Your Soul Food Friday for the Week of Leap Day of Leap Year 2016: The Search for the NEW Americas – Are YOU ready to make the Leap?

Happy Soul Food Friday!

The Search for the NEW Americas:

 baby and dog

This week:

  1. Your Invitation to Catalyze A Leap into Education 2016:

Building Great People & Communities Wired to Thrive in the 21st Century Innovation/Imagination Economy all with the Student at the Epicenter

See if you recognize any of the names and please join the more than 70 of us who are already on board…

  1. How We Teach Grit to Those We Love:

Which Family Narrative Best Reflects Yours?

  1. Cutest Dog Sitters Ever:

Life Really Doesn’t Get Any Better…

Your Invitation to Catalyze A Leap into Education 2016:

Building Great People & Communities Wired to Thrive in the 21st Century Innovation/Imagination Economy all with the Student at the Epicenter

Dear Advocates & Change Makers in Education,

I know this is a tad long but if it wasn’t for your inspiration and impact, it would be shorter!

On this thread are students, parents, teachers, administrators, business, nonprofit and civic leaders, social entrepreneurs, philanthropists, change agents, civic activists, bestselling authors, national & international subject matter experts, career development specialists, CEOs of major corporations, esteemed volunteers and more.

Like many of you, I have been blessed to focus on critical issues in education for decades.

From my unique vantage point, whether teaching at UC San Diego for 35 years, or on the ESA board moving the needle on early childhood education and systems change, or working with the Community Alliance for Youth Success (CAYS) ensuring all kids that are part of the Oceanside Promise are college and career ready, or helping with the Real World Scholars board, introducing real world experiential learning to students across the world, or as part of Parenting 2.0, the largest life skills focused parenting site on Linked-In, or working as a thought partner with several local K-12 school districts, or serving on the UCSD Alumni Board, with USD’s Character Development team or SDSU’s Improving Futures Fund and advancing the mission of higher education, or funding education through the Mission Fed Community Foundation and supporting SD Grantmakers– all allows me to connect with so many of you doing incredible work in the education space!

What we do have in common is that we care deeply for and invest our discretionary energy in all matters of education ranging from; the wisdom traditions of 2,500 years ago to neuroscience from 25 milliseconds ago, in the education of business & the business of education, in academic achievement as well as whole person education.

If this resonates for you please read on, champion this leap within your educational ecosystem, and if you are inspired at the end, please sign on by emailing me at: nevilleb@missionfed.com

Four years ago in the last leap year, I was privileged along with Superintendents from some of San Diego’s largest and most innovative school districts and their teams, Steve Farber, local author and speaker, educators from around the country that read his bestseller The Radical LEAP and got turned on to it like Glen Warren, Orange County Teacher of the Year, along with a lot of help from our friends in the business and educational community to connect 880 parents, educators and civic leaders along with a few stellar student exemplars on the USS Midway aircraft carrier in San Diego to Re-Energize Education.

This past week I was deeply inspired at an Education Change-makers talk by Nobel Laureate Dr. James Heckman and Venture Capitalist and Philanthropist JB Pritzker on the critical importance of early childhood education.

Whatever your focus from P-3 to Higher Ed, I am sure we all agree it is about putting the student first and giving them voice and choice in creating their destiny.

Today on this week of leap day in the leap year, let’s not squander the moment.

With your help we would like to use 2016 to spark another LEAP in education!

A lot has changed in 4 years…

Budgets and Morale are on the rise.

San Diego has risen in prominence with disproportionate representation and positive deviancy (bright sparks) in many local, state and national initiatives including The League of Innovative Schools as just one illustrative example.

Digital access and equity have become more important than ever. The literature has transformed educators to see themselves as equity designers as we usher in the new era of Every Child Succeeding and being College, Career and Life ready with Career Pathways, Linked-Learning and Real World Scholarship.

Powerful new findings like the Heckman Curve from Nobel Laureate Dr. James Heckman have made a potent and convincing case for early childhood education AND care, resulting in massive returns on investment and community compound interest that can eliminate the achievement gap by not having one in the first place!

