Mahtomedi Public Schools - ISD832

Podcast 151 Encouragement
In Podcast 151 called, "Encouragement" Mark Larson emphasizes that encouragement and support are more important than criticism. He tells a story about a front desk employee and what he learned from that encounter. 

Podcast 150 Who is Charles Douglas?
In podcast #150 asking, "Who is Charles Douglas?" Mark Larson takes a slightly different view on innovation. Rather than thinking of innovations as huge life and world changing things (although there is a place for those) Larson believes that more innovations are created by those who are looking at a problem and then finding a solution. The innovation may not be permanent and will likely run its course, but then something else often comes along to improve upon that latest innovation. 

Podcast 149 What is the 'English Disease?'
In Podcast 149, Mark Larson asks about what has been called, "The English Disease." He cites important social cues and a sense of purpose in eliminating that condition and gives examples of how Mahtomedi's amazing teachers create that positive culture in their classrooms. 

Podcast 148 Cold Calling
In Podcast #148 called, "Cold Calling" Mark Larson summarizes the findings of an experiment about purpose and connects it to the work being done in classrooms throughout Mahtomedi. Being able to innovate, take risks, and actively seek out, and then solve, problems requires a strong sense of purpose that is seen in the culture of our schools. 

Podcast 147 Getting Better
In Podcast 147 called "Getting Better" Mark Larson talks about innovation and how you need to look for ideas from the front line people. You can't innovate from on high because the front line folks have the insights and the wisdom to see what the real problems are. 

Podcast 146 Some Moments
In Podcast #146 called, "Some Moments" Mark Larson reflects on the power of moments and how great educators make these happen for their students.

Podcast 145 Air to land and Back to Air
In Podcast 145 called, "Air to Land and Back to Air" Mark Larson tells about an evolution he's seen in his thirty five years in education. It's only three and a half minutes. 

Podcast 144 In Praise of Experts
In Podcast 144, "In Praise of Experts" Mark Larson tells a story about his son's broken arm. He connects that to the need for a high quality Mahtomedi education that focuses on Future Ready Skills. 

Podcast 143 Rhyming Words
In Podcast 143 called "Innovating Rhyming Words" Mark Larson identifies five common words (according to the web) that don't have a rhyming partner and connects that to innovation. He posits that instead of just looking at the ordinary we might re-examine it in what makes it unique.  

Podcast 142 Disruptions and Innovation
In Podcast #142 called "Disruptions and Innovation" Mark Larson tells how innovation can happen by adding things like prearranged pricing, knowing you don't have to tip, who your driver is (think Uber) or subtracting things like walls and floors, plumbing and electricity (like Amazon). But most innovations come via a hybrid of combining something new with something existing. As we continue on with our Zephyr Ideas Program, we're already seeing some of each. 

Podcast 141 Knowledge Mining
In Podcast 141 called, "Knowledge Mining" Mark Larson cites Bruce Nussbaum's work and ideas about knowledge mining to make a connection with innovation. Larson defines the acronym SCAMPER and explains how that can be used for innovation and knowledge mining. 

Podcast 140 Creativity by Combining
Podcast #140 is called "Creativity by Combining" and Mark Larson focuses on intersectional thinking. He posits that schools (and many institutions) are often very linear in their thinking and what they do. He says that in order to be creative and innovative, one has to create intersections in that thinking. Larson claims that we are on the cusp of a new age--not the agricultural age, the industrial age, nor the information age--but the age of the heart. Juxtapose empathy and understanding, diversity and compassion, with the straight ahead linear nature of schools to find, and create, innovation. 

Podcast 139 Regret
In Podcast 139: "Regret" Mark Larson explains how that can be a powerful force, but cannot be one to hold us back on our work with equity and innovation. 

Podcast 138 The Next Age
In Podcast #138 called "The Next Age" Mark Larson recounts some history of various ages and predicts what the next age will be. It's not agricultural, industrial, or informational. It's something different. 

Podcast 137 Marshmallows and Children
In Podcast 137 called, "Marshmallows and Children" Mark Larson re-tells an experiment in which Kindergarten students outperformed adult professionals. He includes some possible reasons as to why that was the case and connects those reasons with our equity journey. 

Podcast 136 A Cobbler or a Roofer
In Podcast 136 called, "A Cobbler or a Roofer?" Mark Larson re-tells an old story that includes equity, decision making, and acting with appropriate speed. 

