Private School Innovation: The Mastery School of Hawken [Podcast]


Private school marketers hear the warning signs loud and clear. If private schools want to thrive, not merely survive, they need to innovate and become something so great that parents can’t ignore them. They need to be so outstanding, parents will be standing on line with their children to get in. Enter The Mastery School of Hawken as one road to innovation that has great promise.

Scott Looney

Scott Looney

Scott Looney joined Hawken School as its 10th head of school in July 2006. Since that time he’s worked to advance the school with a variety of forward-focused initiatives that have earned national recognition. His belief in student-centered and authentic learning has fueled each effort including the founding of the Mastery Transcript Consortium in 2017 and the new Mastery School of Hawken, which will welcome its students in August 2020. Prior to becoming head of Hawken, Scott spent eleven years at Cranbrook Schools in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan. Before Cranbrook, he was Director of Admissions at Lake Forest Academy in Lake Forest, Illinois and Assistant Dean of Admissions at Phillips Academy in Andover, Massachusetts.

Terry Dubow

Terry Dubow

Terry Dubow has served as Hawken’s Director of Special Projects since 2015, a role that has allowed him to develop strategic messaging and positioning for Hawken’s merger with the Birchwood School, the launch of the Mastery Transcript Consortium, and now the development of the Mastery School of Hawken. He’s also served as the Associate Head of School at Westtown School, the Director of Strategic Projects and the Director of Communications and Marketing at Hathaway Brown, and an English teacher at a number of other schools including Newtown Friends School, his first job where he was “lucky enough to teach Rob and Liza Norman’s middle-school aged kids.”


Scott and Terry Quoted

“Education in America is fundamentally broken…One of the few schools poised to swim against the tide of our misguided educational practices, Hawken is among an even smaller few positioned to lead the way.”

“For the last 150 years we’ve treated students like widgets on a factory line.”

 “Maria Montessori and John Dewey lost the argument in the public sphere.”

“In public school, your job is to compete against your classmates to see who can be the most excellent. NOT, your job is to make yourself the greatest form of your unique shape as you’re capable of.”

“It’s the elements of a standard transcript that put a lot of construction on innovation: courses, time unit, and scaled rating. When you think about human growth and development, all three of those are a terrible idea.”

“Everyone except educators thinks the education system is broken.”

“There has to be a better way.”

“Designing the ideal high school: Shifting conversation from ‘knowledge gathering’ to learning how to learn and doing it a way where it interfaces with humanity.”  

“200 people came to our first information session. All the heads are nodding. This is a pressing problem that hasn’t been named.”

“Real world problems. Teachers as coaches & mentors. Assessment model about mastery, not memorization.”

“It’s a non-started for a lot of families, until you get them to start.”  

“We’re living in a fundamentally altered world. To run the same playbook from a previous era in education is irresponsible. It’s not what education is all about.”

What You’ll Learn

  • What Mastery Transcript Consortium is and how it got started.

  • What progressive education is.

  • What a transcript looks like…and it’s different for every school.

  • How college admission folks are helping MTC refine the transcript so that it will be easier for colleges to use.

  • How Hawken students affected the design of the new high school.

  • Where MTC sees itself in 5-10 years.

  • That MTC is open source and they are willing to share knowledge.

  • How MTC will market its concept to teachers and families.


Resigning School

Korda Institute for Teaching

Get more brilliant ideas and brain food by signing up for our newsletter. We make your job easier.

More Podcasts To Make Your Job Easier