Year 2 Session 2 (11/5/21)

Hi everyone,

It's great to be writing to you today! I haven't written in some time and there's so many exciting things to share.

The Studio really is settling into an amazing flow. The eagles experience deep learning every single day. And the self-governance amongst the tribe is continually improving. Powerful goal setting is becoming the norm, and virtually all of Aim's systems are becoming more meaningful and effective, while frequently getting refined by the eagles.

The last few weeks the Studio has seen some really great developments. As I'm sure many of you have undoubtedly heard from your learners, the guides became 'invisible' for a few days last week. While this did put a few eagles in their panic zone at times, it was remarkable to see that few tangible differences were even noticeable. The studio largely went about as it always would. It was also impressive how in only two days without any guide interactions, they became even more independent. They have all seemed to rely on the guides less this week as a result.

One of the biggest themes of the last few weeks has been accountability. We have had some really great discussions about freedom, law, self-governance, and what it means to 'hold the line'. Some great strides have been made as a tribe. The eagles discussed this week how it is unfair to rely on a few courageous eagles to hold the line for everyone and be the only tribe members willing to ask for eagle bucks. They unanimously said that they all wanted to share that burden together. This of course all ties into one of the additions to our freedom levels system where learners may be knocked down a level for a week if they were unwilling to ask any fellow travelers for eagle bucks. They also discussed how asking for an eagle buck was an invitation to whoever has crossed one of the studio contract lines to simply rejoin the tribe and be their best self.

In conjunction with this, we introduced another change to make it easier to earn eagle bucks. Instead of just core skills points counting towards eagle bucks (100 points aka 10 stickers = 1 eagle buck), now quest points count as well. I think the improvement in accountability we are seeing is going to really help everyone get the most out of their hero's journey at Aim. 

Going right along with this is yet another change the eagles voted on yesterday. After realizing that multi-tasking and working with distractions is less effective than working in the zone or in flow, the eagles decided to implement silent core skills time for the first 90 minutes of work time every day. They tried the experiment for the first time yesterday and we reflected on it this morning. The consensus was that they had accomplished more without any distractions than practically any other day this year. They also talked about how it helped get rid of what had become a blurry line concerning what constitutes distracting yourself or others during work time. Now it is clear--zero talking will be tolerated. When some eagles expressed how it was hard to do yesterday, several fellow travelers jumped in to point out things like 90 minutes is a small chunk of time relative to the total time at school, it's still much more freedom than any of their previous schools, it can't be 'boring' because they still can work on various engaging badges or read a treasured book, and that the freedom to level up or graduate into middle school on time was more important. 

Another big area of growth recently involves the Council. They have been grappling with some very tough situations. A few in particular including one instance that involved a flurry of five eagle bucks being asked across multiple parties in a flash storm, and another involving the contract promise of being kind. A quick aside--I feel like I have been very fortunate in my life to have had the privilege at various times of working with some truly great leaders, as well as the privilege of going through some highly rated leadership programs. And yet I would say without hesitation that the leadership development occurring within the lives of these young learners is as good, and often better, than anything I have ever seen. I wish that some of the leaders at my other businesses knew what these eagles are learning! They are being forced to make very tough decisions--mostly unaided. And the results are nothing short of incredible. They are literally teaching each other life changing lessons that I'm not sure could be learned in any other way--not from a parent or guide or just about anyone else other than a fellow traveler walking beside them along the path of the hero's journey. And while these experiences are perhaps amplified by being on the Council, they are a far cry from being monopolized by it. Leadership experiences on multiple other committees, running partners, house heros and more teaching similar lessons across the board. 

A few other moments I believe are worth highlighting are:
  • MS/LP learners taking charge of their learning and voting to completely change the structure of their Civilizations badge--unquestionably for the better.
  • A learner-led launch this week asking some very challenging questions such as 'how do you tell the difference between a fact and an opinion?'
  • Writer's Workshop participants diving deeper into ideation, drafting, and editing than ever before.
  • Acts of kindness and service.
  • Eagles coming up with creative solutions to push through intense panic moments.
  • Three birthdays this week--each involving the Aim tradition of exclusively reserving character callouts at the end of the day for the birthday boy or girl :) It is so fun to hear about all of the amazing ways your children are helping each other all the time and how they recognize and acknowledge it.
  • Several learners officially earning their astronomy badge this week! Many more on the way as we head into the last few weeks of the session.
  • Learning real world lessons about voting and elections as the eagles are seeing the consequences of who the studio appointed to each committee.
It is so rewarding to see the progress of the school. The growth collectively and individually is substantial. And you may have heard me say this before, but it is absolutely true--we are literally just beginning to scratch the surface of what is possible. It's going to be amazing to witness as we go!

We are excited to see as many of you as can attend the star party next week.

Till then,

Lance Stewart
Head of School

Hi, I'm Lance Stewart.

I'm the founder and Head of School at Aim Academy.

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