Year 2 Session 1 (9/11/21)

Hi everyone,

Wow, we are already halfway through Session 1! Hard to believe. Time certainly flies when you're growing and having fun :)

The Tribe is really coming together and it is fun to watch. The guides are busy rolling out various systems to help support this process, all while various cultural norms are beginning to emerge as well. This entire process is being underscored by the Rube Goldberg Physics Quest and daily Core Skills time.

Some of the major systems that have been introduced so far this year include:
  • Freedom Levels - this is one of the most fundamental systems at Aim Academy. There are various freedoms that can be earned at the school ranging from being able to listen to music to extra free time to being able to complete work anywhere in the school. The main levers used to earn the freedoms are Core Skills points earned, hard work during Quest time, 360 feedback scores and percentage of SMART goals completed.
  • Speaking of SMART goals...this is something that was introduced this week as well. Eagles are challenged to set at least one daily, weekly, and session long goal that they work towards. 
  • Committees- a plethora of committees have been introduced to fill school needs as they have arisen. Some of the committees that have been created so far are Exhibition Planning Committee, Disputes Committee, Supplies Committee, Quest Support Committee, Games Committee, Timekeeper, Garage Door Keeper, Posters Committee and School Council (which right now is made up of each House Hero). I am sure a few others will be created as the year goes on. These deliver some of the best real world leadership experiences I have ever seen for young learners--by providing opportunities to take on real responsibilities, innovate, and perhaps most importantly, learn from failure.
  • Town Hall - this is a weekly meeting where our learners can bring up anything they want to debate and potentially bring about changes to the school. Some of the items that have already been debated this year include where students are allowed to eat, should sticky notes or markers be used to actually write the town hall items, should eagles be able to change their vote after an official tally has been taken, and should learners be able to listen to an audiobook and read along for points. There is no doubt the learners love being able to propose changes and have a say in their school. 
Our Physics Quest has already offered many challenges for our learners. They have built and raced cars, built rafts aimed at holding the most weight, and explored elasticity through catapults. To earn this badge, learners have to complete a certain number of challenges based on their level (Sparks need to complete 10, MS/LP need to complete 20). Some of the challenges are scaled by level as well, including reflection sheets the learners complete after finishing a challenge that is designed to really help them dive deeper into their learning. 

The Spark studio has been abuzz with creativity and self motivated learning this week! We’ve been diving into all kinds of Montessori lessons, and we set a goal to earn at least 5 stickers a day. They earn stickers by doing new lessons or completing work and challenges within the studio. Every 10 stickers earns them an Eagle buck that can be used at the Eagle buck store. It has also been incredible to see how inspired they’ve been to keep up with the older Eagles during quest time. They are currently excited about building their containers for an egg drop on Monday. We also had a blast at the Leonardo Museum this week exploring what we’ve been learning during quest time as well.

Lastly, I'll end with a lighter note. As everyone knows, guides are not supposed to answer questions. This has led to a game that the eagles have really gotten a kick out of. Each of the guides' names is on a whiteboard where the eagles add tally marks for each question that guide answers. The first guide who reaches five points has to bring in donuts. I regret to say that I am currently in last place with four points :( However, in my defense, they have been coming at me the hardest lol. When someone catches me off guard with a subtle question that I answer without even thinking, the celebration is wild.
Thunderous cheers and applause erupt. The other guides better watch out though because I'm bringing my A-game next week. 

Looking forward to another great week!

Lance Stewart

Hi, I'm Lance Stewart.

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

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