Today I’m violating the Levin Rule; tapping out this post aboard what has been my usual commute every two or three weeks — a flight between Washington D.C. and Austin on a Southwest 737. That said, I’m pleased to report that I actually have enjoyed some good time to think on the many flights since my last blogpost.
As many of you know, I’ve been spending quite a bit of time in D.C. working to help launch Blyth-Templeton Academy, a new, independent high school model born from the question: What could/should a 21st century U.S. high school do for students, and what should it look like?
Which leads to the first of my three updates…
I’m thrilled to announce that Blyth-Templeton Academy opened its doors to seventeen phenomenal students and their families on Tuesday, September 8, 2015. I’m even more excited to share that having just visited the school in its fourth week, that we’re off to an incredible start — building an institution worthy of our students and their potential.
In my brief remarks on that opening day, I posed a question to those founding families and students: What are your gifts, and how can you use them in a way that brings you joy and serves others? I then suggested to them that it was indeed a gift to have such a school and community in which to explore that question — much less to be guided by talented, empathetic educators for whom their answer to that question was teaching at Blyth-Templeton Academy.
Perhaps that question sounds familiar? I’ve actually posed it several times before in this blog, as this question is at the core of WonderLab’s methodology for students to dream a big idea, then do it, share it, and iterate it.
Which leads to my second update…
I’m equally thrilled to share that Anna Smith, WonderLab’s wonderfully talented Director of Programs, has packaged the WonderLab approach into a school-based quest that Blyth-Templeton Academy students are currently piloting. It’s certainly still early innings, but we’re getting tons of great feedback on the viability of the school partnership channel.
Anna has also been busy channeling one of her heroes, game designer Jane McGonigal (if that name doesn't ring a bell, I encourage you to join the nearly four million people who have watched her TED Talk “Gaming Can Make a Better World”), and building a beta version of a game-based WonderLab quest for homeschoolers or those in traditional schools to use in and/or out of the classroom. At a Templeton Learning board meeting in a few weeks, we intend to determine whether the school-based or game-based strategy offers the most viable path forward for WonderLab.
Which, in turn, leads to my third and final update today…
My next post will come to you from Templeton Learning. After all, Templeton Learning is the umbrella organization for both WonderLab and Blyth-Templeton Academy. We think this makes sense given the alignment between the two sub-entities and the fact that so much of what we’re learning — not to mention dreaming, doing, sharing, and iterating — is tied up in both entities.
Time to stow the laptop, unplug, and think.
Back soon and best in the meantime,