Issue 30

March 16, 2017

R. Buckminster Fuller

You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.

Dear Pioneers,

Last week, half of our team was down in Austin for another year of SXSWedu. We were so glad to see so many of you at the cocktail reception co-hosted with our friends from Next Generation Learning Challenges and The Learning Accelerator. The welcoming and relaxing environment provided the space for insightful conversations to be had after a long day of visiting booths, special talks, and multi-hour summits.

We were also excited to make lots of new friends at our Tuesday Summit on “It’s a Paradigm Shift. So What?” The highlight of the Summit was the amazing young learners who joined us from McComb School District in Mississippi, Houston A+UP, Fannie Lou Hamer Freedom High School in NYC, and Iowa BIG in Cedar Rapids, IA. They took the stage as our featured, learner panel where they shared their amazing stories about what learner-centered education has provided them. Afterward, they helped attendees design skits that showcased what an unconstrained day of learning could look like if we reimagined the notions of “school.” We want to send a special thank you to all of the adults in those communities who made their travel and participation possible!

After coming back to DC for a brief moment, I was back in the air just before we were hit with a small snow storm on Tuesday. I was on my way to Greenville, South Carolina where I had the pleasure of attending the TransformSC Spring Conference. TransformSC is a growing network of schools and districts focused on real-world, anytime-anywhere learning, real-time information, and students advancing when ready. The pioneering spirit was present everywhere.

I was especially pleased to meet Marie Watson from Red Bank Elementary School who is a leading light in South Carolina. It just so happens you can read Red Bank’s profile in this issue, along with a piece that Marie authored about Red Bank’s journey to engage parents in the transformational process. Groups like TransformSC are critical to accelerating the transformation of education, as they normalize a new conversation, support practice networks, and influence policy makers. Thank you for inviting me to join the conversation!

We have a great issue lined up this week and look forward to sharing about the outcomes of our second Pioneer Lab meeting in our next issue!

Enjoy!

Kelly Young

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