Lesson: Impossible - An Exploration of Educational Innovation

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Agent Charles Williams (Planning for a Post-Covid World)

April 5, 2020

Your lesson, should you choose to accept it, is to explore the many ways COVID-19 can create positive changes to our educational systems. The special agent assigned to help you with this task is Charles Williams, principal of Plato Learning Academy, in Chicago, Illinois.


Charles Williams and I spoke at the end of March, as many schools were figuring out what education was going to look like in the coming days, weeks, and months. His perspective comes from being a principal in one of the many Chicago Public Schools, or as he refers to it, CPS. My perspective comes from being an educational podcaster as well as being a person who has a special aptitude for worrying about the future.


Like many of my interviews during this pandemic, it did not follow the orderly set of questions that I had gotten used to asking educators about their practice. Instead, it became a conversation about how Charles and I hope educational institutions can be transformed. Before we began recording, we had been joking about the various methods of communication we had each been trying out, and that topic quickly launched into talks of possible positive change.


In this episode we discuss how COVID-19 has the potential to positively transform educational systems, specifically allowing us to:

  • Reconsider how we’re using assessments
  • Utilize assessment in a vastly different way
  • Examine what the school day looks like
  • Explore how content is delivered
  • Incorporate trauma-informed teaching
  • Move beyond hashtags to real change
  • Facilitate transparent communication
  • Be aware of the terminology that we use
  • Figure out what is essential and non-essential
  • Highlight the value placed on educators
  • Heighten collegial collaboration
  • Increase parental involvement


Find out more about Charles Williams:


UPDATE FROM EPISODE 12: I wanted to say that we met our goal, and $200 has been sent to LaTezeon Humphrey Balentine. Although graduation is not going to look like what we expected when we recorded, I know LaTezeon will find a way to make sure the kids who need it get the money. So thank you to everyone who was willing to match my donation, or even just to share LaTezeon’s beautiful message of giving.


Lesson: Impossible’s Website: www.lessonimpossible.com

Lesson: Impossible’s Twitter: https://twitter.com/avivalevin

If you have suggestions for a teacher who would make an inspiring Lesson: Impossible guest, please email me at aviva.levin@gmail.com