The ALC in Everett WA is now inactive. I was invited out to Everett in September 2014 to help start an ALC homeschool cooperative with a few families. After 7 months the families decided that their intentions had changed and our little experiment came to an end.
Which includes the
This website stands as a record for what happened over those seven months. You can keep scrolling to view blog posts that describe how we ran our ALC and what we did over those months.
You’ll notice the menu items Quests, Rules, Duties, and Activities. These are experimental “content types” that take some of our real world structures and attempt to digitize them. If you want to learn more you can contact me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org
Accomplishment in the 21st century world demands the creation of visible, shareable value as evidence of learning.
Without tests or grades it is the blog post that can best visualize learning. In ALC Everett we give students the responsibility to create this evidence of learning through reflective blog posts.
Within our daily cycle the Afternoon Meeting closes the day. It is where we reflect on the intentions set in the morning meeting.
The act of reflection is as important as setting intentions because it allows us to measure our success or failure to achieve what we set out to do so we can adjust our next cycle of intentions.
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
Culture creation is a central focus of Agile Learning Centers. We want to create and hold space that is safe for children to explore their passions.
To create intentional culture we employ a weekly Change Up Meetings to build, update, and remix the culture inside the school by use of the Community Mastery Board.
The group kanban is heavily used by ALC Everett. It’s structure is similar to the personal Kanban but it’s focus is on group projects and tasks. It is functionally a lot like the offerings board in Agile NYC. It takes a central place in the school space and is where we hold our intention setting meetings.
Kanban is a Japanese (看板) word that translates to signboard. At it's core it is a to-do list that limits its user's work in progress (WIP).
The kanban comes in many shapes and sizes and is created by each student to help them track intentions, set goals, and focus on their passions.
Meetings can be a drag. To limit the "process overhead" and help make the implicit process of the meeting explicit we employed a tool called the Game Shifting Board (GSB).
The daily cycle of intention setting starts with the morning meeting. This meeting is one of the few required activities each student agreed to in the ALCE Student Agreement.
Our basic structure is Check-ins, Intention setting, Scrum, Set the day, Share intentions
The Agile Learning environment is based around cycles of setting intentions, play, and reflections. Set the Week is a meeting that determines what goals the group wishes to accomplish throughout the week. Typically these goals require more preparation than daily goals or are time specific, like a field trip.