Podcast 135 Marco Polo
In podcast 135 called, "Marco Polo" Mark Larson tells a story about the great explorer's adventures. He identifies the need to explore some of our assumptions and beliefs through an equity lens. If we do that well, and when we know better, we should do better.  

134 The World Series and the Electoral College
In Podcast 134 called, "The World Series and the Electoral College"  Mark Larson explains the three-fifths compromise and connects that with equity. Equity is about being an inclusive community that honors each unique individual, embraces diverse backgrounds, and values all students, families, and staff members. It's about providing what students needs whether it is more challenge or more support.

Podcast 133 Three Seemingly Unrelated Things
In the "Three Seemingly Unrelated Things" episode, Mark Larson connects the Union Depot, Decisions, and North by Northwest. He makes a point about equity and the journey that we are all on as we examine what we do through an equity lens. 

He Was at Fort Snelling
In Podcast 132, "He Was at Fort Snelling" Mark Larson recounts a famous Supreme Court case and why President Buchanan was considered the worst of all the US Presidents. He also explains that as part of the equity journey "effect" is more important than "intention." 

Podcast 131 Music and Lyrics
In Podcast 131 called, "Music and Lyrics" Mark Larson looks at our national anthem. He uses that as a place to begin a discussion about equity and how we want to engage the staff, students, and community to provide an equitable learning environment. 

Podcast 130 New School Year
In Podcast 130 called, "New School Year" Mark Larson tells how the vision of engage, challenge, and inspire will be implemented through a lens of equity, growth mindset, and future ready.  

Podcast 129 Searching for Relevance
In Podcast 129 called "Searching for Relevance" Mark Larson tells a story about an astrologer and how he made himself relevant to the king. Larson goes on to explain how great Mahtomedi teachers make learning and education relevant for our students. 

Podcast 128 Different Perspectives
In Podcast 128 called, "Different Perspectives" Mark Larson gives three examples of how a looking at things differently can provide a perspective that is not easily seen. He relates these perspectives to how we can use time more effectively. 

Podcast 127 Blackbeard; the Designer?
In Podcast 127 called "Blackbeard; the Designer?" Mark Larson cites an example of the famous pirate Blackbeard who was actually a very impressive designer. He gives examples from the Mahtomedi Engineering Showcase as remarkable designs and our students as terrific designers. 

Podcast 126

In Podcast 126, Mark Larson identifies ways to save time and conducts a multi-tasking experiment with the listener.  


Podcast 125 Who is Dick Fosbury?
In Podcast 125, "Who is Dick Fosbury?" Mark Larson speaks about innovation and the inevitable "s" curve. As Mahtomedi continues to help students develop future ready skills, we have to be cognizant of the "s" curve implications. 

Podcast 124 Elwood P. Dowd
In Podcast 124, Mark Larson cites Mahtomedi's terrific production of Harvey and identifies a favorite Elwood P. Dowd quote. He uses that quote as a springboard into commentary on gratitude and mindfulness. 

Podcast 123 Joke Dissection
In Podcast 123 called "Joke Dissection" Mark Larson tells a story from the New Yorker cartoon fact checker (yes, there is such a thing). Larson uses the dissection of the joke as a stepping stone to challenge conventional thinking. 

Podcast 122 April Fool
In Podcast 122, called "April Fool" Mark Larson shares some facts about the day. However, the main point revolves around the thinking that "just because we can doesn't mean we should." Larson connects this with the Mahtomedi Mission Statement: Mahtomedi Public Schools will provide a learning community in which all students can learn, thrive, and succeed in a global society.


Podcast 121 Blinded By the Light
In Podcast 121, "Blinded By the Light" Mark Larson explains the distinction between an uplifting, positive vision and one that is too narrow. Hence the reference to the Bruce Springsteen song from his first album. Larson identifies Mahtomedi's vision to engage, challenge, and inspire students as one that empowers students and staff. 

Podcast 120 Haven't We Always Had Secret Ballots?
In Podcast 120 called, "Haven't We Always Had Secret Ballots?" Mark Larson answers that question. He, then, looks at the parallels in politics and education. The conclusion he draws is that something that started out as something novel, like a paper ballot or project based learning can gradually become something commonplace and something that "we've always had." 

