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Guiding Students Toward Self-Actualization: What Now? Ep. 3 with Danielle Jackson

In the context of a global pandemic, what happens to the priorities of our education system? At U Prep Schools, reorganizing learning during the pandemic has meant centering and elevating existing priorities around human relationship and self-actualization. “Rather than taking things off our list, we made the list,” says Danielle Jackson, the CEO of Detroit 90/90, the charter network that oversees the ten U Prep Schools in Detroit. She meant that the pandemic needed a clean slate approach, not slight tweaks to old strategies. She is willing to rethink it all–so long as the emphasis of the empowerment of her students remains at the forefront.

Often, schooling can seem like a straightforward quantitative game these days. But in this interview, Danielle shows us what leadership looks like when it addresses human complexity. To teach students skills, not just content, requires teachers to redefine their jobs to embrace innovation and creativity. For teachers to redefine their roles, they need permission from their supervisors. Not just to shift their focus, but to show up more authentically, and more vulnerably, as human beings themselves.

Danielle explains how empowering, emboldening, and unleashing her students requires that teachers be empowered, emboldened, and unleashed as well. I believe educators everywhere will want to hear the wisdom Danielle offers in our interview today.

Danielle’s interview is a part of our What Now? video interview series on education.

What Now? asks: how should we navigate through this pandemic, and ensure a more prosperous Michigan in our recovery? Click the icon for other videos in this series.

Check back this Thursday for our next interview with Dr. Sarah Fine, the Director of the San Diego Teacher Residency at the High Tech High Graduate School of Education.

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Sarah Szurpicki

Sarah is the Vice President for Michigan Future Inc. and a partner at New Solutions Group, LLC, a consulting firm devoted to smart, collaborative, innovative approaches for organizations serving the public good.

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