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About The Power to Transform
About the Author
Why I wrote this Book
A Guide to Navigating The Power to Transform
See Inside Book
Select Excerpts


About The Power to Transform  (back to top)
Drawing upon a lifetime in education and her experience as the founding President of the internationally recognized Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy, Stephanie Pace Marshall has written passionately, courageously and wisely about transforming learning and schooling in the United States and around the world. She is one of our nation’s most innovative educational thinkers and leaders and has presented and tested her ideas in multiple settings and cultures. Stephanie Pace Marshall is a visionary leader who can evoke the creativity that lies within us all. She is a powerful, provocative and articulate voice for educational transformation and a true advocate for designing learning environments that unleash the abundant potentials in all of our children.

The Power to Transform is a call to re-conceive and re-design schooling. Rather than offer “best practices” or “prescriptive solutions,” it invites leaders of all ages and walks of life to think differently about learning and schooling. It illuminates the “why” and “what” of educational transformation and explores its deepest roots. It offers new language, new design principles, a new framework, and a new map for creating vibrant, imaginative and adaptive learning landscapes that integrate the dynamic properties of living systems with the generative principles of learning. It is from this natural integration that the new story of learning and schooling unfolds. It is from this new story that we can bring learning and schooling to life.

The Power to Transform will awaken all who believe that our children’s desire and capacity to conceive and create a just and sustainable world for all, resides in the nature and quality of their minds and where and how those minds are intentionally developed and nurtured, by design. It celebrates the wonder, awe, creativity and mystery of life and learning. It reaches deep into the reader’s soul and offers informed hope that by re-connecting learning and schooling to life, we can educate and unleash the unimaginable capacity and power of our children’s minds, hearts, and spirits for the world. This pioneering exploration of our system of learning and schooling through the lens of learning and life should be read by anyone who cares about education, our children, and our future.

About the Author   (back to top)
Stephanie Pace Marshall is internationally recognized as a pioneer in leading educational transformation in the United States and abroad. She is the Founding President and President Emerita of the Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy®, the founding president of the National Consortium for Specialized Secondary Schools of Mathematics, Science and Technology, and the past president of the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development. She has worked in all levels of education: elementary, middle school, high school, and university. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree from Queen’s College, a Master’s Degree (M.A.) from the University of Chicago, and a Ph.D. from Loyola University of Chicago. In 2005, Stephanie Pace Marshall was elected a Laureate of the Lincoln Academy of Illinois, the state’s highest honor for “contributions to the betterment of mankind.”

Few educators have the knowledge and diverse experience of Stephanie Pace Marshall. It is not only her credentials that distinguish her, however, but also her unique ability to synthesize seemingly disparate ideas into new frameworks of understanding and action. Marshall’s work speaks deeply to those who seek to fundamentally re-conceive and re-design our current system of learning and schooling. Deepening the nature and quality of our children’s thinking and learning is the focus of Marshall’s work.

Why I wrote this Book  (back to top)
The Power to Transform is a call and an invitation born out of my conviction that we and our communities know what is needed to nurture the minds of our children and honor the abundant potentials and deep mysteries that live within them. It is a call to declare a new path, to tell a new story, and to create transformative landscapes of generative learning and schooling, by design.

I wrote this book because each of us has a unique voice and carries a message that must now be heard. This book is an invitation for you to step forward and to begin a new conversation. It is this conversation and this new story that will bring learning and schooling to life.

A Guide to Navigating The Power to Transform  (back to top)
This "content guide" was written to facilitate your navigation of The Power to Transform. Although you can start anywhere, it may be best to orient yourself to the book's grounding narrative, map and concepts by first reading the Preface, Prologue and Chapter One. My purpose is to offer a "tool" that can support your engagement with others in deeper and slower conversations about the need to transform learning and schooling, by design.

