community college partner, which by the way, that’s still our massive partner out there. Any community where there’s a community college who offers our software and prerequisites, that’s our first stop. That’s the best partner and that’s really the way the system is designed. If you look nationally it’s high schools and community colleges working together. Basically our job is to go and inspire these young people in 30 minutes to say, “Wow, I could be interested in a career in technology. I had no idea. I’ll sign up for that course next semester.” Horrible responses, right? But we are going in and presenting with why adults would care. It’s low cost and all these things that an adult would be like high on the list. You sit and you think about, “Okay do 1 in 20 high school kids even understand what that is, they’ve never made it payment.” When you start talking to high schoolers and that’s something mom and dad do, right, it’s not real. Feedback loops, I didn’t realize that. I could. So you see, there’s no response to certain things. You say, “Well, why don’t you guys care?” And you’re like, “Well, why would I care about that?” And then I go, “Okay. So then I started taking like a little stack of $453 of cash with me,” and I’d say I’d hold it up here. And I just say, in this way, come up too, right? Because keep your Money.
Linc: Let’s say I have $153 here. Does anybody think they could do something meaningful with that? Everybody raises their hand because I think I’m going to give it away. Right. And I go, okay, so I realize the average person in this demographic is going to get this degree, they’re going to have on average a $453 a month payment every month of their life for like 15 years or ten, depending on how much money mom and dad put in or scholarships. And I say, “How old is the oldest person in this room?” And it’s usually like 16, 17. I go, “Okay, now imagine this. The entire time you’ve lived your life till now. Every month you’re going to pay this much for about as long as you’ve been alive.” And they go, “Oh my God, that’s a lot. Every month I got to do that? No way.” Then you get them conscious of that because they have no idea. I had to go through that discovery phase of what they care about. And in the end, now when we present to youth after getting the feedback loops and incorporating it, we’ll get 30 to 40% of all the high schoolers we talked to to say, “Wow, I’m really interested in this. I signed up for that course.” I’d say the other is just kind of an interesting one. We really push so every counselor I’ve ever worked with of, I don’t know, 60, 70 high school counselors has been a woman. But I always say whatever you do when we come in and speak to the kids, the high schoolers don’t filter people out. Let us talk to everybody, because when we can speak to everyone, we’ll get 35% of those young people interested in taking that course and taking the next step, we will get 38% approximately women or female inclusion in it, which is very high. Right for high school percentage. Normally it’s closer to 7 to 10. When the counselors pick who can come because of who they think would be interested, we’ll get less than 10% interest because we filter out all those people for whatever reason we don’t think would be interested. But they are because we’re still using this old profile. What people would be interested in computer science and tech.
Daniel: You were talking about bias earlier in the conversation, but that’s a really important point for Ruckus Makers to hear is we do things sometimes unconsciously, sometimes consciously. But filtering kids out is a perfect example. Thinking that they meet the profile for computer science. Here’s the kids that would be interesting. You talk to them and you’re telling us you’re less successful when you talk to those kids who fit the profile versus let’s just open the doors. Welcome, everyone. And then more kids are now involved and that’s.
Linc: More women if it’s not profiled.
Daniel: So that’s that super duper important point for a Ruckus Maker like don’t filter kids out. So you’re talking about connecting with youth and inspiring them and teaching them stuff about, you know what, then this kind of thing, that’s not what your program is about. Your program is called Knight Moves. Do you mind sharing with our community what the program does and who’s it for?
Linc: Knight moves in this night like the chess piece, not like the Bob Seger song. So we really do four things. The first is we have a training program that rivals a four year degree. When I say rivals a four year computer science degree, I mean companies that hire our graduates, we’ll say that our graduates are at the same level as a four year computer science degree graduate who has six months experience on the job. The second aspect is. That we only focus our training programs on communities and either Native American rural or urban underserved communities. It’s not an online program. It’s not that we’re not recruiting people to get into it. We work and get the right match communities because it’s not just an individual, it’s a community aspect. Think of a community getting 15-25-50K annual every year, new tech jobs. The point is getting those communities transformed. How do we reverse gentrification? How do we go into an inner city neighborhood and take the people that are there and uplift them, get them making more money, get small businesses going? The people in those communities revitalize them and bring wealth versus having money coming in and pushing all the people out there because they can’t afford to live there anymore. It’s very community focused and then inspiring people into tech is a big piece of ours. The third big leg is we are social innovators meaning all these PCPs talking we’ve been doing our primary method of education is we don’t have classrooms, we don’t have curriculum. We don’t grade you by the end of the scheduled six months. If it takes you six months and it takes me nine months, that’s great. We go in with a six month assumption, but then there’s feedback loops with the student. This is exactly where you’re at with where you need to be. But you only graduate from our program when you demonstrate, you can do every aspect of the job. When one of our graduates goes to a company we have certified, they can do everything because to a company we tell them, Would you rather hire someone that just finished their education or hire someone who demonstrated they could do the job? And the training that you do is everything you create. It goes into production. If you think about it, let’s say you’re writing software and you’re at a community college or college and you turn in your homework and the professor grades it. That’s great. But you’re really writing it to learn and to get a grade, everything you create. And this goes into production. When I say production, sorry, it speaks right, it goes live. It’s real users. But everything you create also is for the benefit of society, meaning you’re going to be on a project with seven or 12 people and you’re going to focus on creating a technology that innovates homelessness, Hunger, sex trafficking, drug addiction, natural disasters. I mean, all these areas, as long as it’s a non profit, 583 area, it’s going to be an area that we’ve already had a team assess what’s a high impact social benefiting solution we could implement. Instead of just creating like Ubers and Amazons, we’re creating technologies that make the world better and help other people’s lives, which by the way, resonates with young people. To say, “I want to be part of that. How do I get to be part of it?” And then the fourth area that we do is we actually do services for companies. We have clients like we do consulting technology services, and originally Knight Moves was a nonprofit and we flipped to a social benefiting model because our attorneys kept saying, You can’t do that. That’s not legal for a nonprofit. You can’t do that. And I said, Fine, our intention isn’t to make money, but we’ve got to do the things it takes to get this done and right. So we don’t care if we’re nonprofit or not. It just means we can’t take donations. Great. We do services, we make money off of that and we pay for our social benefit, our social benefiting program. We’re doing our services.
