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Elliot's Blog 3/9/2018


Today is the day that the Navigating Our Way microsite is launching. Our partner FableVision did stylish and tasteful work constructing the site. If you go there among other things, you will see a link to an article that just came out in The Wall Street Journal about Raelee, a young woman who lives near Pittsburgh with many of the same attributes and interests that Sylvie from Navigating Our Way has. To many this might appear a great coincidence but if you are around our students and others involved in both old and new skilled trades, this is a story line that repeats itself over and over. And, it is not that this story is unique to vocational education, it is just that the recognition of the school world re: what is smart and what is of value to the student and society is skewed away from hand, head and heart work. 

“Raelee was smart from the time she was a baby, from the time she was two nobody could dress her, she was always a leader and she had her own mind,” said Raelee’s mother, Beth Nicholson, a nurse. “I always expected her to go to a four-year college. That was my expectation.”

But when she was 14, Raelee rebuilt a car with her older cousin.

“We worked on it the entire summer and when we got it running it was the best feeling in the world,” she said. “I really like working with my hands.” from WSJ – College or Trade School? It’s A Tough Call for Many Teens


Working design for:

It is our belief and practice supported by data over decades that young people’s interests, with relationships and their personal investment in serious practice are a combination to be reckoned with. Not one or the other but, all combined. Did the guidance counselor in the WSJ article base her decision about Raelee on who Raelee is or on general data or both? Learning through interests, practice and relationships is the type of change we have promoted for all students and it is this meshwork that is part and parcel of the work we are doing with Harbor Freight Fellows and beyond to change CTE.


Elliot Washor,Ed.D.

Co-founder Big Picture Learning