See Inside Book  (back to top)
Table of Contents (in pdf)
(in pdf)
Chapter 12 (in pdf)
Afterword ("A Letter to my Grandchildren")
(in pdf)

Select Excerpts  (back to top)

On Education...
“Most people believe that it is education that will save us. But this bland, sweeping, and unexamined assertion reduces us into continuing to uncritically support and tinker with the current story of schooling. It is education that will save us, but not any kind of education—only education of a certain kind: only education that is generative and life-affirming, that invites, engages, and integrates the fullness of our children’s capacities and ways of knowing, and that nurtures the creation of integral minds committed to the creation of a truly just and wise global civilization. Only education that develops our capacity to become more fully human is truly worthy of the human spirit. Only education that invites deep learning and reconnects us to life will light and sustain the fire within.”

On the Current Story of Learning and Schooling…
“Conceived and framed within a context of scarcity, deficiency, and fragmentation, our current patterns, processes, and structures of schooling are not designed to ignite our children’s joy, intellectual energy, and imagination. They are not dynamic or integrative enough to enable our children to analyze and solve complex, messy problems and to engage with passion in exploring their real questions about life. And they are not experiential enough to encourage our children to access and experience the mystery and enchantment of their rich interior lives, understand how they belong to the world and one another, and embrace and celebrate their remarkable capacity to sense an emergent future and evoke its creation. They are quite simply irreconcilable with the principles of life and learning. As a result, many of our children have become schooling disabled in a learning-abundant universe.

On the Deeper Basics…
"'Why can’t Johnny and Susie read, write, and count?' is the mantra of school reform. To be sure, these prerequisite skills are essential for all future learning – and they are not enough. Where are the voices that fear as much for the deeper basics – the basics of the human mind, heart, and spirit? Why aren’t we at least equally troubled by why Johnny and Susie can’t think, can’t slow down, can’t reflect, can’t sit still, can’t imagine, can’t create, and can’t play? Why aren’t we deeply saddened that they can’t dance, or paint, or draw, or make up a story? Why aren’t we worried that they can’t cope with frustration and conflict? That it is so easy for them to be bored, cynical, and distrusting of adults and that it is so difficult for them to express deep love, trust, and compassion? Why are our hearts not heavy because their spirits cannot breathe, because they have not experienced the wonder and awe of the natural world, and because they do not know how and why they belong in the world?"

On the New Story of Learning and Schooling…
“It is my belief that the fundamental purpose of schooling is to liberate the goodness and genius of children by giving them all the tools they need to become fearless and self-directed learners, to learn how to continuously learn and to reengage and reconnect their learning in holistic, systemic, and wise ways. When we ignite and nurture the unknowable potentials of each learner, we give them the roots they need for complex disciplinary, interdisciplinary, and transdisciplinary understanding; for knowledge generation; for critical and creative thinking; and for ethical action in the world…schooling is fundamentally a moral enterprise and it must engage and connect the real lives of our children to the real needs of the world.”

On Community…
“Saying yes to an idea is usually first a matter of the heart. It often begins with a whisper but gradually generates a resonance that cannot be silenced. There is no greater force for transformation than a community that has discovered who it is and what it cherishes. Together with their children, every community must now engage in conversations around radical questions of life, learning and schooling and the nature and quality of minds needed for a sustainable future. These conversations will enable us to reclaim the creative energy of life and learning that so naturally flows within all living systems and create generative systems of learning and schooling that liberate and ignite the goodness and genius of all of our children for the world.”

On Leadership…
“We now need leaders who reconnect us and our systems to life—who evoke spirit, invite soul and liberate the fullness of our community’s intellectual, emotional and spiritual potentials. We can no longer pretend that our interior lives are separate from the “real world” and our rigorous pursuit of deep learning. Our system of schooling has lost its connection to deep learning and this estrangement has severed its ability to evoke the wholeness, meaning, connectedness, and creativity our children so desperately seek. This enormous hunger for a transcendent story of meaning, purpose, and belonging is not being fed in the old places. To unleash the genius, goodness, creativity, and wisdom of our children and our systems, and to increase their individual and collective knowledge, vibrancy, inventiveness, and shared sense of purpose, we must be engaged in new work. Our system’s capacity for reflection, exploration, imagination, and connectedness, depends upon the conditions we create by design, that enable life and deep learning to flourish.”

