“It’s a culture, not a program.”

L-to-R: David Hatfield, Jared Shade, Bob Hassinger (former Halifax, PA Supt. of Schools and founder of the Discovery Process)

Among the 25+ videos embedded in the training materials of the Discovery Process, is a 3-and-a-half minutes selection titled “What it Is & isn’t.” (See link below.)  It presents three Pennsylvania public school educators sharing insights on how the Discovery process has impacted the cultures at their schools.

First up, is Jared Shade (Superintendent of Schools at Upper Dauphin) who succinctly observes, “It’s a culture not a program.”

Next is Adam Downing, a social studies teacher at Upper Dauphin Middle School, who stresses the importance of teacher buy-in, and not as a “canned” program to be delivered to students, but as a program to apply to himself. He states, “If I wasn’t bought in, there’s no way they would buy in.”

Third, David Hatfield (Superintendent of Schools at Halifax) serves up what might define the special sauce of what we call “culture by design”… “Discovery Process principles and words are applied in situations throughout the day.” (Fun Fact: Halifax has been offering the Discovery Process to its stduents for a quater-century.)

What does it mean to apply these principles and words throughout the day? Well…

  • When Johnny tries out for the school play, a teacher or fellow student says, “Awesome Courage, Johnny.”
  • When Debbie stops to hold the door for a janitor dragging a mop and bucket down the hall… “Nice Concern, Debbie.”
  • When a group of students comes across a $20 bill on the playground and decide to turn it into the front desk receptionist… “That’s great Integrity/Conscience.”

Then, after a while, people start noticing, appreciating, and embodying those words and principles.

That’s what the Discovery process is.  (It isn’t a slot on the schedule.)

Here’s the link to the video:

Onward,  Malcolm Gauld