I have been on the West Coast for much of the week, attending meetings and our alumni receptions in both San Francisco and Seattle. It is such fun to deliver some green-and-white spirit in person, as the alumni loyalty to Tower Hill is amazing. The Tower Hill family surely extends far and wide, and all of our children will be part of this great network after they graduate. It has been a great trip, but I'm ready to be back on campus!
Earlier this week I attended The Heads Network annual meeting with a group of heads from across the country, and we heard from Lori Goler, VP of Human Resources at Facebook. She spoke about what qualities Facebook seeks in their hiring. First and foremost, she spoke about the importance of innovation as a mindset. Sixty-five percent of elementary school children will be working in an industry that has not been invented yet.
Adam Grant, a Wharton professor and author of the book Originals, states that in trying something new, if at first we fail, it means that we were indeed aiming high enough. At Facebook, the term “failure” is not used very often. Instead it is more about iteration and piloting new things. One question that is important to ask to inspire an innovative mindset is, "What would we do if we weren't afraid?" At Tower Hill, I witness our students accomplishing things at high levels every day because they take risks, knowing that they have the support and encouragement of their teachers.
At Facebook and in other arenas, there is fascinating work being done towards the creation of virtual reality. Isn't that a waste of time or all about games one might ask? Or how does this really relate to education? Well, what if instead of just reading about medieval Europe, through virtual reality, our students could actually visit medieval Europe?! If it were possible to visit the British Museum with our students virtually, wouldn't we want to give our students that opportunity? While this type of technological advance may take some time to develop, and don't worry, the Tower Hill community will always provide "real reality" versus virtual reality, it is important that schools and educators always be forward-looking in order to determine how we are best preparing our students. As Maggie Johnson, the Director of Education and University Relations for Google said, "We want our students and teachers to be relentless learners," and this will surely call for innovation as we chart Tower Hill's future for our students.
Elizabeth C. Speers