We Are Serious About Systems

At New Visions, we are serious about systems. Mark Dunetz explains why they are non-negotiable in his blog post here.

Effective systems (e.g. attendance, scheduling programming, academic interventions) reinforce the vulnerabilities that are inherent to the design of schools. For example, a potent attendance system counteracts the porousness of a typical school day. Within a single day, a student moves throughout the school going from one class to another. That’s potentially eight opportunities to slip out of school unnoticed. An attendance system tracks a student between classes and it tracks a student from one day to the next.

This is what we mean by not letting kids fall through the cracks – even the hairline cracks. But you can’t do much about that crack if you don’t see it or if you think it’s too insignificant to matter.

The only way an attendance system is going to reinforce student behaviors, is if it guides the adult behaviors. Effective school systems must have three components: data, design, and feedback. Tools that get granular about student behaviors (data) must be coupled with specific protocols that direct educator actions (design) and then those actions have to be documented and evaluated against future student performance (feedback).

And, if you need another reason to get passionate about systems - they never operate independent of one another. A comprehensive attendance system will always reinforce instructional and academic intervention systems just as a weak attendance system will undermine them. Our systems thinking video created in collaboration with Chris Soderquist and Andrew Garcia Phillips highlights this interdependence.

For educators who are interested in learning more about systems - we’ve got you covered. To learn how to build core systems, visit New Visions’ CloudLab. For educators who are interested in learning more about the conceptual dimensions of systems thinking, visit The Applied Systems Thinker.


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