Podcast 119: Build a Better Mousetrap
In Podcast 119, "Build a Better Mousetrap" Mark Larson tells a story from Kevin Ashton's book about creativity. It is more than just improving what already exists, although continuous improvement is good. Creativity is more than thinking "outside the box" or "inside the box." Real creativity comes from our students when we help them live out our vision or being engaged, challenged, and inspired. 

Podcast 118: Who is James Morris?
In Podcast 118, "Who is James Morris?" Mark Larson tells a version of Groundhog Day and connects that harmless, fun diversion to schools. He explains that to make schooling more fun for students and staff we have to engage, challenge and inspire them. 

Podcast 117: Empirical Evidence Doesn't Tell the Whole Story
In Podcast 117 called, "Empirical Evidence Doesn't Tell the Whole Story" Mark Larson recounts a joke from Cathcart and Klein to make a point that having a "growth mindset" is much better than a "fixed mindset" and some of the things a great Mahtomedi education helps students form that growth mindset. 

Podcast 116: The Charlie Problem
In Podcast 116 called "The Charlie Problem" Mark Larson takes a problem and tries to solve it using creativity. However, he points out that creativity is not flashes of insights or strokes or genius nearly as much as it hard work, time, and effort. He connects creativity (one of Mahtomedi's Future Ready Skills) and our emphasis on grit and determination. 

Podcast 115: Three Fun Facts about Central Park
In Podcast #115, Mark Larson shares three facts about Central Park and connects them to the district vision of engaging, challenging, and inspiring. He also points out the need for each organization to have a unique vision. You shouldn't just copy someone else's (regardless of how good it sounds) for three simple reasons: we are not they; here is not there, now is not then. 

Podcast 114: What was the first public park in America?
In Podcast #114 called, "What Was the First Public Park in America?" Mark Larson briefly outlines that park's evolution and connects it to making changes. He posits that almost any change will have its share of detractors. While there will be some who don't support of vision of engaging, challenging, and inspiring all students to create opportunities for themselves and others, we must also stand firm on the courage of our convictions. 

Podcast 113: It Ain't Over 'til It's Over
In Podcast 113 called, "It Ain't Over 'til It's Over" Mark Larson tells an anecdote about baseball great Yogi Berra. and explains that focus is good, but if it is too intense a focus can be limiting. Mahtomedi believes in having students learn the academics, but expands that thinking as the District embraces a guiding philosophy of "learning without limits." In addition, Larson explains how the district works to live its vision of having all students engaged, challenged, and inspired. 

Podcast 112: A Sixth Sense and a Prediction
In Podcast 112: A Sixth Sense and a Prediction, Mark Larson recounts an example from the book The Invisible Gorilla and draws a connection with Mahtomedi's new vision: Engage, Challenge, and Inspire all students to create opportunities for themselves and others. He gives examples of what our terrific teachers do to engage, challenge, and inspire our students to do great things. 

Podcast 111: Who is Stanley J. Rachman
Podcast 111 asks, "Who is Stanley J. Rachman?" Mark Larson answers that question by explaining some of Rachman's work in affective forecasting and how that can apply to students. He also explains the district vision statement and focuses on the three powerful verbs in it: engage, challenge, inspire. 

Podcast 110: Alphabetical Order
In Podcast 110, "Alphabetical Order" Mark Larson muses on the origin of "alphabet." He explains that the origin, while interesting, really doesn't mean much today--we all understand what the word means without having any historical record. The same will probably be true for the school district vision. We won't care as much about how we came up with these three words: engage, challenge, inspire as much as we will care about how we live them out to benefit students 

Podcast 109: Random and Unrelated Thoughts
In Podcast 109 called, "Random and Unrelated Thoughts" Mark Larson connects Chicken Little, raspberries, Atticus Finch and one part of the Mahtomedi Strategic Plan. 

Podcast 108: A Picture is Worth 46%
In "A Picture Is Worth 46%" Mark Larson cites a disturbing statistic that points out just how important it is for us to have contact with our students. The importance of relationships and connections is certainly not lost on our outstanding Mahtomedi teachers and our remarkable student achievement is evidence of that. 

Podcast 107: A Summary of the Summer Institute
In "A Summary of the Summer Institute" Mark Larson summarizes a presentation about utilizing technology in improve learning. The presentation was by George Couros and a point of emphasis was the need for change. He said, "If you don't like change, you're going to like irrelevance even less." He also identifies eight elements of his model. 

