Wow! What a week. Session 1 officially in the books! Thank you to everyone who came to the Exhibition of Learning. It was fantastic to see the Eagles take ownership over the planning, practicing and execution of it. Certainly looking forward to seeing how the Exhibitions evolve over time.
This week felt different. In the best way possible. A couple weeks ago, we talked about the concept of flow. Flow, also known as getting in the zone, is when a person performing an activity is feeling fully focused, involved, and enjoyment in the process of the activity.
As we observed— it looked and felt like the Eagles were in flow this week. Not easily distracted. Focused on their work. Coming in early from Brain Break to get back to work. This week several Eagles finished books, aced Spelling City tests and mastered Khan skills. Our Montessori Eagles diligently worked through several islands a day. Here they are counting in unison after completing the Hundred Board together:
This carried over into other areas outside of Core Skills. Eagles, heads down, determined to finish the building they were working on for the LEGO Masterpiece. Both houses designing and planning their House Banners for the Exhibition of Learning. Eagles following the Rules of Engagement to a T during Socratic Discussions. These Heroes mean business.
On Tuesday, the Eagles took their kickball skills from the backyard to the big stage. We walked from the studio to a nearby park where they played on an official diamond. The two houses, Bristlebane and Lockheart, competed bravely. The Eagles have continued to work on their promise to “win with honor and lose with grace.” One way they can now earn points for their houses is by strongly upholding this promise. Over this week— we have seen Eagles congratulate each other on excellent kicks, lockdown defense and deserved wins. We have also seen Eagles check in with each other after tough losses. They continue to grow in this area.
The Eagles claimed their Badge Plans on Wednesday. The Badge Plan outlines their requirements for all four badges we’ve launched thus far— Math, Reading, Spelling and Learning to Be. Next Session we will launch the Writing and Civilizations (i.e. Social Studies that incorporates history, geography, economics and politics) Badges. Once they complete all the requirements on their Badge Plan, whether it is in the middle or at the end of the school year, they will level up. We do not believe that a student needs to wait until the following school year to learn more advanced content if they have proven that they are ready for it.
The Eagles also finalized their Studio Contract on Wednesday. Over the past several weeks, they have been playing the Contract Game to test out different rules for the studio. The true test of a rule is when someone is asked for an Eagle Buck for not upholding that promise. This led the Eagles to discard some rules and keep others. The final promises they decided on include:
I promise to treat the studio like a sacred space
I promise to speak only with kindness, encouragement and truth
I promise to never distract myself or others
I promise to never give up
I promise to win with honor and lose with grace
I promise to be kind and respect my fellow travelers
I promise to be diligent in my work
Thursday saw the Eagles spend a large chunk of their day finishing preparations for the Exhibition of Learning. The banners were completed, the program was designed and they practiced their presentations. Mr. Vaughn, who has come in nearly every Thursday, noted the Eagles’ progress in Studio Maintenance. Not only is the studio getting cleaner, he said, but it is happening more efficiently.
On Friday morning, the Eagles competed in three final House challenges: Countdown, Human-Knot-So-Fast and Chocolate River. Lockheart ended up winning both Human-Knot-So-Fast and Chocolate River, thereby propelling them into first place for the House Cup. In doing so, Lockheart chose to win with honor by commending Bristlebane for their efforts throughout the session. Bristlebane was visibly emotional and distraught at the prospect of losing the House Cup. During an impromptu reflection afterwards, Mr. Lance spoke on value. One’s value is not determined by whether someone wins or loses a competition. Regardless of whether you win or lose, you will still be loved and valued by your family, friends and community. He continued by evoking the Hero’s Journey. He touched on several superheroes: Superman, Wolverine and the Hulk— all of whom had fallen several times along their Hero’s Journey. What mattered wasn’t that they had fallen, but that they ultimately decided to rise back up again and continue. They pursued their calling and changed the world. The studio was so quiet that you could hear a pin drop. Each Eagle was processing and internalizing their own Hero’s Journey. They too will change the world.
The first ever Aim Academy Exhibition of Learning saw the Eagles present on the Aim Systems, unveil their LEGO Masterpiece and demonstrate Core Skills. Following these segments, Bristlebane awarded Lockheart the Aim Academy House Cup. Layna then led the Contract Signing Ceremony. In doing so, they accomplished the final step in the “Build the Community” quest. They are officially a tight knit community governed by agreed upon rules and guidelines.
We are truly going to miss your kids during fall break next week! It has already been more rewarding than we can express to see them stretch and grow so much in such a short period of time— and face new challenges with heroic bravery. So even considering how much fun they have had, and how much they enjoy school, we are confident that this break will provide them a chance to rest and recuperate from a session filled with growth— because we all know growth can be exhausting! We hope that some of you get a chance to travel a little bit as a family and take advantage of the year-round school model that we are lucky enough to have. And we hope you are as proud of them as we are!
Mr. Lance and Mr. Daniel
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Hi, I'm Lance Stewart.
I'm the founder and Head of School at Aim Academy.
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