Susan Riley | March 2015

Sparkchasers Podcast: Breaking through the Roadblocks

Do you ever feel like you WOULD innovate and integrate if you COULD? That there are just some roadblocks that are just too overwhelming? In episode 3 of season 2 on Sparkchasers, we take a look at what is standing in your way (time, fear, silos – anyone?) and how to work through it in a practical way.

This is one of my favorite things to talk about because roadblocks happen to all of us.  And when they happen, it’s not just a “closed road” sign.  I find that when I run into a “no” at the school or district level, that the barrier is more like a concrete wall.  Keep banging your head against it and you can get seriously injured.

That’s why all those articles out there about overcoming challenges seem so unattainable.  It’s so easy to just say to break down the silos.  But how can we do that when the very structures in our schools are holding us back?

That’s why this episode is dedicated to the realities of what it takes to break through the roadblocks in schools – not offices or personal self-help groups.  It’s not about going around the concrete wall: it’s about taking out your jackhammer and breaking it apart at the joints.

Psst…check out around minute 9:20 where we talk about the key shift “we ALL own it together”.

What are YOUR roadblocks?  What about this episode rings true for you and what just won’t work?  Leave us a comment below and let’s keep the discussion going.

PS – We’d also really appreciate your honest feedback about the podcast series over on iTunes.  It will help us to plan out episodes that will serve you best.  Thanks so much for your support, everyone!


The Dress – Do you see blue and black or white and gold?

Stanford School of Design – spaces that are designed to break down silos.

The reality of Position Power in schools and organizations.

Leaders to Learn From segment in EducationWeek featuring Linda Clark

About the Author

Susan Riley is the founder and CEO of The Institute for Arts Integration and STEAM. She focuses on teacher professional development in arts integration, STEAM, 21st century learning skills, and technology. She is also a published author and frequent presenter at national conferences on Arts Integration and STEAM education. Susan holds a Bachelor of Music degree in Music Education from the prestigious Westminster Choir College in Princeton, NJ and a Master of Science in Education Administration from McDaniel College in Westminster, MD. She lives in Westminster, MD with her husband and daughter. Email Susan