Innovation: A Disposition, Not a Destination
As market-driven businesses, independent schools often rely on innovative practices to stay current for prospective families. In partnership with the National Organization of Independent Schools (NAIS), this mixed-methods study sought to uncover habits and cultural norms that are prevalent in schools with more innovative practices. Through quantitative survey analysis (using the School Culture Survey and Rogers' Diffusion of Innovation theory) and qualitative interviews, we assess the cultural elements of innovative schools as shared in responses by administrators and faculty. Our research suggests that when a school has a positive culture, there is a relationship to its commitment to innovation. Innovation is cultural, curriculum-driven, and relies on community. Specifically, the data in this study points to a strong relationship between school cultures rooted in flexibility, trust, and congeniality with schools that self-identify as being innovative and confident in their ability to adapt to or promote curricular change.