Podcast 106: Ahoy, and Patron Saints
In Podcast 106, "Ahoy, and Patron Saints" Mark Larson recounts a story about how good intentions can go turn into bad ideas and end up with unintended results. This is why it is important to slow down sometimes and reflect. It also makes sense to ponder and imagine and dream sometimes too. 

Podcast 105: The Stress of Swimming
In Podcast 105, "The Stress of Swimming" edition Mark Larson discusses good stress and bad stress. As Mahtomedi goes through strategic planning we need to make sure that our action plans include student support. To that end, we will need to focus on how to provide appropriate, but not debilitating, levels of stress for students and staff. 

Podcast 104: Who Is James Watt?
In Podcast 104: Who Is James Watt, Mark Larson posits that "fiddling about" can lead to discoveries that might not otherwise occur. And since Mahtomedi students are already so successful academically, we should exert some of our efforts to discover and create, imagine and innovate, and turn our ideas into action. In short, we should emphasize our Future Ready Skills. 

Podcast 103: Whatever Happened to Red Owl?
In Podcast 103: Whatever Happened to Red Owl? Mark Larson gives an example from Jim Collins about how schools can go from good to great and what they must do. He also uses the analogy of the junk drawer. 

Podcast 102: Who is Fiona Fairhurst?
In Podcast 102: "Who Is Fiona Fairhurst?" Mark Larson cites an example from Chip and Dan Heath's book, Decisive, about looking at things differently. Here, he uses the achievement gap as an example and shows instances in which the gap is closed. The answer is to use both big picture things like programs and classes, but small picture things like looking at the achievement gap differently. 

Podcast 101: How Did Albuquerque Get Its Name?
In Podcast 101, Mark Larson answers how the city of Albuquerque got its name. He then connects how things get started with our emphasis on project-based learning. He cites some examples and explains what PBL is and isn't.

Podcast 100: Sandia Also Means Watermelon
In podcast 100, "Sandia Also Means Watermelon," Mark Larson uses the 3rd longest tramway in the world to make a point about accurate predictions. Like recent innovations in Mahtomedi like Walk to Literacy, Walk to Math, Learning without Limits, and Project Based Learning, we think we know what the future will hold, but we’re not certain. Therefore, we will monitor, improve, and do our very best.

Podcast 99: Milgram and Internalized Norms
In Podcast 99, Mark Larson explains what internalized norms are and how they might exist in classrooms. He gives examples of teachers and students in controlled risk-taking environments where the project based learning model works well. While there is a place for "recipes" and following directions in both teaching and learning, it is worthwhile sometimes getting out of that norm and into an area a little more risky.

Podcast 98: Who is John Peter Wagner?
In Podcast 98, Mark Larson answers who is John Peter Wagner and explains how he is connected to controlled risk taking. Larson posits that there is a need for risk taking in the classroom. In many instances, students (and teachers) follow a "recipe" to get the desired results. While that has been successful in the past, it might be time to rethink more project based learning and venturing into less charted waters.

Podcast 97: Who Is David Rosehan?
In #97, Mark Larson explores the nuances between "seeing is believing" and "believing is seeing" and how future ready skills will help students see the differences. Using future ready skills like thinking critically and creatively, accessing and analyzing information, and turning ideas into action. will help Mahtomedi students now and in the future.

Podcast 96: How Should I Ask?
In Podcast 96: How Should I Ask? Mark Larson tells an anecdote about asking accusatory questions. He believes that we should afford people the benefit of the doubt and that we should put people in their best light rather than making accusations and negative assumptions. He also identifies some of the great questioning strategies that teachers use and how they spark critical and creative thinking.

Podcast 95: Who was James Harper?
In Podcast #95, Mark Larson asks, "Who was James Harper?" He compares Mr. Harper's decisions and their long lasting impact to Mahtomedi's decisions about embracing "learning without limits" as our guiding philosophy. Larson also cites Mahtomedi's "walk to literacy" and "walk to math" approaches as well as the instructional vision to have all teachers be experts in assessment.

Podcast 94: What came first?
In Podcast #94, Mark Larson asks the question about what came first? The color or the fruit? While there is a correct answer, what is more important is where we are now and where we are going rather than where we've been. The examples of using formative assessments will help students learn even more because those assessments are the milepost markers that tell you where you in relation to where you need to be.

