Reframing Accountability as Embracing a Series of Tensions: Season Five Reflection

In this final episode of Season 5, podcasts hosts Toby Lowe, Kim Sewell, Michelle Cooper, Buck Cooper, and Rachel Scott come together to talk across all six episodes on the subject of reframing accountability. They share behind-the-scenes secrets about their episodes, discuss how all of this talk impacted their own relationships with students and colleagues, and surface the best definition of accountability we could come up with by synthesizing the six conversations that preceded this one. Listen to the whole conversation, or skip around to what interests you in the show notes below:

2:30-16:15: Our hosts for the season share behind-the-scenes back stories about the process and experience of leading episodes about accountability; plus Kim shares an amazing post-script about how her four year olds became her accountability partners this semester.

16:17-17:14: One of our major takeaways from the season, that could indeed be a starting point for cultures of accountability, courtesy of Francis Croft: “We all need to get on the team of let’s assume everyone is doing their best.”

17:38-18:53: What a conversation in a middle school division meeting about grading made Toby ponder in relation to structures-control-accountability.  

18:54-20:22: Buck explores accountability as holding in tension everyone’s humanity with the fact that there are things we have to do (e.g. produce grades and do recess duty).

20:23-23:57: Hosts explore the trust/transparency tension combo that came up in the honor council and administrator episodes, and they articulate the truth that trust is doubly hard with the turnover that is naturally part of schools (admin and faculty, but also students that change grades and teachers every single year!) 

24:09-27:20: Stakeholder groups in our school that we wish we had invited or heard more from in this season and why.

27:22-28:58: After six episodes, what we can say about accountability for sure: it is best when steeped in relationships and incorporates a circular or bottom-up (rather than solely top-down) feedback loop.

28:58-31:32: The question that still persists: what do we do about justice and consequences?

31:50-32:59: Hosts share what they are going to take away from this system in terms of next steps: change what you can change, lean into grace, open up communication. 

33:18-36:30: Final words from Toby, the initiator of this season’s topic: “What’s next is always work; but it’s a good thing that the work is so delightful.  You should always be pushing yourself, your peers, and your bosses for more accountability.”

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