The Magnetic Mountain


Every school has a rich history that shapes its unique identity. By looking into the past, schools can reflect on the values that underpin their mission and purpose, allowing them to evolve and continuously meet the needs of current and future students and families. 


The Imperative is what leads each school to innovate. It starts with examining a school’s current environment, what we call “Now Town.” Now Town is often the pleasant and comfortable present-day situation that schools may feel compelled to leave in order to move their communities forward. For some this need to move is driven by economic pressures, for others it is a need to evolve teaching and learning. It is important for schools to take the time to examine their current landscape and articulate the forces and opportunities for change. 

The Ascent

The Ascent is the clarifying and deliberate journey to the Summit. The Ascent is made up of Day Hikes and is about making progress. Day Hikes start as exploratory innovations at the school. As day hikes are tested, a through-line appears that guides the school toward a differentiated value vision and is aligned to the imperative to change. 

The Summit

The Summit is not the end. It is the moment in the journey at which you clarify a differentiated and aspirational value vision that is embraced by the whole school community. It’s also embodied in a short, simple statement that captures the school’s direction. 

The Descent

The Descent is the process of moving from an aspirational idea to becoming your true identity. It is the hard work of putting the Summit idea into action. It’s about the perseverance, change, and iteration necessary to implement a school’s summit idea and build the capacity to innovate.  

Second Summit

The Second Summit is the evolution of the summit idea.  It validates that the community has the capacity to continuously progress.  The Second Summit is proof that innovation is a disposition, not a destination.