Podcast 93: Who is William Willett?
In Podcast #93, Mark Larson asks, "Who is William Willett?" As way of answering, Larson gives examples of an original idea, like Willett's, and how competition made it even better. There is a connection between Mahtomedi's oustanding educational program and the competition that improves it even more.

Podcast 92: What Time Is It?
In Podcast 92: What Time Is It? Mark Larson talks about the evolution of watches and education. The point he makes is that no matter what the timepiece, the purpose has stayed constant. Likewise, whatever changes education has seen, the purpose is to help students learn, and in Mahtomedi, it is to help students learn without limits, In addition, there is the answer to the title's question.

Podcast 91: A Rock Is the Cause?
In Podcast #91, called, "A Rock Is the Cause?" Mark Larson looks at what caused Mahtomedi students to do so well on the state MCA tests. He includes a metaphor about an airplane.  The Mahtomedi plane is flying efficiently and at a high altitude. It is filled with amazing passengers (students) and operated by a terrific crew (teachers). However, if the fuel supply is cut off, the plane will slow down, lose altitude, and drop. 

Podcast 90: Common Knowledge
In Podcast #90, "Common Knowledge" Mark Larson tells of some things he learned about the Empire State Building and how what he thought was true (probably because he thought it was common knowledge) were actually false. He examines things that others may assume to be true, but are not, with the truth. The examples include open enrollment and competition. 

Podcast 89: Not only is she smart, she's dolphin smart
In episode #89, called "Not only is she smart, she's dolphin smart" Mark Larson uses appropriate comparisons to make the point that Mahtomedi receives less, but students achieve more. For example, 71% of the metro school districts have a higher operating levy. When you examine state aid and levy, there are 81% of the districts that receive more funding. As the levy information sessions roll out, it's important to make apples-to-apples comparisons and not apples-to-dolphin comparisons.

Podcast 88: He Had a Hat
In Podcast #88: "He Had a Hat" Mark Larson uses a joke from Cathcart and Klien to point out how important gratitude is and how much we have to be thankful for here in Mahtomedi.

Podcast 86: Columbus and Landy
In podcast #86 called "Columbus and Landy" Mark Larson tells a story about being the first, or second, to do amazing things. He connects this with our Celebration of Excellence where we recognize the top ten percent of the graduating class along with this year's Distinguished Alumni.

Podcast 84: Tomato-tomato
In Podcast 84: Tomato-tomato, Mark Larson points out that some subtle distinctions may actually matter a great deal. Little things can make a great deal of difference and he cites examples from the secondary schools that improve student learning and help with our guiding philosophy of learning without limits.

Podcast 83: Who is Tom Tunney?
In #83, "Who Is Tom Tunney?" Mark Larson tells the story of something that didn't happen 99 years ago this week. He posits that it is the little things that make a difference and cites examples in the Early Childhood and Elementary programs that end up making a big difference for student learning.

Podcast 82: Hoffman
In "Hoffman" Mark Larson draws a connection between two Hoffman's--Phillip and Dustin. He identifies the dangers of being a "never-was" and tells how schools can help students achieve their aspirations. That is done by embracing our philosophy of "Learning Without Limits," developing future ready skills, and helping students and staff be assessment literate.

Podcast 81: "Who is Harriet Quimby?"
In Podcast 81: Who is Harriet Quimby? Mark Larson tells the story of the first woman to be a licensed airplane pilot in America. Unfortunately, she had a tragic ending and it took a long time to learn from that event. However, Mahtomedi teachers are learning quickly and doing better by becoming "assessment literate." This is part of our learning without limits guiding philosophy and as teachers, and students, do better with assessment, student achievement will improve even more.

Podcast 79: "Resolutions"
In Podcast #79, Mark Larson explains what helps some resolutions succeed and others to fail. He identifies what Mahtomedi schools do that helps with successfully reaching one's goals. Those are S.M.A.R.T goals and formative assessments.

Podcast 78: "30 Percent"
In Podcast 78, "30 Percent" Mark Larson speculates about what Manhattan would look like if it was 30% smaller. He also identifies what Mahtomedi would look like if the school district was 30% smaller. Based on the research that was commissioned in 2008, the steady enrollment, the curricular offerings, the co-curricular options, and student achievement, it is clear that Mahtomedi is right-sized.