On the Future…
“Sometimes there are moments in human history that seem to beckon awakenings. They perturb us to reevaluate our beliefs, assumptions, and reigning cultural stories. They challenge us to synthesize and integrate seemingly disparate forms of knowledge into new relationships, new patterns, and new theories. They invite us to invent new language, new rules, and new structures. They call us to create and live into new stories of possibility. These moments grace us with enlightened insights and more soulful understanding. They fill us with wonder and amazement. They open us to life and to the invitation to reclaim the fire and light that resides within us all to change the world.

The ancient Greeks called this time kairos, the “right moment.” It is a time of awakening. It is a time of radical changes in perceptions, imagery, and stories. It is a time when reality embraces possibility. I believe we are in such a moment. It is now our time to author a radical new story of learning and schooling that will create decidedly different minds for the future now waiting to be born.”

Endorsements:  (back to top)
The Power to Transform:
Leadership that Brings Learning and Schooling to Life

“Stephanie Marshall’s brilliant thesis invites us to think differently about learning and schooling both in the United States and around the globe. In fact, it does much more. It provides us with ways by which we can change our thinking about learning, and thus offers a new map for schooling that can excite all students and leaders of progressive education.”
-- Robert W. Galvin, chairman emeritus, Motorola, Inc.

“For many years, Stephanie has been a wise, passionate, and courageous educator. Nobody cares more about children; no one honors their innate qualities more than she. Her book makes this visible to the world. She knows our children, she knows our schools, she knows the future if we don’t change—we must take heed of her message.” --Margaret J. Wheatley, author, Leadership and the New Science

“At a time when ‘education reform’ is dominated by hollow slogans and political sleight-of-hand, here is a book that is wise, grounded, visionary, practical, and wonderfully well written. Authored by one of our nation’s leading educators, it offers a model of teaching and learning forged in the real world that has the potential to transform public education. May this superb book be not only read but taken to heart by everyone who cares about our children and their future.” --Parker J. Palmer, author, The Courage to Teach, Let Your Life Speak, and A Hidden Wholeness

“Drawing on a lifetime in education and her experiences as the founding leader of the world-renowned Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy, Stephanie Marshall offers an original and compelling synthesis on the fostering of learning in the worlds of today and tomorrow.” --Howard Gardner, Hobbs Professor of Education and Cognition, Harvard Graduate School of Education

“A lucid, beautifully drawn map to schools of the future by an exceptional educator who has made the journey. Every teacher should read this book and do it, every administer should read this book and enable it, every parent should read this book and demand it, because every learner aches to experience it.” --Dee W. Hock, founder and CEO Emeritus, VISA; and author, One from Many

“Education is in crisis and therefore our children are adrift and ungrounded, trained to memorize knowledge but unable to cope in a turbulent world. Stephanie Pace Marshall offers a provocative vision of how education can be re-infused with wonder, enrichment, and transformation. She challenges all of us to understand that it is our capacity to learn that characterizes our most essential humanity.” --James Garrison, president, Wisdom University

“Stephanie Pace Marshall gives us a transformational school model that inspires our children to ‘invent their own minds, reconnect to life and wisely engage in co-creating a sustainable future.’ As a financier and social investor, I believe that her ‘whole child’ model is crucial for species survival. Every human can understand her riveting recommendations and enjoy her delicious story!” --Susan Davis, president, Capital Missions Company

“For years Stephanie Pace Marshall has been one of the clearest and most insightful voices on school reform. Her book, The Power to Transform: Leadership that Brings Learning and Schooling to Life solidifies this reputation. In this highly readable book, the reader will be provoked into a deeper understanding of what schooling is and more importantly, what it can become. It is as elegant as it is deep. Simply a must-read for school leaders.” --Paul Houston, executive director, American Association of School Administrators