Further, the old divides of education and business are collapsing, as educators know they need to produce a workforce that can be fulfilled & successful, and businesses know they must have a voice and viewpoint in ensuring they can grow their enterprise with all the necessary talent for the years ahead, from our institutions of higher learning and higher yearning.

Last but certainly not least, the San Diego educational ecosystem, thanks to national and international support is more robust and connected than ever before, with a renewed recognition that the only way long term systemic change will take root and stick is via a “place-based, whole person, wrap-around, cross-sector, preventative, networked, systemic, human-centered, collective impact model- all with the student at the epicenter”.

But all is not rosy…

 The Systemic Challenge in Education We Absolutely Must Address:

By most measures, when it comes to education, we are simply not living up to our potential.

We seem to have lost our way in this proverbial and sometimes misguided “race to the top”.

To the top of what exactly are we heading?

To the top score for inequality; boasting the biggest divide between the haves and have nots in human history?

Maybe to the top of the leader board of negative business consequences, with leaders and captains of industry willing to make unethical and value-extractive decisions in the name of the profit motive and self-interest?

Or to the top of the heap with the largest number of people experiencing loneliness, alienation & depression, psycho-socially ill-equipped to thrive in a global economy?

Did we get the facts and figures right but miss the real lesson?

Has education failed us?

Have we failed ourselves?

The “knowing doing gap” leaves many kids ill-equipped to thrive in today’s society.

Many students are simply not provided with the conditions to discover, follow, and integrate their passions during school and build world changing social enterprises.

Today’s complex problems will require the very best of us and we need now more than ever to honor, listen to, and partner with the young bright minds in this solution.

If we want self-reliance and self-efficacy, it is essential that we partner with all of our students, no matter how young!

So how do we really give today’s students the experience to be successful and fulfilled?

While opinions on how to address critical questions in education vary, unlike other social challenges, education is not a polarizing issue.

Everyone is in support of it- both for the young people- and by extension to build a competitive workforce ready for the 21st century innovation/imagination economy.

Yet, we continue to ask them “What do you want to be?” instead of “Who ARE you and want to YOU want to learn?”

The Data-Driven 21st Century Response:

Our smart impact investment of time, talent and treasure in whole person education represents the greatest opportunity to prepare for a future that has not been invented yet.

Today’s educational design has moved away from the factory worker model, with bells to announce shifts and one size fits all instructional methods of the industrial age to real world scholarship, experiential learning, behavioral economics, career pathways, information literacy & linked-learning so every child can be college or career ready and fill the ever widening workforce pipeline.

Advocacy and a collective impact education engagement strategy that animates all the stakeholders- widening the tent beyond just educators or parents to business and civic leaders with a vested interested in seeding the workforce of tomorrow today- can provide an important differentiator for thought leaders who recognizes the power and promise this focus can bring to their region, state, the nation and the planet.

The root of the word education is ‘educare’; to look at things from diverse points of view.

It is time to leap forward and catalyze the education and care revolution, raising all kids as if they are our own.

The road to success is always under construction…

This time around, we envision a different orientation and framework, that would intentionally foreground the students, highlight life skills not just academic skills- namely competence AND character- to expand the opportunity set beyond K-12 including the community colleges and local universities, thought partners in philanthropy and civic engagement, all with political air cover providing constancy of purpose and funding.

This must be done with high levels of personalization and a regional/community focus- directed by student passion, organizational priorities and stakeholder purpose.

This time, it cannot be just about academic/traditional education, but about educating the whole-person. This time, while we are foregrounding students, it is not just about students, it is about all of us.

It is hard to raise a kid, but it is equally hard to raise a parent!

Life-long learning is not optional anymore; it is part of the mandatory curriculum in Life Skills 101.

Building on Leap Principles in the Leap Year, here is a framework for consideration courtesy of some rich conversations with Glen Warren and so many of you committed to this work:

“What Matters to You Matters!”

Extreme Leadership for Students in Education

The Current State (Considered a Best Practice)

The teacher is the lead learner, we are all learners!

