Humans at IncSchool come in two sizes: big and small. As some of our 7th graders are taller than some of our teachers, we are working to create a culture that thinks of big and small in terms of expertise. A school is a collection of individuals with varying expertises all working on growing their expertises. How can we recognize, encourage, share, extend expertise in our community? 

Sometimes this is difficult to do in a school environment regulated by education codes, job titles, and legal liability, so there are times and places where we have to think in terms of adults and kids. 

As much as possible, however, we analyze our practices and make our decisions with a guiding question in mind: can our students do this? 

Can our students lead our school tours (rather than the adults primarily)? Can our students talk to the media (rather than...)? Can our students run our social media accounts? Can our students lead seminars? Can our students teach adults? Can our students organize the classroom spaces? Can our students see our budget? Can our students participate in all hiring processes? Can our students...

Adults have run schools for a long time, with varying degrees of success. What if students took (almost) equal ownership?


To create a flatter organizational culture, we’ve found there are three important principles: recursivity, openness, and celebration.


As much as possible, create the same processes and procedures for adults and kids. For example, staff use the same workflow methods and tools as students (Google apps, Chalkup, Blended Learning, Human Centered Design, etc.). Experiments in professional development lead to experiments in classroom relations, and vice versa. Have the same values and expectations for all humans in the building.


Anyone can walk into anyone’s classroom at any time. Anyone can have more expertise than anyone else. Anyone can teach anyone something. We use Skillshare, a.k.a. a simple T-chart,  to organize this.


Build routines but then break them. Recognize growing expertise, recognize achievement, recognize core values in action. Give big and little shout outs. Make more positive calls to families. Post pictures and stories on social media. Welcome families and the community. Call in the media. Bring everyone into everyone’s growth stories.

You can find the details of how we build and grow Human Relations under Toolkits.

My favorite things in life don't cost any money. It's really clear that the most precious resource we all have is time. 

Steve Jobs, Co-founder, Apple