How much would you pay for a crystal ball that could foresee the next school crisis? Though the ongoing pandemic has been referred to as a ‘once-in-a -lifetime crisis for school,’ we know that future crises are, unfortunately, inevitable. What schools, educators and families have experienced over the last two years has radically changed our understanding of what it means to truly care for students and teachers.

After nearly 20 years in education, one thing I have learned is there is no ‘normal.’ Whether it is a nationwide teacher shortage, challenging politics, funding instability or the devastating impact of gun violence on our communities, there is always a school crisis to navigate.

How can schools prepare for the next crisis while ensuring their long-term success? I may not have that crystal ball, but I do have leadership philosophies that have helped our schools remain the highest-performing elementary schools in their respective neighborhoods.

I hope, pandemic or not, schools can continue to share working methods with each other so that all students have access to high-quality education.

Greg White is the president and chief executive of LEARN Charter School Network, serving more than 4,000 kindergarten through eighth-grade students in Illinois and Washington, D.C. LEARN schools are the highest-performing elementary schools in each of the neighborhoods in which they are located. LEARN is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year.

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