Learning is what we are about!  (Love is optional)

Our Desired State (A Radical Re-Imagination of What is Possible and might be considered a Best Principle)

“Doing what you love, in the service of those who love what you do!”   

Learning and loving is what we are all about!  (Love is intentionally Included with the learning)

Let’s be honest…

In the current state, what the student loves may or may not be integrated into their learning process.  What the student loves is at best optional.

This is because the student interests are so varied and often changing that schools just can’t keep up or be expected to accommodate or integrate an infinite set of interest variables!

But this thinking is making school less relevant and engaging, not to mention dishonoring the student as our educational partner!

If are genuinely student-centered, then students must have a voice in the choice!  

We want student to do what they love (learning anything, and integrating everything) in the service of those who love what they do (parents & teachers) for a lifetime.

This mindset should not start after their school experience but during it, or even better, because of it!

Connecting the divergent passions, interests, and skills with the required content and learning at school will equip students with a creative capacity that could be world changing and ensure that schools genuinely honor divergent thinking and imaginative expression.

Our Turning the Tables Emphasis in a Leap Year

firstsecond

The Search for the NEW Americas:

This search will ask from us an openness to explore the UNKNOWN, and can only be discovered by constant input from the student about his/her area(s) interest, concern, entertainment, amusement, talents, etc.…

(Is this information included in the “data” that “drives” instruction?)

The desired state would build a new ecosystem, fully equipped to integrate this NEW CONTENT (and new data) into all aspects of the required learning at school and make it count for something.

With your help, we will set a place for the desired learning at the educational table!

 Extreme Leadership:

As we know, position is no longer the basis for leadership, but it is the quality of ideas, thought, questions, and contributions that really matters.  Leadership is not a position, it is a decision.

We must make it possible for all students, no matter how young to have a seat at the leadership table on most if not all decisions.   You are either AT the table, or ON the table…

According to an old Irish legend, or possibly history, St Brigid struck a deal with St Patrick to allow women to propose to men – and not just the other way around – every four years. This is believed to have been introduced to balance the traditional roles of men and women in a similar way to how the leap day balances the calendar.”

Today, Convention is in need of an Intervention and this could be our finest hour as we strive to make this NOT just “America’s Finest City” but “America’s Kindest Region”

Our aspiration is that this could be something we model and mentor for the whole USA and beyond…

Are you in?

If yes, please share this with your network and email me back at nevilleb@missionfed.com

We will compile a list of all interested individuals and groups and what we collectively bring to the table to gauge our depth, breadth and bench strength.

Then we will pick a date probably in the Fall from which we can work back, between now and then to reverse engineer Leap into Education 2016 Day and share our passion, purpose and pursuit of educational excellence.

As your purpose connector, I will help to create the conditions for our success but have no delusions of driving this thing.

Our participation can and will come in many flavors, but let’s simply start today by aligning our intention and energy and making a commitment to leap forward in education together by putting students first!

What matters to you matters and guess what? It is the same for our kids…

Let’s not waste this leap day.

No one of us can do it all, but all of us can do something meaningful to advance this mission.

Thanks for all YOU do to make our community better, more vibrant, filled with peace, love and equal opportunity for all!

Love,

Neville and countless others whose ideas and energy inspired this e-missive.

The following people are already on board to create a Leap for Education 2016. Do join us!

