Year 1 Session 1 (9/25/20)

Hello Aim Academy Families,

One week till the Eagles’ first-ever Exhibition of Learning! They have already begun preparations (see below) and are excited to show you what they have been working on during Session 1. 

Accountability. A word that has profound meaning for our own lives and society at large. We have been discussing this word and what it means for our community this week. The Eagles have also been practicing holding themselves and each other accountable.

On Monday, the Eagle Buck system was officially launched. Eagles earn Eagle Bucks through hard work— by earning 100 points during Core Skills time. Students can use Eagle Bucks to purchase various items from the Eagle Buck store. They can save up for a big ticket item, or purchase smaller items more frequently.

Eagle Bucks are also used for accountability. If an Eagle is not upholding one of their promises on the contract— for example, distracting another person or not speaking with kindness, encouragement and truth– another Eagle may ask them for an Eagle Buck. The person then has a choice to make– they can accept their mistake, put an Eagle Buck in the bank and move on, or they can respectfully disagree and appeal to the Disputes Committee.

One way to check in with your Eagle(s) on how the day went is to ask them how many Eagle Bucks they earned and lost. While it’s quite difficult to earn one Eagle buck in a day, it can and has been done.

Over the course of the week, Eagles primarily took Eagle Bucks away for “distracting yourself or others.” There was one instance where an Eagle asked another Eagle for an Eagle Buck for not speaking with encouragement, kindness or truth, however, said Eagle appealed to the Disputes Committee and they decided that they did not owe an Eagle Buck. These events have served as powerful examples of accountability.

The new points verification system was also rolled out this week. Eagles now keep track of their points using a sticker chart on their personal whiteboards. Every time an Eagle earns 10 points, whether by mastering a Khan skill or reading 10 pages, they come to a guide to show proof of their work. Upon doing so, they are awarded a sticker. Every 10 stickers, they earn an Eagle Buck!

The studio also pivoted from Daily Freedom Levels to Weekly Freedom Levels. Our hope is that this will help to further develop time management, goal setting and prioritization within the studio. The Freedom Levels are:

Nesting (40—120 points/week)
- Must follow a pre-set schedule during Core Skills time.
- No extra free time (Note: Every Eagle gets (2) 15 minute Brain Breaks and a 45 minute lunch).

Flying (130—210 points/week for Level 3 and below) (130–250 points/week for Level 4 and above)
- The freedom to choose what they want to work on during Core Skills time.
- 5 extra minutes of free time during their first Brain Break.

Soaring (220+ points/week for Levels 3 and below) (260+ points/week for Levels 4 and above).
- The freedom to choose what they want to work on during Core Skills time.
- 10 extra minutes of free time during their first Brain Break.

The Eagles took to this challenge and there was a noticeable increase in productivity. All Eagles were “Flying” this week, so they were given the freedom to choose what they wanted to do during Core Skills. Next week, there will be 4 Eagles in Nesting, 3 Eagles in Flying and 3 Eagles in Soaring. We anticipate that the additional structure will empower the Nesting Eagles to begin Session 2 in Flying or Soaring!

In keeping with our weekly theme of accountability, an additional layer was introduced to our launches and discussions. Eagles now may gently be asked to leave by the discussion facilitator if they choose to break the Rules of Engagement (raising your hand to speak, listening with your entire body, etc…). (Note: Montessori Eagles are given an extra opportunity to uphold the Rules of Engagement). During this Launch, Eagles were asked a difficult question— whether they would stay or evacuate during an imminent volcanic explosion. If you leave, your house and all your belongings may be looted. If you stay, you may face the wrath of the volcano. With the goalposts constantly changing with each subsequent question asked, the Eagles grappled with this moral dilemma. Yet again, they demonstrated the ability to engage meaningfully while upholding the Rules of Engagement to a T.

Mr. Vaughn introduced the magical game of Quidditch (from Harry Potter!) during P.E. and the Eagles took to it right away. The positions include chasers, beaters, keepers and seekers. It was quite a sight to see! With enough training, the Eagles will soon be flying on broomsticks, scoring points and catching the Golden Snitch.

On Friday, the Eagle Buck store was unveiled! This was really exciting for the Eagles, as they immediately began to develop plans for how they can earn enough Eagle Bucks to purchase their desired item. This was followed up by a discussion of whether it is better to save up for one big item or purchase many small items. Additionally, the Eagles discussed how this process can translate into the real world as they grow older.

Friday also saw Bristlebane House Hero Luke facilitate the studio’s second Town Hall. The issues that were brought up included whether the “Librarian” should be a Studio Maintenance job, how the studio can get better at upholding the promise to “lose with grace,” and whether a half hour of hard work on the LEGO Masterpiece should be bumped down from 10 points to 5 points. Some issues were simply discussed and tabled, for other issues various solutions were proposed and voted on.

Have a great weekend! We will be in touch Monday evening with the preferred time for Friday’s Exhibition of Learning.

Kind regards, 
Mr. Lance and Mr. Daniel

Hi, I'm Lance Stewart.

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

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