Guest Post: What if schools were more like Google?

Update for Nov 24-25

This week’s update comes from Adrianna Kruse, Kindergarten teacher at Alton Darby Elementary. You can follow Adrianna on Twitter — @AdriannaKruse



Google has become both an extremely well-known noun and widely-utilized verb. At least once a day, I find myself “googling it” or encouraging someone else to do so. It is no secret that Google, as a company, has not only achieved sky-high financial profits,  but also is one of the most innovative and creative businesses in the world. What you may not know, however, is that year after year, Google is also listed by sources such as Forbes magazine, as the best place to work. Yes, a business as successful as this is bound to yield high pay grades for their employees, but that it is not unique to Google, or why it is considered the best place to work. It is considered the best place to work, because of the type of physical, social and emotional environment that it creates for its employees. So, I pose the question, what if our school was more like Google, and it was the best place to work and learn?  How to can we use Google’s ideals to inspire us to make this a reality?
According to an article by Mark C. Crowley, the physical environment of Google is one that inspires the employees to want to be there each day. If you haven’t seen pictures or videos of what the Google corporate office in California looks like, I strongly encourage you to “Google it”. They have a blend of traditional and unconventional work spaces, slides in place of some staircases,  artistic inspirations throughout the building, relaxation rooms, exercise facilities, and on-site amenities that rival that of a high-quality hotel. The physical environment is warm, upbeat, innovative and welcoming. What if we provided an environment with some similarities to this at schools? Where students had choices about the type of space in which they work best; were provided with everything they need to feel comfortable, safe, and taken care of; felt trusted that they know what is best for them; and had choices of a combination of different spaces throughout the day.  
The emotional and social environment that Google provides for it’s employees is founded in trust, collaboration and inspiring them to do something that may just change the world. As stated in International Business Times, Google co-founder Larry Page said, “My job as a leader is to make sure everybody in the company has great opportunities, and that they feel they’re having a meaningful impact and are contributing to the good of society. As a world, we’re doing a better job of that. My goal is for Google to lead, not follow.”  Google leaders have also been noted in this article as saying that they value their employees making a contribution to society over making money.  Because of this belief system, they are achieving both exceedingly well. These are the exact ideals that we should strive for as teachers. What if we value teaching students to make contributions to society over doing well on “the tests” and meeting every single standard?
Another relevant component to Google’s successful work environment that I found in Mark C. Crowley’s article, was Google’s 20/80 policy. Regardless of the position an employee holds within the company, from intern to CEO, employees spend 80 percent of their time working on current company projects and the other 20 percent working on any project that they choose. To me, this sounds like a very reasonable model that we could imitate in schools. We could use 80 percent of time to guide students in learning the basic skills, knowledge and facts that we value, but give them the freedom and trust to pursue their own learning and projects the other 20 percent of the time. During this 20 percent, Google employees breed innovation and discoveries that would never be made if not given the time, freedom, trust and choice to do so. I would love to see students being given the same opportunity on a weekly basis.
Karen May, VP of people development of Google stated, “Imagine a world where most organizations were the best place to work. Imagine what we could be getting done on the planet if that were true.”

I ask you the same question about schools, what if our school was the best place to work and learn? Imagine what we could get done on the planet. ☺ Adrianna Kruse
References:

http://www.fastcompany.com/3007268/where-are-they-now/not-happy-accident-how-google-deliberately-designs-workplace-satisfaction


Spotlight on…December 17th Kids EdCamp:


Click on the link to propose your session: My/Our December EdCamp Proposal

Click on the link to see what others have proposed: Submitted Sessions

Please submit your proposal soon! Teach your passion! 


Videos that inspire — 

Finish Strong — What happens when things don’t go as planned? Do you punt or try to make it even better than expected?



Getting creative with an announcement


Articles worth reading–

“How Libraries are Advancing and Inspiring Schools and Communities” – MindShift


“Make Literacy the Focus of PBL” – Edutopia


Upcoming Dates — 

Monday, Nov 24 — 

Tuesday, Nov 25 — 

9:30-10:30 — Student Steering Committee meeting at ADE
11:00 — Title Team meeting

Nov 26-30 — Naps, turkey, football, friends and family, disconnecting, enjoying the moment, going for a walk…

Monday, Dec 1School Community Meeting — Putting the pieces together! Please provide feedback in the form below (You will 




Team Time all day (Moved from Tuesday, Dec 2)

Tuesday, Dec 2 — 

8:00-noon — TGRG Data Team meeting at CO for coaches, intervention teacher and principal
3:45 — Tech Lab PD w/ Kelly Riley in Media Center

Wednesday, Dec 3 — 

8:00 — Building Improvement Team Meeting – – This is a proposed change from Tuesday due to TGRG Data Team meeting. Let me know if you can’t make it.
12:30 — Special Ed Department Meeting
3:35 — AD/DC Staff Meeting at ADE
5:30 — MarketDay Pickup

Thursday, Dec 4 — 
12:30 — Ohio Historical Society program for 2nd Grade students.

Friday, Dec 5 — Herb to visit Wickliffe Elementary — I need to reschedule BAC for Tuesday, Dec 9 at 8am.  Please let me know if you cannot make this. 


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