“This book explores education from a perspective rare in the field: that we become the stories we tell about ourselves, and that, to create systemic change in education, educational leaders need to craft new stories. The deep insights on learning and children shared by Stephanie are mirrored in the success of the amazing school she leads. As an antidote to the purely “data-driven” testing mentality that robs students of joy and the chance for real learning, the ideas in this book help any educational leader facilitate the creation of the kind of environment all students need to properly prepare them for life as they strive to achieve long-term mastery of the challenging subjects they study. This view into the thinking of a renowned education leader should make her ideas a steady topic of conversation among educators for years to come.” --David Thornburg, director, Global Operations, Thornburg Center

“Stephanie Pace Marshall draws from systems and complexity theory, cognitive science, and more in introducing us to the rich body of knowledge waiting to guide us through the sweeping changes we must make in educating the young. It is not easy to restrain one’s anger on realizing the degree to which this knowledge and its implications have been so shamefully ignored in school reform.” --John I. Goodlad, president, Institute for Educational Inquiry

“Stephanie Pace Marshall offers a powerful and unique framework for scholars, policymakers, school reformers, and practitioners who have the capacity to shape our children’s future. This book aims directly at the heart of our most fundamental educational goal – to nurture the power and creativity of the human spirit. For any leader working to build a new covenant with our children, this book is a must read.” --Gene R. Carter, executive director and CEO, Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development

Reviews:  (back to top)
The Power to Transform:
Leadership that Brings Learning and Schooling to Life

"Dr. Stephanie Pace Marshall has given humanity a rare gem of a book, The Power to Transform to advocate, guide and empower us towards a sea  change in our educational system. She calls her reader to action not only for the healthy growth and development of children, but most importantly, for the sake of our society, which desperately needs equal measures of brilliance and creativity to solve its most troubling and intractable problems.

Drawing from the wisdom of aboriginal cultures and human longing for deeper and more meaningful connection to the cosmos, she frames the educational growth of a child in the context of the global community. Her brilliant use of the ecosystem concept has children inherently and intimately a part of their surrounding world, pulling for this interconnectedness through intern- and trans-disciplinary learning, in much the same way that life and energy flow though diversely integrated systems in nature. It is a framework that encourages and demands profound inquiry, re-awakening imagination while re-discovering wonder and awe.

This deep learning invites experimentation and incorporates failure in the healthy growth process, stimulating children to actively participate in their own learning to unearth their innate gifts. In easy-to-follow chart format, she starkly contrasts this new narrative for learning and its impact on children to our current competitive, high-stakes testing and passive transference of knowledge paradigm. The book powerfully incorporates the American Psychological Association principles for learner-centered education, Howard Gardner's multiple intelligences, Parker Palmer's theories and others to help us collectively author a completely novel system of education, one that is not mired in a strictly dichotomous model of math/science and language learning.

Her philosophical approach encourages the reader to begin drawing rich landscapes to stimulate this kind of learning. Dr. Pace-Marshall calls for us to create new educational narratives and songlines to carve new societal roadmaps, which ultimately shape our world. At times repetitive, the book drills these concepts into the readers' brains, such that by the end of the book, her language became part of my own lexicon, subsequently shaping my thinking and actions. The book cleverly mimics for the adult reader what our new educational system can do for our children.

As an executive director of an arts non-profit organization in the midst of creating an international high school for global leadership, this book strongly validated my perspective as much as it stirred me to continue to invent this new language beside her as a willing partner in crafting a compassionate, mindful world that inspires our children - one that raises their level of consciousness along with that of our own.

At the end of the book (arguably the most powerful part,) she includes a letter and notes to her grandchildren - we would all do well to add our names to theirs, as we take in Dr. Pace-Marshall's distilled wisdom."
--Wendy Sternberg, MD, Founder & Executive Director, Genesis at the Crossroads

“Most education reform today consists of tinkering around the edges of an essentially broken model, of adding more of the same and, inexplicably, expecting things to get better. We are long overdue for a new vision. The Power to Transform provides exactly that.

Stephanie Pace Marshall's impassioned, deeply thoughtful and groundbreaking book on transformative leadership for schooling and learning is easily among the top five books on education currently in print, and the only one I know that gives readers a powerful vision for the future and for true systemic change. It is a guide for those who would lead a revolutionary movement to fundamentally transform American education, even from within their own schools.

