That’s the Way We’ve Always Done It

On March 15, 2022, the U.S. Senate passed the Sunshine Protection Act. This bill would make daylight savings time the permanent standard time thereby ending the twice-annual changing of clocks. Daylight savings time has been observed in most states since 1966 with the passage of the Uniform Time Act. Sen. Marco Rubio (R., Fla.) argued in favor of the bill by saying, “Just this past weekend we went through the biannual ritual of changing the clock, and one has to ask themselves, why are we doing this? Hopefully, this is the year that this gets done and pardon the pun, but this is an idea whose time has come.”

Sometimes change can be hard. Even when we know it is the right thing to do, it can still be difficult to make a change. We all have a certain way of doing things. Personally and in the work that we do, we develop standards of practice or habits. In the world of work and education, certain practices exist and perhaps, have existed for long periods of time. However, just because an organization has always done something a certain way doesn’t mean it’s the way it should continue to be done. Combating the mentality of That’s The Way We’ve Always Done It, or TTWWADI for short, is important to drive innovation and improve your current processes. This may seem like an easy concept to agree with but how do innovative organizations do it?  
Simon Sinek, author of Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action, states in the video Questioning Why Things are Done the Way They Are:

What starts to happen is over the course of time, some of the process becomes calcified and we follow it because we’ve just always followed it and nobody really knows why it’s there. And all it takes is one person to say, “Can somebody explain to me why we do it this way?” And if nobody has an answer, then it’s ripe to be changed or at least challenged. And if they have legitimate cause to change the process, but there’s still fear to blanketly change it everywhere, because that might be destructive, to let them experiment on their team with their group and try something new.

Watch the full video here:

Brené Brown, author of Dare to Lead, in her article, “3 Ways To Kill Your Company’s Idea-Stifling Shame Culture” states:

Proposing ideas makes people feel vulnerable–so it’s in innovation’s interest to create a culture that’s secure.  To reignite creativity, innovation, and learning, leaders must rehumanize work. This means understanding how scarcity–a feeling of never having enough–is affecting the way we lead and work, learning how to engage with vulnerability, and recognizing and combating shame.

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Dr. Joe Sanfelippo, school superintendent and author of Lead from Where You Are: Building Intention, Connection and Direction in Our Schools (2022), states in the Cultivate Ideas video from his Hacking Leadership series: 

When someone is willing to put themselves out there and bring you an idea, it’s our job to make sure we connect people to help that idea grow. There’s a distinct difference between saying, “Hey, that’s a great idea,” and saying, “Hey, that’s a great idea. Can we meet on that next week, and who else do we need to have at the table for the discussion?”  Even if the idea doesn’t move forward at least they know you wanted it to and they’ll be willing to bring you one in the future.

So how do we bring about the changes that we need? How can we break away from the TTWWADI mentality and bring innovation to an organization? The way is through establishing trust and a culture for risk-taking and innovation. It is important to continue to reflect on our practice. As a leader in your organization, ask yourself if you are: 

  • Creating a culture where all members feel valued?
  • Honoring those who are courageous to bring forward new ideas? 
  • Maintaining a culture where people will want to continue to propose new ideas?  
  • Connecting other people in your organization to move ideas forward?  
  • Willing to allow ideas a trial run even if they might not work? 

If your school still uses a paper-based process to create class lists, it’s time to consider making a change. Class Composer helps elementary school teachers and administrators create equitable classes in significantly less time. 

Frequently Asked Questions About Making the Switch

How hard is it to learn?  Do we need any special training?

We made the software intuitive and user-friendly so the learning curve is easy. Our Learning Portal has simple instructions allowing you to get started on your own.

Can we customize the program to fit our needs?

Absolutely! You can create your own unique identifiers and assessment fields during the initial setup process. These will appear in the Student Card and in the Digital Data Wall.

How does the class creation process work?

The process starts with classroom teachers. Individually, classroom teachers assess their students on the Student Cards. Collectively, the grade level teachers run our compose algorithm to create new classes for the grade level above them for the next year. When they are done fine-tuning student placement, through our drag-and-drop functionality, they will send the newly composed classes to administration. Administration will review, make any possible changes, and then finalize class lists.

What happens after the new class lists are finalized by administration?

Our system transitions to current year use. Classroom teachers will receive their new classes in their dashboard. Teachers can learn about their new students at the beginning of the new academic year from the Student Cards filled in by last year’s teacher. The new teacher can then assess their students for the new school year to take advantage of our year round value offerings. Then at the end of the school year new classes can be created for the next school year. The cycle repeats.

What are the benefits of using Class Composer throughout the year?

Our Small Groups tool allows classroom teachers to create flexible instructional groups simply. It can also be used to create student groupings among an entire grade level. Another year round benefit is easy access to compiled data on each student accessible through our Historical Student Record view.

How do we get started?

Start your free trial here!

  • Mike Cronley

    Mike Cronley is the CEO and Co-founder of Class Composer. He taught 3rd grade for 12 years at Arapahoe Ridge Elementary in Westminster, Colorado.