What follows is the Sterling parent’s reflections on the ALC program which they hosted fall 2014 to spring 2015. This post is part of the Everett ALC Debrief
Jeff and I had the intention of creating a learning community while at the same time supporting the educational requirements for our boys. Prior to the creation of the Everett ALC, we worked for a year practicing and investigating Agile Learning principles.
Through our experience we came to understand that the agile process gives a framework to a more systemic need – that of building community. Our future is dependent on compassionate, sustainable, resilient, thriving communities where each person is acknowledged for the unique being that they are. Each person’s gifts are seen as important to the fabric of the community as a whole.
Starting each day with a circle process in which every participant’s intentions are acknowledged is vital. It is also important for community members to know what others in the community are interested in and working on. People are supported in asking for the assistance they need and are encouraged to offer their support for others. Closing out the day with reflections and ceremony completes the feedback process and sets up the community for the next day.
Although there were many successes with the Everett ALC, including creating a website, learning about web development, practicing permaculture, weaving cedar pouches, telling stories, and frequent park visits, there was a lack of extended community involvement. In retrospect, we believe that having more discussion and coming to community consensus on intentions, guidelines, expectations, commitments, and underlying/overarching goals would have been very useful.
In January of 2015 we became aware of an existing Washington state educational alternative programs called Alternative Learning Experiences. We spoke with Everett ALC members and moved forward with the expectation that partnering with the local ALE (Port Gardner School) would provide a much needed curriculum base, larger learning community, educators and mentors for ALC participants. After two months of the combined ALE / ALC approach we found that there was not sufficient support in the ALC to keep both programs running this year.
In a truly agile fashion, we are moving ahead with the co-creation of a public school / agile program. The ALE communities throughout Washington state offer fertile ground for planting agile learning seeds. We are working with a local ALE school principle to create an integrated curriculum which will be developed by a student / parent / ALC community partnership. We are utilizing the concepts of a curiosume’ which will facilitate a co-creative learning environment for people of all ages.
Lisa and Jeff