Those who have read Thomas Friedman's The World is Flat understand the need for radical change in our nation's schools if the United States is to remain a creative and contributing society among world nations, equal to the challenges that lie ahead. To be successful in this new world, young people need different skills than preceding generations, an engaged relationship to learning (sorely lacking in today's often lackluster and out of touch schools) and ways to connect their capacities and interests to the work that needs doing in the world. Dr. Marshall has tapped the disconnect between what is and what needs to be in education in a powerful and compelling way, through story and through a well-reasoned argument for change. She also provides questions to guide that process at both the grass roots level and within the halls of power.

Endorsements by Howard Gardner, Parker Palmer, Margaret Wheatley and Robert Galvin speak to the importance of this book; it is truly a seminal work and a must read for anyone interested in making schools better for students, for teachers and for the world. I used The Power to Transform last year for a seminar I conduct at Northwestern University, and I plan to use it again this fall. The book was a huge success, and I'm looking forward to the rich conversations and practical school level applications it generates within my next seminar class. I cannot recommend it highly enough! And I love her letter to her grandchildren. I, too, have it up in my office and share it widely.”
–Penny Lundquist, Director of the Academy, Golden Apple

“Stephanie Pace Marshall takes the time, and makes the enormous effort, to describe the education system our children need now, and in the future.

This is a difficult and valuable task. Her work is based on 40 years of experience, including the creation and administration of the Illinois Math and Science Academy. Her ideas work - the challenge for us as readers is to think about how we are going to implement these ideas in our own schools and communities.

This is an extremely valuable book for anyone who wants to engage in the transformation of schools from their current model to one which will meet our needs for the future. It is especially valuable for educational leaders, administrators and school board members who guide our school systems. It is inspirational for the many of us who wish we knew what to do to help improve education.

However, it is not an easy read. It takes some effort to absorb Ms. Pace Marshall's new language for her ideas, but, it is worthwhile. I found myself taking notes, brainstorming with colleagues and thinking in new ways as I made my way through. I wish you an equally exciting read.”
–John Bower, former CEO Lexia Learning Systems and Soliloquy Learning

“So many books on school leadership--haven't we all slogged our way through them?--are manifestos from those who tell us with great certainty and authority what we must "know": how to realign building resources, institute new management beliefs, and instrumentally refocus strategic goals. Again and again these books disappoint. They are unreal technical manuals that do not address the deep, dysfunctional paradigms that underlie our current educational system: that students are containable, defined units to be filled with knowledge, that competition and external prodding inspires profound learning, that learning itself is linear and predictable. Using narrative--the power of story--and her own experiences of being transformed through leading, Marshall proposes a new model of generative school learning based on abundance. (So little in our educational system is based on an assumption of abundance, the idea itself is almost startling.) Marshall says that instead of regarding the learner reductively and mechanistically, as we tend to do in our day-to-day interactions and in larger educational policy, she invites us to rethink our work and learn to tell a new story about ourselves, one that reflects that: Learning is shaped by personal purpose; Ability is multidimensional; Holistic engagement of all the learner's senses and feelings is essential for real inquiry (p. 81).

This doesn't sound like many high schools I visit every week, unfortunately, where learning by compulsion, fear, or threat are the veiled order of the day. My hope is that Marshall's book will find its way to many school leaders, those who are ready to look deeply into the fundamental assumptions that underlie their work and the structures of education in America. Especially useful is Marshall's table comparing "current reductive" educational ideas and a new "generative and personalized" vision of learning, teaching and curriculum (pp. 219-225). The table is a remarkably clear, concise analysis of what is, and what might be. Finally, Marshall offers some good words to live by, for any leader anywhere. In a letter to her grandchildren she reminds them that one's life is about:

Your integrity, not your position
Your voice, not your power
Your name, not your title
Your calling, not your career
Your legacy, not your success (p. 214).

I have these words up on the wall of my office, and I visit with them often. Marshall is wise, inspiring and refreshing.”
–Kirsten Olsen, author of The Wounds of Schooling, visiting assistant professor at Wheaton College

“THE POWER TO TRANSFORM: Leadership That Brings Learning and Schooling to Life is a brilliant and compelling book -- must reading for anyone interested in transforming today's educational system into one that truly meets the needs of 21st century children and 21st century society.

