Team Finch Consultants was born in 2000, the natural convergence of (1) the need for gender and sexuality education in PreK-12 schools and (2) my desire to help school communities meet that need. Over the past 20 years, the work at TFC evolved to include leadership development, group dynamics, giving and receiving feedback, and inclusive pedagogy, all of which impact gender and sexuality issues. Now, in 2020 the massive disruption in schooling created by the Covid-19 pandemic has made me pause and reflect on my purpose as an educational consultant.
Because the pandemic has fundamentally changed how independent schools build healthy learning communities, those who consult to these communities must change also. I have always been a systems thinker, and I believe a holistic approach is the best way to help a community grow and evolve. I like thinking about parts, as they relate to each other, and to the whole. Synchronicity. Alignment. In right relationship with. The external challenges match what internally makes sense to me. I have decided to mark this transformational time by renaming my company. Team Finch Consultants is now Re-Set School.
The Originators of Re-Set
In April 2020 I asked a hand-picked group of colleagues to come together to talk about what schools would need after the pandemic had passed. Keith Hinderlie, Lauren Porosoff, Sally Mixsell, Ricco Siasoco, Liza Talusan and I conducted focus groups with school heads and surveyed teachers and staff to determine what worked and what didn’t during emergency on-line school. This was our original vision:
Help schools write a new chapter in the book of independent school education, where students at every age thrive and succeed because the school prioritizes the intentional, curious, unhurried, and connected learning all students crave. (Adult learners too.) Where the school prioritizes equity and inclusion in every academic, artistic, athletic, creative and leadership opportunity offered. Relationships matter most of all; they are the means by which the best teaching and learning happens.
Over the summer, we planned to help schools (1) process what had happened in the spring, (2) clarify core values, and (3) re-set selected practices. We did work with several schools and ran a successful summer institute, but by August, it was clear that even Re-Set needed to re-set.
The Best Laid Plans
In the fall of 2020, the pandemic continues to dictate how our schools function, and the hope of getting back to normal is fading. While economic needs in this country drive the message that we must “resume business as usual,” Re-Set questions whether this is the best strategy for PreK-12 schools, private or public. The pandemic continues to highlight specific ways that independent schools are falling short in living out core values (e.g. inclusion, safety, opportunity) And, there are certain legacy practices in academics, athletics, and community programs that no longer serve the mission.
Finding A New Way
The team of originators continue to work in their own spheres of influence and are ready to partner with Re-Set for the challenges ahead. I am moving forward as Re-Set School, with the intention of helping PreK-12 schools survive Covid-19 and build a better version of themselves in the future. For school leaders, how you transform your school during this historic cycle is likely a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.