Podcast 77: "Pancho Villa and Fruit Flies"
In Podcast 77: Pancho Villa and Fruit Flies, Dr. Mark Larson makes the point that while some things may be annoying, a better path is to present facts honestly instead of anonymous misleading falsehoods. A better path is to respond honestly to any and all questions rather than anonymously post falsehoods and untrue accusations. There may be some pleasure in smashing the fruit fly, but it's better to rise above that level.

Podcast 76: "Just because I don't like it doesn't mean it's not a good idea"
Podcast 76's lengthy title is: "Just because I don't like it doesn't mean it's not a good idea." In it, Mark Larson draws an interesting comparison between pet cremation and open enrollment. He identifies several reasons why open enrollment makes financial sense for all school districts.

Podcast 75: "Evaluations"
In Podcast #75, Mark Larson explains how important it is to have unbiased evaluations to get a true sense of school district quality. Dr. Larson identifies recent recognitions of Mahtomedi Schools including the 5th highest reading scores in the state, the highest math scores in the state, and for the second year in a row, the highest science scores in the state. He also cites national publications like US News and World Report who named Mahtomedi High School as the best in the state and Forbes who named Mahtomedi the fifth best in the nation in the "Best Schools for Your Housing Buck." And yet, we must do more to make sure all our students are appropriately challenged and supported and that will cost more money. Please visit the web site or contact Dr. Larson directly to hear about the upcoming levy election.

Podcast 69: Who are Robert Newman and John Pulling?
In the "Who are Robert Newman and John Pulling? " episode, Mark Larson tells the story of the famous ride of Paul Revere and that other people also contributed to the success. As a preview of his graduation speech, he urges students not to be Paul Revere, Robert Newman, or John Pulling, but to be yourself. And that "you" is about to graduate from the top ranked high school in the state. That "you" has the skills and smarts to be successful. So don't be someone else, but be courageous and bold and participate and contribute to make the world better.

Podcast 67: Who is William Webb Ellis?
In the "Who Is William Webb Ellis?" episode, Mark Larson explains how sometimes it is better to embrace something new rather than continuously comparing it to something familiar. He suggests that breakthroughs in education, such as utilizing time and space differently, will have a huge impact on learning and teaching. He also suggests that there may be a need to embrace those changes instead of looking for comparisons to the traditional.

Podcast 66: Why Not Down?
In the "Why not Down?" episode of the Mahtomedi Superintendent podcast, Mark Larson tells a story about how elevators came to be very safe and the unexpected impact they had on building height. He connects this with the need for students to look at things differently and develop "future ready" skills that encourages creativity, imagination, and curiosity.

Podcast 65: More Boxes
In podcast #65, "More Boxes," Mark Larson uses the metaphor of boxes to make his point. He identifies four different kinds of boxes: all things to all people, all things to a few people, a few things to a few people, and a few things to all people. He identifies and explains in which box he feels public education resides.

Podcast 64: Who is Benjamin Outram?
In podcast 64, "Who is Benjamin Outram?" Mark Larson recounts how boxes were first used. And while there are useful purposes of boxes they can be misused as well. Boxes get misused when we put children into them rather than treating them as individuals. Also, we should let problems drive the solutions. Schools need to provide the tools that students can use to create new things and solve problems and not force students to use an acronym.

Podcast 62: Shall I Compare Thee to a Summer's Day?
In Podcast #62, Mark Larson links a Shakespearean sonnet, standards based report cards, and TEDxMahtomedi. The point he makes is about comparing and measuring against a standard rather than judging or evaluating based on a comparison of others. He includes the Minnesota K-12 Academic Standards as a base for student expectations.

Podcast 60: Who is David Sarnoff?
In Podcast #60, the "Who Is David Sarnoff?" episode, superintendent Mark Larson tells how Mr. Sarnoff was able to predict great things for another medium. This was in spite of the fact that there is no way that Mr. Sarnoff could have foreseen the implications. Likewise, outstanding Mahtomedi educators may not be able to predict the wonderful things that Mahtomedi graduates are able to accomplish in the future. However, starting this spring, there is a vehicle to recognize distinguished alumni. Nomination forms and information is available at

Podcast 58: Who is Robert May?
In Podcast #58, Mark Larson tells how two things that we've come to accept as "always being that way" started. He connects the fact that everything has to start somewhere with the start of Mahtomedi's "Learning without Limits" initiatives and focus on "future ready" skills.