Marshall points out that the model upon which most of today's schools are based reflects society's present priorities of practicality and immediate usefulness. Children are looked upon as beings with innate learning deficiencies, and the job of education is to fill their minds with facts and attitudes that will be useful in present-day society. This approach does not equip today's children for the world of tomorrow. As Marshall put it, "A world dominated by excessively competitive and acquiring minds who cannot think holistically, systemically, long term, and wisely is dangerous. ... Exploration, creativity, imagination, passion, wonder, and awe lie at the heart of life and learning. They must also be at the heart of schooling."

The remedy that Marshall proposes is to use the principles of living systems as design principles for creating a "new [educational] story" -- creating "learning communities" that are "naturally autonomous, open, creative, self-organizing, connected and adaptive." Rather that trying to pour dry facts into the heads of bored, disengaged children, the approach is to excite and enthusiastically engage them by having them explore real world issues and problems -- "problems that matter." In the process, the children gather the facts they need, and are receptive to learning new skills (reading, 'riting, 'rithmatic, and more) because they realize that they need these tools to analyze, solve, and report on the problems they care about.

"Great questions" are another focal point in Marshall's approach. She calls them "portals to a future of unknown possibilities." Her advice to students is "Ask questions that matter. Ask questions that make a difference. Ask questions you love so that as you live your life seeking the answers you will find joy." She lists 28 "big questions for deep learning" that relate to her four pillars of learning: learning to know, learning to do, learning to be, and learning to live together.

Marshall stresses that this new approach does not abandon standards, formal curriculum, instruction, evaluation, measurement, or assessment. But old approaches to these matters have been transformed into ones that reflect the changed values which underlie the new schema.

This book is rich and deep, and almost every page had me saying, "Yes, yes, of course!" Marshall ends the book with the following call to action: "Please do not wait for others. Courage is the capacity to claim what we imagine. If you are carrying this new story in your heart, now is the time to step forward. There is a place in the world for your unique voice, and it carries a message that must be heard. Start anywhere, but begin the conversation, and tell the new story that brings learning and schooling to life."
--Copthorne Macdonald, writer, independent scholar, and former communication systems engineer, founder of The Wisdom Page

“In The Power to Transform, Stephanie Pace Marshall poses the question of what it will take to create a generative and life-affirming system of learning and schooling that liberates the goodness and genius of all children and invites and nurtures the power and creativity of the human spirit for the world. The question stirs deep and often latent passion in those of us who are devoting our professional lives to education. What would it take? How does one even begin to conceptualize the journey let alone chart a course toward such a vision? The Power to Transform offers those who are willing to look beyond the myriad of barriers to the possibility of a very different future.

Books on leadership for systemic reform typically offer direction for aligning and connecting the functions of school systems with visions that often speak eloquently to life-long learning, productive work, and global citizenship. Alignment and connection are complex and necessary steps but they do not go far enough. Marshall is dead on labeling the goal of much of what is characterized as reform and transformation as leading us to false proxies for learning--high scores on high stakes tests. As educators we know these limited snapshots are far from evidence of deep understanding, internal authority for learning, and the ability to apply learning in multiple contexts that are necessary to achieve these visions.

So what will it take? Direction, design, rich and compelling stories that offer evidence that such learning environments are possible, and evidence of success from students who have experienced this fundamentally different approach to learning and schooling. The Power to Transform presents a powerful argument for why leaders cannot accept false proxies for learning and offers an alternative future for learning and schooling that embraces the learning competencies needed to thrive in a complex, interdependent, and continuously changing world. Principles of design offer direction, not prescription, that allow for contextualizing processes and structures to operationalize the vision. Marshall draws heavily from two decades of experience in leading the Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy. She describes a learning journey where she and her staff are learning their way into creating a desired future. The stories of her students who have experienced a more generative and life-affirming system of learning at IMSA speak to thriving in schooling, work, and their commitment to work toward a more sustainable future for our world.”
–Michael Palmisano, senior fellow, The Ball Foundation

“This book is the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth regarding why and how to transform public schooling in the United States. Written by a titan in the field of education, the founding director of the Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy, Dr. Stephanie Pace Marshall, the book is a powerful and compelling thesis on how recent advances in research and technology has changed the way we need to think about schooling. Schools have the arduous task of preparing students to enter into a world that is changing at an unprecedented pace. So how are we doing in our quest to prepare students to be active participants in an information economy? Bill Gates says "today's high schools are obsolete!"

