SEE Our latest video!
Honestly, I was very disappointed at the beginning of this month as two grants that we had applied to in the Spring declined to support our cause. We really thought we had a good chance to be a finalist of the Big Idea Challenge grant (funded by NV-based foundations), after the positive feedback we got when selected as a semi-finalist in May (9 out of over 200 applicants).
I'm very grateful to Laura Watson for helping to create the 1 min video (it's a miracle!) that we submitted for it: youtu.be/V_hdpfowNlU
The other grant, the Yass Prize, was a national challenge that selected 64 first round winners out of more than 500 applicants. Winners were mostly alternative schools and programs that are already operating and looking to expand. Seems we're still too early stage to be considered - but they encouraged us to apply next year.
The HOPE that I have comes from my attending the NV Department of Education's conference last week on the theme of Together: Building Nevada's Future of Education. The intention was to co-create a whole-person Profile of a Learner/Graduate that includes all the personal and professional competencies and attributes for thriving in the 22nd century - which are not accounted for by today's diplomas. These include such hard to measure things such as creativity, collaboration, critical thinking, social-emotional-mental health, digital citizenship, global citizenship, growth mindset, self-direction, and integrity.
I had so many encouraging, inspiring conversations with parent groups, non-profits, teachers, leaders, and legislators who want to see Nevada education truly transform to serve all youth and be an innovation leader in the nation. After I shared my vision for building the bridge to the future through Thrive Labs - with students leading the design - I had students come up to me and ask to be involved! I connected with several other programs interested in collaborating on bridge-building.
From both the disappointing and inspiring conversations, our TOP NEXT STEPS are to
1 - Develop partnerships and collaborations with organizations in Nevada that are more established than us - with institutional experience and successful grant applications and management - for whom we can serve as their innovation arm.
2 - Focus on building and/or partner with a platform provider for our Self-Preneur Game of Life program to quickly enable youth in design and manage their own learning plans, projects, portfolios, career pathway, and coach teams.
To this end, I've updated our communication deck and created the following video to describe our program status and invite participation in these areas:
Please share what you think; what questions do you have? What inspires you about our program and next steps?
Appreciate comments to help hone the message to be as compelling as possible!
And as always, any and all contributions to EIC's development area most gratefully appreciated!
Deep gratitude for your feedback, faith, and support of our grand mission!
Dr. Mary Alber