Issue 28

February 16, 2017

John F. Kennedy

Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other.

Dear Pioneers,

Hosting our SparkHouse gathering of learners last November was a game-changer for us. For the first time on a national scale, the whole team was actually seeing the reality of what the world could be like if all learners were educated in learner-centered environments. I think I can speak on behalf of our entire team when I say that who these learners were being was more than we could have imagined. They were confident, poised, self-expressed, creative, motivated—and so much fun to be with! But, what we haven’t talked about as much in these pages is what has happened since then.

In this issue, you can read about the “rolling thunder” of SparkHouse—how the learners have been keeping the momentum going since the meeting. It has been remarkable to see how much is still happening, even without our direct facilitation or support. And, that’s just it. They don’t need as much from us because they are part of a community of supportive, engaged adults making sure they have what they need to pursue their passions and make things happen. The learner leadership we are seeing is a demonstration of the power of a learner-centered education. And, it is an amazing thing to see!

We have a jam-packed issue for you this week! In addition to the update on SparkHouse, we’re featuring a robust Q&A with Pike Road Schools—a pioneering Alabama district in its second year of existence—and the story of our very own Associate Director, Trace Pickering’s, journey to learner-centered.

Finally, if you are heading down to Austin in a few weeks for SXSWedu 2017, don’t forget to add our Summit and cocktail party to your list of things to do. We have an incredible day planned with learners and leading pioneers in the field ending with a party co-hosted with Next Generation Learning Challenge and The Learning Accelerator. We also have a handy SXSW guide to learner-centered sessions that you won’t want to miss. We can’t wait to see you there!

Warm wishes,

Kelly Young

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We recently announced a new R&D acceleration initiative to connect and support local communities ready to bring public, equitable, learner-centered ecosystems to life.