In the words of Dr. Marshall...

The current context of schooling: "Many of our children have become schooling disabled in a learning-abundant universe. They are...losing heart. They have no way of knowing that they have un-intentionally been shortchanged. Teachers too are feeling loss. They (teachers), feeling compelled to teach to the test, soon lose their passion and enthusiasm for their discipline and for teaching. Many...policymakers, and parents....are losing heart. They do not know where or how to begin the conversation to transform it (schooling)."

Beginning a new conversation: "Grounding a new story of learning and schooling in a holistic new narrative will enable our children to re-claim their deepest selves, embrace their natural learning potentials, and reweave their connection to one another, the human family, our planet, and web of life. The need has never been greater."

Follow Dr. Marshall on a journey to "A New Learning Landscape"...The Aspen Grove Center for Inquiry and Imagination... a "New School" where there are no bells to signal the end or beginning of classes, the curriculum is not textbook driven, textbooks are just one resource, the larger community is engaged in learning, learning is collaborative, creative and exploratory!

IMSA represents the best practices of what the knowledge building scholars, i.e., J. Lave, E. Wenger J. Bransford, C. Bereiter, J. King, L. Polin, M. Riel, have been writing about. Under the leadership of Dr. Marshall, an education trailblazer extraordinaire, something special is happening at all about, and you will begin to equip yourself with the Power to Transform Learning and Schooling.”
--Burnie Bristow, Doctoral student, Pepperdine University

“Big new ideas are rare in public education. I am finding myself compelled to re-examine more carefully many assumptions about school reform in the context of this book. Marshall's "The Power to Transform: Leadership That Brings Learning and Schooling to Life," is a truly seminal work of theory and praxis for education. While the book is deceptively small, it is not for the faint hearted or those in search of quick fixes - it is personal, extensively argued and well documented. With laser-like intensity and passion, Marshall offers us deeply thoughtful reasons for our nation's 21st century dysfunctions in public education.

Marshall then presents a powerful call for a radical new story of learning and schooling - one that is grounded systemically in life processes, rather than in reductive, Newtonian determinism as is presently the case. Hers is a personal story as well. With deep understanding of the human condition as well as organizational dynamics, Marshall's magnum opus on learning and schooling is a context for systemic, organizational change in schools that ranges from student-teacher dynamics to the highest levels of public policy, by design. Illustrative personal anecdotes from her lifetime of work with students and teachers lighten things up, as does a thoughtful letter to her grandchildren at the end.

But reader beware, this is no "formula for success." Rather, the author calls each of us to arouse our own hearts and voices in community. Our task is to co-create emerging personal and organizational identities that are grounded in collaboration and inquiry, to liberate the goodness and genius of children - for the world. The ideas in this book represent a new context for change that is provocative and, hopefully, even dangerous to the status quo. Those who have worked in student-centered educational settings that have long occupied the margins of public schools will likely find Marshall's work highly compatible with their own their best educational thinking and practices. Those who pay obeisance to the rote eternal motion of yesterday and most of today's command and control-based thinking and bureaucratic schools, or even embrace much of what passes today for school reform, should take note: In order to take away the best from this book you may need to give yourself permission to put aside your expertness in order to see with a beginner's mind the potential that Marshall creates for us to imagine and enact -- a truly new day for learning and schooling in the new millennium, by design.”
–Gregg Sinner, Program Planning Specialist, Secondary School Redesign Project, The Education Alliance, Brown University

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© 2015, Stephanie Pace Marshall
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