Glen Warren, Ken Druck, Tad Parzen, Alan Daly, Steve Farber, Ralf Swenson, Sandra Timmons, David Lynn, Norm Hapke, Jason Partin, Marlaine Cover, Marcy Morrison, Luisa Csathy, John Cahalin, Larry Kesslin, Dan Meader, Devin Vodicka, Judy McDonald, Naila Chowdhury, Bobbi DePorter, Helice “Sparky” Bridges, Laura Kohn, Peter Zahn, David Miyashiro, Alan Sorkin, Sue Simone, Alex Mazloom, Brenda Hall, Moshe Engelberg, Michael Lurie, Jill Vinson, Sara Schairer, Jeanie Luckey, John Lincoln, Robert MacPhee, Ed Ecker, Leslie Fausset, Ann Lineback, Manuelita Brown, Shimi Kang, Elisa Lurkis, Karen Moawad,  John St. James, Dan Engel, Drew Schlosberg, Gary Knight, Dale Ganzow, Starla Lewis, Will Marre, Nate Howard, Paula Thomas, David Sawicki, Edwin Valderrama, Dennis Doyle, Jaime Romo, MJ Schumann, Charles Bergan, Jeff Grantham, Scott Bechter-Levin, Judith Lukomski, Greg Betts, Karen Henken, Parker Harris, Parker Pike, Stan Sewitch, Leora Langs, Christopher Yanov, Jill McManigal, Ricardo Rao, Steven Snyder, Erika Daniels, Eric Kaufmann, Cheryl Harrison, & Christine Paik

If I left you out, I sincerely apologize in advance as this list has grown massively in the last couple of days thanks to your energy & support…

How We Teach Grit to Those We Love:

grandparents

WHAT IF…your family narrative defines who you are?

RESEARCH SAYS: Psychologists have found that every family has one of three unifying narratives:

  • The ascending family narrative: “When we came to this country, we had nothing. Our family worked. Your grandfather went to high school. Your father went to college. And now you…”
  • The descending narrative: “We used to have it all. Then we lost everything.”
  • The oscillating family narrative: “We’ve had ups and downs in our family. We built a family business. Your mother was on the board of the hospital. But we also had setbacks. We had a house burn down. Your father lost a job. But no matter what happened, we always stuck together as a family.”

The healthiest narrative is the oscillating narrative because it shows a family’s positive moments and its ability to bounce back from the difficult ones.  It’s called grit.

TRY THIS:  What is your family narrative?  Create the time to pass it on this week.  Get into a conversation with your children, niece, nephew, cousin.

Share your results on our Facebook page.

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Our Last Tip:
Give Children a History

Click to see all our tips

Read Will’s latest leadership/career blog post – Liking my post on LinkedIn is appreciated:  What If Smart People Ruled the World?

Life Really Doesn’t Get Any Better…

Cutest Dog Sitters Ever

Thanks this week go to Will M, Larry H, Glen Warren, Ken Druck, Tad Parzen, Alan Daly, Steve Farber, Ralf Swenson, Sandra Timmons, David Lynn, Norm Hapke, Jason Partin, Marlaine Cover, Marcy Morrison, Luisa Csathy, John Cahalin, Larry Kesslin, Dan Meader, Devin Vodicka, Judy McDonald, Naila Chowdhury, Bobbi DePorter, Helice “Sparky” Bridges, Laura Kohn, Peter Zahn, David Miyashiro, Alan Sorkin, Sue Simone, Alex Mazloom, Brenda Hall, Moshe Engelberg, Michael Lurie, Jill Vinson, Sara Schairer, Jeanie Luckey, John Lincoln, Robert MacPhee, Ed Ecker, Leslie Fausset, Ann Lineback, Manuelita Brown, Shimi Kang, Elisa Lurkis, Karen Moawad,  John St. James, Dan Engel, Drew Schlosberg, Gary Knight, Dale Ganzow, Starla Lewis, Will Marre, Nate Howard, Paula Thomas, David Sawicki, Edwin Valderrama, Dennis Doyle, Jaime Romo, MJ Schumann, Charles Bergan, Jeff Grantham, Scott Bechter-Levin, Judith Lukomski, Greg Betts, Karen Henken, Parker Harris, Parker Pike, Stan Sewitch, Leora Langs, Christopher Yanov, Jill McManigal, Ricardo Rao, Steven Snyder, Erika Daniels, Eric Kaufmann, Cheryl Harrison, Christine Paik and every single one of you already or soon to be committed to education, positively changing the future and believing in each other!

Pay it Forward

Love,

Neville

“The greatest threat to our planet is the belief that someone else will save it.”

“The second greatest threat to our planet is our erroneous belief that we can’t believe in each other!”

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