Sabold Scoop

February 2016

Some Learning from our Philadelphia Sports Teams

It's no secret that Philadelphia sports teams are awful right now, and I don’t think I am overgeneralizing. Even if you are not a sports fan, it's nearly impossible to avoid the fact that our sports teams are not doing well and things will likely get worse before they get better. There are many reasons the teams are in such bad shape, but they don't include bad luck or poor effort. It isn't just Philadelphia fate either. The problems are organizational.

The most unfortunate part of the organizational problems is that the problems now seem so obvious and preventable. Let's consider our most recent championship team... The Phillies won the World Series in 2008. Since then the Phillies have been on a steady decline, in the most literal sense of the word. In 2009, they lost the World Series. In 2010 they lost the National League Championship Series (the series that would have put them in the World Series). In 2011, they lost in the first round of the playoffs. In 2012, they did not make the playoffs, and by 2015 they were abysmal- the worst team in baseball. Again, the reason they are bad isn’t because of bad luck; it is bad management. The failure of the Phillies, more than anything, was the failure to self-analyze from a macroscopic view and change with baseball's shifting economic landscape. The game of baseball was changing, but the Phillies didn’t want to change their approach. The Phillies didn’t have a vision for the future. It is impossible to sustain success without change… without being adaptable… without being flexible and without the vision to deal with problems that will arise years from now.

The Eagles are another Philadelphia team with little hope for a championship team in the near future. They took a risk when they hired Chip Kelly, and they should be lauded for their willingness to take a risk in exchange for an opportunity to be great; however, the Chip Kelly experiment failed and will likely have long-term effects on the organization. Kelly had a very specific algorithm for success, but the variables in his algorithm were people not robots. After the 2014 season, Kelly had full personnel control of the team. He tried to find the robots that would fit his system. Players had to be a certain height, arm length, etc. Using data and science to make decisions is a good thing and necessary; however, Kelly was so rigid and showed almost no flexibility with his approach. People are dynamic, and that requires coaches and managers to be dynamic and flexible as well. Instead of encouraging change and flexibility, the Eagles compounded their mistakes after the unsuccessful 2014 season by increasing Chip Kelly's control, which obviously increased the rigidity in the organization. They didn’t adapt. They didn’t change. Kelly had tunnel vision. He didn't see that he had players who could do great things if he adjusted his way of thinking to their abilities; instead he forced them into his way. It didn't work.

I am sure the analogy to teaching and education is clear to you. Our kids and our colleagues are not robots. Our job is not to make them fit our algorithm. Instead, our job is to adapt our algorithms (notice the “s” because I can guarantee that applying one algorithm will not drive success) so that our students are successful. Our job is to set a vision for the future, to anticipate and see the changes before they happen, and be flexible enough to make adaptations when change is needed. I won’t sugarcoat it… it is as difficult and as complicated as it sounds, but it’s attainable. At some point you will need to try a different behavior management system; new technology is going to come your way, and you won’t know how to use it right away; you will come across problems that don’t fit predetermined algorithms. I don’t have an algorithm for success I can give you because it will change at some point. Unfortunately, the Phillies and Eagles have given us the algorithm for failure- resist change, be rigid.

Thank you for always being flexible and continuing to grow. You are doing great things.

Important Dates

MAPS 2/1-2/5

Home and School Meeting 2/3

Spirit Day -College Day 2/5

CDT Testing 2/8-2/12

Staff Development #7 2/10

President's Day 2/15

President's Day Parade 2/19

End of 2nd Trimester 2/19

Family Bingo Night 2/19

Report Card Entry Close 2/26

Clubs - Last Week 2/29


I wanted to share Jaime's cover letter for her math assessment. This is really impressive. Jaime's letter is informative to the parent and to the student. She provides information about the content of the assessment and even provides an appropriate description of what is essentially, Webb's Depth of Knowledge. She breaks down the questions by the skills and describes the level of mastery needed to answer the question. This is outstanding feedback for the student and parent, and helps them understand proficiency bands and levels of questioning.... Great stuff.
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