Daniel: I’m loving this conversation. You are, for sure, a Ruckus Maker when you’re talking about no curriculum, no classrooms, no grades. It’s just a demonstration that you can do the job. This is what I’m talking about, and that’s for sure. Design in the future of school. I want to pause here just for a second to get some messages in from our sponsors. When we come back, we could talk hopefully a bit about how Knight Moves is a bit different than traditional code camps. Learn how to successfully navigate change, shape your school success, and empower your teams with Harvard Certificate and School Management and leadership. Get online Professional development that fits your schedule. Courses include leading change, Leading school strategy and Innovation. Leading people and Leading Learning Apply today at betterleadersbetterschools.com/Harvard. The BLBS podcast is also brought to you by Teach FX. Research shows that the more students speak in class, the more they learn and the better they perform. Teach FX has helped hundreds of schools increase their student engagement by visualizing for teachers what portions of class are teacher talk or student talk. Learn more at Teachfx.com/blbs. And today’s show is proudly sponsored by the Organized Binder Program, which gives students daily exposure to goal setting, reflective learning time and task management study strategies. Organizational skills in more organized binders. Color coded system is implemented by the teacher through a parallel process, with students helping them create a predictable and dependable classroom routine. You can learn more and improve your students’ executive functioning and organizedBinder.com.
Daniel: We’re back with Linc Kroeger, the president of Knight Moves. We’ve been talking about really interesting stuff that we can learn from tech PPK. How Knight Moves has no curriculum, no classroom, no grades. So much value in today’s conversation. You just talked about sort of the four legs of Knight Moves. I don’t know if there’s anything else to add to this, but how else is Knight Moves different from what we might see in a traditional code camp?
Linc: I’d say there’s almost no overlap at all with the Knight Moves approach with a code camp. If you think of a code camp, you basically make a decision. I want to go learn software development and you sign up somewhere from a 4 to 6 month code camp. It basically compresses learning all the aspects of software development in 4 to 6 months. They’re generally very classroom style because you’re having to learn it. You learn, how do I write Java or C sharp and the syntax and object run it. It’s very curriculum based. There’s a lot of great programs. I App Academy in San Francisco is phenomenal and they have almost a six figure graduation rate of somebody going. It’s a very intense, highly scrutinized program out there. But it’s a fantastic code camp. It’s more expensive than our program. I’d say that is a little bit of a job because ours is really more of a 2 to 3 year program. Here’s the difference, you spend 4 to 6 months going through the curriculum in the code, in the code camp hours, you start by taking seven computer science courses. Again, we’re focused on the height. The other thing is code camps are generally more mid-career workers, adult transition ers versus focused on high school. We’re focused on starting your junior year, your sophomore junior usually is the junior year in high school because in most high schools across the country, that’s the year they like their freshman and sophomore year of high school to be very focused on getting their requirements so they can graduate. And then there’s often some kind of career academy or CTSI that starts your junior year. It’s a good match for junior year. We try to get them starting to take one software development course a semester of their junior and senior year, minimally Junior year too. But you have to take seven courses and those would be the same seven courses you take if you went to a four year college. You learn how to write software, but then when you come to our six month program, it’s full time. Again, no curriculum. You’re taking that and applying it. But now you’re learning how to be a commercial software developer. How do I make scalable software? All of these modern techniques of continuous integration, continuous development, Like if I interview a four year computer science graduate and I show them everything, you have to demonstrate our program, they’ll generally say, I heard of one or two of those and we were taught around them in college, but we never actually did them right and that’s really the main difference, the education. Leveraging a community college to provide those seven courses, all are available, valuable. Somebody needs to teach them it’s not that that goes away. But now how do you take that and turn it into real world experience right where you’re building? Plus, we have real users. I’m speaking to you and you’re running a homeless shelter and I’m saying, “Okay, Danny, let’s talk about the solution. You’re talking about real human beings. You impact, right? It’s not academic. It’s solving it. “And when my software goes in, it’s got to work. So it puts a whole different function into what I’m doing because I’m solving a real problem. Real human beings are going to use it and it better not break. It’s got to be scalable, it’s got to be secure. All these aspects that they learn around, how do you really apply security. We’re going to test their code and see if they are actually applying all these security techniques you need to apply that you need to know walking into Google. You need to walk in and you can walk off of our teams and go to Google and get a job. It’s great. Hopefully that answers your question there.
