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Session 1, Week 3: We are certainly on a Hero’s Journey!

September 19, 2020

This is the time of year when we learn which of the anticipated great ideas we had in the summer planning phase have turned out to be a bust. (Please note that most of what I am referring to relates to the D1 – Explore Studios. The Eaglets in the Ignite Studio are doing great.)

And usually around this time of we get the first injury with blood incident, which shows us which first aid supplies we mistakenly missed from the box, and the security alarm goes off a few times to show us the holes in our “leaving checklist.”

That’s okay! This is expected. We had an idea or plan, wanted to try something, did so and with the experience that occurred can adjust the plan to be better moving forward. Please note that the young Eagle to draw first blood was an absolute trooper — she was SO brave!

We’re also learning what the impact of the shutdown was and how our Journey Tracker abilities as a school from last year have affected the Eagles. Each day we are able to see better where each of the Eagles are in their personal journeys and can adjust our plans accordingly.

Right now the part of our system that seems to feel most like, “the wheels have fallen off” is Friday mornings. I’d like to give you a snapshot of fifteen minutes of my Friday morning for some giggles and understanding where you might be able to help us:

-Racing around to find my phone to get a video of Becky playing the harp with the Eagles (that was really awesome!)

-Guide: “Isn’t ___ supposed to be here for launch? Do you know why he isn’t — is he working from home today? Is there a text on the school phone because I didn’t get an email?” -We didn’t hear from anyone so quickly looking at email/ phones to see if any info is there.

-About twenty questions from Eagles which all are replied with: “Remember 3B4G? I am sorry but I don’t answer questions. I’m wondering where you could look on the walls or in Journey Tracker for the answer.”

-Oops! We forgot to play Oh Canada this morning!

-Guide: “Two of the Squad leaders aren’t here — working at home. Who is leading their squads conversations?”

-Squad chats start, (the missing Eagle arrives), trying to ensure those who are onsite started the Zoom calls (they are in four separate rooms so running between those — washing hands profusely) and that those at home are pulled into the calls. Did everyone find the list on the Drive of who is in your Squad?

-Email from parent of a child at home wondering what’s going on regarding Zoom call.

These periods of time are great teachers. They show us where our communication is going well and where it is not. Later in the day we had some lovely emails from Eagles and parents explaining how they will improve their plans for Fridays in the future. We also know where we tend to get good engagement from those at home and where we need to provide specific instructions to keep everyone on track. Those working at home on Fridays are still an important part of our team. Squad, quest, and landing times are critical, particularly when an Eagle is in charge of something. We’ll get there!

I did see some incredibly pivoting though, in one case an Eagle in charge of a particular thing for Quest was unreachable but others stepped up saying, “I know how to get into the program — we can work on this.”

Journey Tracker

I hope to have a video made by the end of this week with information on how to look at Journey Tracker with your child. In the mean time, I am happy to say that all badges and back-end uploads are complete! At this point your D2 & Explore (and maybe D1) Eagle knows how to see which “Challenge bubbles” were created by Guides, what is required, how to sign off on badges already done, and how to see how many points s(he)/they have. They can also see how far along they are in each badge.

We recommend that at the end of each week, parents look at Journey Tracker (JT) with their Eagle — please do not log into JT without your child present — to see how many Challenges were missed and the work that was uploaded.

Our current aim is “Read the instructions.” 

We’ll get to, “Is this your best work?” but right now we are learning that the Eagles (D1-E) are having a tough time independently reading and following instructions. This is a muscle we can certainly help them with and are using techniques like support and encouragement, and the Eagles are aware that their submission and points will be deleted by a Guide if the criteria for completion is not met but they sign off on it anyway. You can ask your Eagle if any submissions are not there because they didn’t work on them or if they got deleted because they were missing a big piece of the requirements.

Pyramid of Intentionality (D2, E)

The Explore Studio started using the Pyramid of Intentionality (POI) this week and the D2 Eagles will be doing a lighter version of this beginning in this coming week, as most of them will be entering the Explore Studio in the year to come.

The following is from our Acton Academy Toolshed:

Middle school Heroes sometimes struggle to transition from a more exploratory elementary studio environment to the more deliberate practices needed to excel in the middle school studio.

The guardrails in the “Pyramid of Intentionality” encourage Heroes to “eat their spinach first” and complete individual Core Skill work before collaborating in areas like Civilization, Servant Leader Badges and Quests.  

If a Hero does not complete a minimum amount of work during the week, he or she must remain out of the studio the following Monday until the deficit is corrected or face a 5 Eagle Buck per day fine.

Detailed Challenge bubbles with more info are in JT. The “minimum amount of work during the week” is in the Freedom Level file in your Parent Folder. >Look into each of the D2 and Explore folders to see the info for a particular Studio. We encourage you to speak with your Explore Eagle about what the POI minimums were this week and if they made those.

Connecting with You

You are really important to us. We’re really not just saying that — without you our school wouldn’t be here and we wouldn’t be enjoying such lovely days with your children.

Please note that if Guides receive emails from parents in the mornings, we look at those in a priority sequence: 1) Who is late/ absent/ leaving for an appointment, and 2) Who has an immediate an urgent need. Any other emails will be addressed later in the day. We apologize that it might be even be the next day before we can get back to you depending if there was blood, sweat, and/ or tears, which has already happened a few times this week. Also, we might actually not reply if we believe that we addressed your question/ concern in another way whether that was through the weekly update or in a resource you have access to like the Family Handbook or Parent Email Group.

Please know that your message was read, valued, and we thought about how you might get what you need. Also please know that we are usually aware of when the “wheels fall off” and if you could please give us a bit of time to show you we fixed things before contacting us, that would be helpful.

We are looking forward to a great, sunny week ahead!