Podcast 57: How Did Heck
In podcast 57, Mark Larson tells the story of how one conversation influenced the way an entire city neighborhood got its name. He then cites examples of Mahtomedi students "leading with influence" (one of our Future Ready skills) and how these acts of kindness are sure to influence others and make the world a much better place.

Podcast 56: "Standing an Egg on Its End"
In the "Standing an Egg on Its End" episode, Mark Larson explains how a great explorer showed the way for others to follow and cites examples of Mahtomedi leading as well. Leading with influence is one of the future ready skills Mahtomedi embraces as part of our learning without limits philosophy.

Podcast 55: I Can't Wait
In "I Can't Wait" Mark Larson bemoans the political campaign season, but draws hope from of the great things happening in the Early Childhood and Elementary classrooms. He cites examples of future ready skills in action that these very young learners exhibit.

Podcast 54: 57 Channels
In "57 channels" Mark Larson recounts a finding from Malcolm Gladwell's book "Blink." Gladwell shows that relying on one indicator, like a number, for making all decisions isn't always the best course of action. Dr. Larson draws a connection with quantifiable results like tests scores and more difficult to measure "future ready" skills. He also explains why Mahtomedi is uniquely positioned to help students develop these skills.

Podcast 53: Should We just Wait?
In Podcast 53, Mark Larson uses the Statute of Liberty as an example of doing some terrific things (like honoring the idea of liberty) without having every single possible scenario fully explored. He poses the question about waiting and answers that it is better to move ahead with the best plan and make improvements along the way rather than becoming a victim of "paralysis by analysis" and thereby do nothing.

Podcast 52: Who are George Crumb and William Tapaden?
In Podcast #52, Mark Larson traces the evolution of one of America's favorite snack foods and draws a parallel with technology. There isn't one perfect snack for every appetite and there isn't one perfect device for every job. That's why at Mahtomedi we believe student learning is more important than the device students use to help them learn.

Podcast 51: When Is Nathan Jackson
In Podcast #51, Mark Larson cites an experiment that showed the power of connections and linked that to the "future ready" skills that are required for students to succeed. He gives examples of possible assignments that incorporate "future ready" skills and does answer the birthday question about Nathan Jackson.

Podcast 50: Cornucopia of Analogy
In Podcast #50, Mark Larson shares a different vision of "achievement gap" and explains how the impact of great teaching makes such a difference in closing that gap.

Podcast 46: Connecting the Dots
Mark Larson describes some of the dots that are connected to come to the ending point in a student's high school career: graduation. He cites examples at each of the four buildings and the support of families and community in helping to make successful graduates. Congratulations to the Mahtomedi Class of 2012!

June 4, 2012: "Crossing the line"
In Podcast #45, Mark Larson describes how crossing a line is similar to reaching a new milestone. He explains the four things necessary to attain that next goal which are: commit the time and energy, have a good work ethic, do the right work, and be resilient. Graduation is a milestone and after Saturday, the class of 2012 will be the first in line, the first in a long line of successful classes, to cross the line from high school to new adventures.

May 1, 2012: "Were Fire Poles Always Made of Brass?"
In Podcast #43, Superintendent Mark Larson emphasizes how education - like many experiences in life - is constantly evolving as teachers learn new ways to deliver content to students. For example, we've gone from "cardiac" assessment (I know in my heart) to using data to make educational decisions. He also explains the differences between summative assessment (the final performance) and formative assessment (rehearsals) and identifies some exemplary uses of formative assessment in the ECFE classes.

April 18, 2012: "Who is Carl C. MaGee?"
In podcast #42, which is titled "Who is Carl C. MaGee?," Dr. Mark Larson shares some of the ways the terrific teachers of Mahtomedi engage students. He specifically cites questioning strategies and the use of technology to improve student engagement and learning. He also explains Mr. MaGee's contribution. It was originally disruptive and a novelty, but became a mainstay despite the initial opposition and controversy.

February 15, 2012: "Sidewalks"
In Podcast #38, Mark Larson describes the importance of digital literacy for our students. He draws the conclusion that students use technology to accelerate their learning and that as students bring their own devices into schools to help them learn, the students will be creating learning paths.

