Innovation Guiding Principles

+ 1. Learning is founded in inquiry

We believe that learning is a journey inspired by authentic questions. Along the journey of inquiry, learners acquire knowledge, abilities, ways of thinking, and skills that shape them for the next journey. Inquiry can be initiated by facilitators seeking to guide the journey learners towards specific knowledge and skills, or more ideally, originate with the learner. We will foster a culture in which questions are as important as answers, and every learner is challenged/encouraged to inquire.

+ 2. Learning fosters a culture of curiousity and risk taking.

We believe that in order to succeed, we must try first. In the pursuit of understanding, learners must have the opportunity, guidance, and encouragement to take appropriate risks – expanding the limits of what they know and can do, or what might be the status quo. We support risk taking, big and small, for learners of all ages in the process of learning. We actively create a culture where curiosity is valued above rote memorization and failure in the pursuit of understanding is valued above complacency in the process of attainment.

+ 3. Mastery of learning is demonstrated in multiple ways

We believe there are many ways to demonstrate deep understanding, and mastery of skills. Learners develop skills and demonstrate what they know in ways that others can see, understand, and build upon. Learners are challenged to present their understanding verbally, visually, digitally, and by completing projects in multiple mediums. Facilitators of learning and learners themselves will use a variety of tools and measure their skills and understandings in multiple ways.

+ 4. Learning is a social process.

We believe learning requires interaction. When learning takes place in isolation, there is no opportunity for interaction with thoughts of others. By providing opportunities for collaboration, students use the thinking of others to inspire, improve and reflect on their own learning. Learners will seek highly effective collaboration that produces deeper, meaningful learning. We aspire to foster a culture that encourages meaningful interaction, builds communities where all learners feel safe, heard, and valued.

+ 5. Learning is powerful when students create solutions to authentic challenges that impact their local, national, or global community.

We believe the real world is the most relevant context in which to learn. When learners apply their knowledge and skills to challenges that impact the world they live in, they are more likely to be interested in what they are learning. Learning within authentic contexts provides students with a greater sense of purpose to their learning. We design and facilitate academically rigorous learning experiences, projects, case-studies, internships, and service learning that give learners the opportunity to make an impact on their immediate and broader communities.

+ 6. Learning is personalized and learner led

We recognize the importance of learners developing skills and capacities to exercise high levels of self-management, ownership, and accountability over their own learning. We provide learning experiences which emphasize student autonomy, choice, self-assessment, multiple iterations, active exploration, and a variety of learning modalities. Teaching methods emphasize foundation building, structured guidance, facilitation, peer-to-peer teaching and review, connections with community, and other strategies designed to make learning meaningful, relevant, engaging and effective.