How Community Voice Can Drive Change in Schools with John Jungmann

How often have you thought of your school community as a driver for change? And if you have, how do you manage that?

How can we establish better connections between what happens inside our schools and the everyday experiences of people in the wider community?

In this episode, Will Richardson talks with John Jungmann, who is the superintendent of the largest school district in Missouri which you might be surprised to hear is Springfield not Saint Louis.

John and his team are as good as you’re going to find in bringing in the community to what he calls the courageous conversations that we need to be having right now.  But also in getting his students out in the community in the businesses and organizations where they can learn in real life settings around the things they have a passion for.

Dr. Jungmann received his Doctor of Education from the University of Arkansas. Prior to being named superintendent at SPS, Dr. Jungmann was the superintendent of Liberty Public Schools and Monett Public Schools.

Highlights from their conversation include:

  • How can we ensure we are providing the right environment and the right experiences that really shape our student’s path?  Are they ready for the next thing in life and are we contributing positively to that or negatively?
  • How can we help them discover their voice and are they ready for the next step?
  • How should we define student’s success, when its a moving target in our world today?
  • What does it take to provide and engaging, relevant and personal experience for every learner everyday,
  • How do you figure out what is relevant for kids today and how do you assess whether what is actually happening in the classroom is in fact relevant?
  • How can we help our students discover any meaning in the things they are learning?  What should know about the lens of relevance?
  • How can we extend the ways in which we want kids to engage with the world around them?
  • The importance of getting students out of buildings and into the community.
  • How you can re-design your curriculum from a focus on remediation to exploration.
  • Details of a summer externship program where teachers engage in business and industry and environment which include ways that they are never exposed to as a teacher.  This results in teachers coming back and telling stories about how they can change their class room and how they won’t teach the same way next year.
  • Details of capacity building that they’re doing with the aid of blended learning mentors; and how growing capacity requires teachers to be given room to breathe, and room to think differently.
  • Why the five traditional measures that are on the traditional accreditation structure may not necessarily priorities for your school community.
  • Why it’s important to instill a culture of risk taking and support iterative failure. How you can build that into your leadership culture as well as your instructional culture.
  • Why not just every student every day are learners but also our teachers our leaders, our administrative team and our board must be learners
  • What the focus should be with modern tool deployments
  • What it takes to develop the confidence for kids to begin to make their own schedule.The value of defining the must do’s and they’ve got may do’s.
  • The importance of shifting the focus with your community around the input side of education, and why when you do the inputs right, then the results take of themselves.
  • What matters most. Beyond test scores. The value walking out of school wanting to be a learner.
  • Defining the portrait of a graduate. Is it okay for them just to leave with a set of assessment scores, or do they need to leave with the products and demonstrations of the attributes that are really the things that our community values and that parents value?
  • How does a student captures their learning profile?
  • Why you should also be building a courageous culture. How the measures that we’ve created have corrupted the system. What then are the right measures for our kids and how do we make sure they’re actually getting the results we want.
  • Why professional learning is so important for school and District leaders
  • Why the best antidote to change resistance are parents rising up and saying, hey we want something different for our sons or daughters.
  • Why having a collaborative model where we have two teachers in one large space offers benefits to students. The impact of expanding a student’s audience using modern tools to give daily feedback to kids.
  • Why having every leader visiting both an internal and external site every year is so valuable.
  • How you keep up with what’s going on in the world, what types of things interest you in terms of your reading?  What topics, subjects you should think about ?
  • Why re-imagination of your school starts by defining your personal beliefs.  What do you think about learning? Then stepping outside of the system and getting exposure to people who are thinking differently and trying to execute their ideas differently.
  • The value of community voice. The importance of having ongoing conversations with your board if your superintendent, have conversations with your teachers if you’re a principal, and your parents, and your community about what they really desire for their kids, and also asking is there something more than we can do, and finally are the results that we’re getting what we desire.

Links to Topics Mentioned in this Podcast


Todd Rose The End of Average

Michael Fullan

Yong Zhao

John Kotter: Leading Change


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