February 1, 2012: "Clipper Ships"
In podcast #37 Mark Larson notes that part of the reason clipper ships fell out of favor and then as a viable transportation source was that they weren't prepared to see "breakthroughs" on the horizon. The connection with education is that while Mahtomedi continues to improve, we have to be prepared for an educational "breakthrough." One such breakthrough may be utilizing technology or time differently.

January 23, 2012: "What we have here..."
In this podcast, Mark Larson identifies one of Mahtomedi's strategic areas of focus: communications and shares some of the results of the community survey.

December 1, 2011: "From where did we get the word 'seasoning'?"
In podcast #34, Mark Larson asks, "From Where Did We Get the Word 'Seasoning?'" Explaining that definition by connecting it to Continuous Improvement, which is one of the strategic areas of focus, Larson cites several examples of how Mahtomedi teachers are improving their instruction and thereby student learning.

November 15, 2011: "Who is Efraim K. Avery?"
In podcast #33, Mark Larson thanks the Mahtomedi community for supporting the renewal of the technology levy. One area of strategic focus is wise resource management and the auditors showed that Mahtomedi spends less per students than the 7 county metro area average, but Mahtomedi gets better results.

November 1, 2011: "Who is Robert Malthus?"
In podcast #32, Mark Larson explains how difficult it is to predict the future. One of the few certainties of the future, however, is the need for technology to help accelerate learning. He draws on examples from the last ten years to show just how much technology has changed and how important it is for students and staff.

October 18, 2011: "Who is Richard Grasso?"
In podcast #31 called, "Who is Richard Grasso?" Mark Larson tells how the Ultimatum Game may explain some behaviors and how important effective use of technology is in accelerating learning. He cites examples from the middle school that clearly show how technology, when used by skilled teachers, greatly enhances learning.

September 1, 2011: "Making It Stick"
In this podcast called, "Making it Stick" Mark Larson cites an urban legend from Chip and Dan Heath and explains how ideas can stick with students. Through participation in Mahtomedi's outstanding Engineering program, students are empowered to solve future challenges by sparking curiosity, fueling creativity, and instilling a lifelong passion for innovation. Through their work in the FABLAB, students will be creating ideas and knowledge that will stick with them.

August 15, 2011: "What Do You Stand For?"
In this podcast, Dr. Mark Larson uses an anecdote from Clifton Fadiman's "Little, Brown Book of Anecdotes" to discuss times when we should take a stand and times when we should sit in respectful silence. According to Larson, Mahtomedi Public Schools "stand" for exceptional academics, positive relationships, wise financial management, effective communication, continuous improvement, customer service, and wide use of our resources. With regard to "wise use of resources," Larson points out that the school district will be asking voters to renew the district's tech levy on November 8. A "renewal" means the district would like to continue what is doing with regard to innovative use of technology in our schools and classrooms while not increasing taxes. We will be living within our means while continuing the excellence.

July 4, 2011: "Monkey See..."
In this podcast, Mark Larson tells a story about how researchers were able to capture a Tonkin Monkey and its implications for students, teachers, superintendents, and elected officials. The moral of the story is to let go of things that unnecessarily hold us back.

June 1, 2011: Who is George Geddes? #23
In podcast #23, Mark Larson tells a story about "planking." Not the You Tube sensation, but how roads were built at one time. The connection between planking and education today is made about the need for models, but still doing what's best for our particular students.

May 2, 2011: "Oh, You're Corrupt, That's Why I Trust You" #21
In this episode, Mark Larson tells a story of a con man and how he was able to win the confidence of his victim.

April 18, 2011: Will You Raise Your Hand? #20
In this episode, Mark Larson cites a story about Abraham Lincoln (probably apocryphal) that is a lesson about courage and doing the right thing.

March 1, 2011: Who is Ransom E. Olds? #17

Feb. 18, 2011: Let's Pretend #16

Feb. 1, 2011: Rotten Apples #15

Dec. 17, 2010: Who is Samuel Pierpont Langley? #12

Nov. 8, 2010: The Abilene Paradox #10

Aug. 15, 2010: The Curse of Knowledge #4

July 1, 2010: What's the Goal? #1
In this introductory podcast, Mark Larson explains the goals of the bi-monthly podcasts and what people can expect.

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