Daniel: It seems very relevant. It’s very rooted in solving real world problems and so it’s very meaningful for both the student and the human being on the other side of what they’re creating. And that’s awesome that students that go through the program can go to Google or any place. That’s going to need some kind of computer scientist. I think you mentioned earlier in the show they already have the skills and the experience of somebody that had that degree plus some time on the job, like, “Wow, if that doesn’t talk about the quality of the program, I don’t know what else would. I really appreciate it.”
Linc: You talking if you think about a coding camp, right. You’re learning everything you’ve ever learned about software development in 4 to 6 months. So that’s a big compression that is very compressed. Whereas with ours it’s probably going to be closer to three years. You’re learning so you think about the learning. In processing and growing over 2 to 3 years, probably closer to three versus 4 to 6 months now, seven courses six months and then six months on a job versus 4 to 6 months in a classroom. No comparison.
Daniel: I hear you. If you could put a message on all school marquees around the world for a single day, what would your message read?
Linc: Whether you think you can or you can’t, you’re right. I don’t remember who said it, but one of them. Have you ever heard of flea trading, Danny? I share this metaphor with you real quick. The concept is something especially like. In your education group, you might be familiar with different risk groups. They’ll come in. Of young kids whose goal is to get them to graduate high school and to go to community college. Because there’s probably no chance these kids gear up. It’s like a group we work with as a group. That’s typically single moms. A lot of poverty. Difficult background. But anyway, this is the thing that I always bring up to them is when they come in and they’ll see these technologies working well, ask the question, “Do you think this could be you? “And you’re like, “Wow, how could this be me? “Right? I say, Well, let’s talk about FLI training. If you take a flea and you put it in a jar, it jumps out. But if you put a lid on the jar, it can’t jump out any more and just it’s a ding, ding, ding and it learns I can’t jump that high. I jump a little lower than the lid. Now you take the lid off and the flea can’t jump out. Can’t jump out right now. Can that flea jump out? And you ask the students this, right? And they go, some say yes and some say no. And you say, well, just a second. What determines if that flea can jump out of the jar? Or is there anything physically blocking that flea? No. So what’s blocking them, what they believe the lid is there? Exactly. If you believe that anyone in this room can’t have one of these jobs, you’re that flea in the jar that doesn’t have a lid. But you believe there is because there’s always when we work with the gear up group, there’s a community college right there. All those kids can go for free. So all of you could actually go to our prerequisite program for free and succeed and then go to our follow up program. So just to get their minds open to this as possible for me is the biggest concept, right? So whether you think you can or you can’t, you’re right. It’s the most important aspect.
Daniel: Gay Hendricks from the Big leap, he would call that an upper limit challenge you know what you’re talking about that that lid so cool Now Linc you’re building your dream school. You are building it from the ground up. You’re not limited by any resources. Your only limitation is your imagination. How would you build your dream school? What would be the three guiding principles?
Linc: The first is being safe. By being safe, I mean socially safe, physically safe. Working between rural and urban schools. That’s one of the big differences is there’s more of a survival mentality in an urban school. You don’t have much of a survival physical mentality or ride in a rural school, but they’re still the bullies. People make being embarrassed, but having a safe right being safe. The second would be everything’s based on discovery and experience, right? It is a discovery experience. You heard that. I’d say the others are just really effective teachers. I can’t remember what book it was that I read, but they asked 400 graduates from school, tell me what impacted you most in school. Nobody ever says the curriculum in the book I had in math or whatever, it’s always some importation that teacher did into their life. That wasn’t just a teacher. It was a person who could bridge people to their future.
Daniel: I think we covered a lot of ground in today’s conversation about everything we discussed. What is the one thing you want a Ruckus Maker to remember?
Linc: Since this group is so education centered too, I’d say what you were talking about earlier, is don’t be afraid to experiment. Just accept that if it doesn’t feel like a comfortable experience, try some. PPK. Just go do some or do something of a little value, get some feedback and not be predetermined on what your next step is. Just be determined on one step and try it.
Daniel: Thanks for listening to the Better Leaders Better Schools podcast, Ruckus Maker. If you have a question or would like to connect my email [email protected] or hit me up on Twitter at @Alienearbud If the better leader is better schools podcasts is helping you grow as a school leader, then please help us serve more Ruckus Makers like you. You can subscribe, leave an honest rating and review or share on social media with your biggest takeaway from the episode. Extra credit for tagging me on Twitter at @AlienEarbud and using the hashtag #blbs. Level up your leadership. Betterleadersbetterschools.com and talk to you next time. Until then, “class dismissed.”
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