The Plunge.

The Plunge.

Last night’s dream is causing my heart to race and mind to stir. Let me set the scene.

The people: a small group of educators that included a superintendent, curriculum administrators, and a couple of others including me. The setting: an office at the top of a very tall building on a lake. The topic of discussion: curriculum.

The casualness of the meeting was surprising. We were all standing in a group when I asked about the role of education where students take control of their learning by designing and directing their studies. “How do we validate and verify learning?”

The superintendent responded, “I’m less concerned about validation and verification than I am student engagement.” I looked at her, walked to a large open window, looked at the lake below, and jumped.

As I was fearlessly falling, the lake was crowded with people swimming and playing. I land among them and swim ashore to make my way back to the meeting.  I could not stop thinking about her words: “I’m less concerned with . . . “

My dream ended as I was attempting to find my way back to the meeting through a maze within the building which just coincided with waking up to my wife’s 4:54 a.m. departure to her gym.

The meaning of our dreams can be disputed, but I’ve always had the vision to make a difference in education. The boldness of the cougar that visited my school a month ago, a week later, a whale that swam directly towards my wife and me under our double kayak and resurfaced close by, and a plunge are all significant to me.

It is time to step outside the safely of well-defined curriculum and traditional student experiences.

In December, we will announce new opportunities for students that are grounded in research and built with innovation. Big Picture Schools, IowaBig, Center for Advanced Professional Studies (CAPS. Org), and StartEdUp are amazing, engaging, and will serve as inspirations.

NWLS is a vehicle to deliver educational options to students with the collaboration of the community. Stay tuned.