Innovation in Practice: A Message from Mark and Sarah

Zoe ConnerUncategorized

Crossroads has always been a place that honors creativity and problem-solving across the disciplines and departments. Our community has always been willing to engage in conversation and to ask the question How might we be better? Crossroads was born through innovation! Arthur and Carol Lieber created a school to meet a need they saw around them, just as design thinkers do today. Innovation is not new at Crossroads; it is the very stuff of who we are and where we came from. Now, how can it inform our next steps: next year, the next five, the next 50? We have several new and ongoing innovation initiatives that will help us build on our inherent agility and continue to be responsive to the needs of our community.

This fall, we are entering into innovation and design work with three new partners:

  • The Strategy Lab of the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS): Strategy Lab is prototyping a new relationship with schools and will pilot the program with Crossroads. From August through November, we will do a deep design dive to reposition us in our market and to deepen our commitment to our core principles.
  • Startland out of Kansas City: Startland works to develop real-world, problem-solving skills, and embraces human-centered design thinking and social change. They will work with us to bring these principles deeper into our classrooms and into the student experience.
  • MADE Makerspace of the Delmar Maker District: Our collaboration with MADE will give our students access to professional tools for makers and is the first of its kind for a local high school.

Ken King, our Innovation Strategist, has already impacted multiple areas of our community: the new Crossroads Cafe, camping trips, coaching, financial literacy, teaching, and more. Ken is always looking for our next point of connection. In his new work with Gretchen, Celeste, and Bob on athletics and wellness, he is bringing fencing to our athletics program, as an addition to traditional sports.

This summer, we will switch over from four fairly inefficient data systems to a new integrated database and information management system through Blackbaud. The new system will coordinate our work with alums, enrollment, development, and communication with our current families and students, and will give us access to more  comprehensive data while streamlining processes.

We continue our work with ISACS on our self-study, and will do a diversity audit with the Beloved Community thanks to the Justice & Equity Committee of our Board.

As we write this note, 14 of us, including our two newest teachers, April and Bryan, just spent two days together dreaming about how we might be a better learning institution at STLinSTL, a professional development conference here in town. We are energized!  We see how much has been accomplished through innovation in our first 50 years and there is much yet to be done!!

Mark & Sarah