Minnesota in July is especially lovely. While 2Rev was there earlier this summer to work with a large cohort of educators in our partnership with the Bush Foundation, we soaked in the explosions of color and shapes in the Hamline University flowerbeds, where our design institute was hosted. The diversity, energy, and beauty we found outside was mirrored inside, amid the teams of educators working to design individualized models of school in Bush’s new School Design for Individualized Learning initiative.
The goal of Bush’s initiative is to inspire, equip, and connect educators in the Minnesota/Dakotas region who want to reimagine the purpose and structure of school, so that they can, in turn, design individualized education opportunities that meet the abilities, backgrounds, and aspirations of all students. Over the past several months, we have partnered with Bush to make that goal a reality. Here are some highlights!
School Design for Individualized Learning: The Journey
Educators from around Minnesota, the Dakotas, and 23 Native Nation states were invited to participate in designing new individualized learning models. The graphic below illustrates the arc of the journey for participants. The work began with orientations around the region to spread the word and excitement about the promise and potential of individualized learning. From there, educators opted to participate in a series of design sessions. The first focused on the design principles of individualized learning and helped participants build their design thinking muscles. During the second session, teams dove into empathy and storytelling exercises, helping them to identify strengths and barriers inherent in their individualized learning models.
Design Institute & What’s Next
After this months-long design process and sessions, we all came together in mid-July (see flowers above!) for a final convening: a two-day Design Institute where participants refined their individualized learning models, and in Shark Tank-style presented their plans and received critical feedback to get them ready to apply for funding from the Bush Foundation.
It’s truly been a spring and summer of growth and beauty in St. Paul and beyond, colorful surprises and boundless energy. As teams begin to write their applications for funding, we are cheering them on. From what we have seen already, great things are growing in this region. Stay-tuned for more on this work!