• Elliot Washor

Elliot Washor's TGIF "Are you with me now?" 03.11.22


Leadership Journeys at SxSW

Going to SxSW gave us an opportunity to put ImBlaze and B-U side by side in the Exhibition Hall. Anthonette, Lauren, David and Lexi introduced loads of attendees to the work of developing real-world learning both in and outside of school. There’s lots of follow-up to do from the people visting our stand. Also, although their workshop presentations were limited by the small attendance at the conference

the feedback from the attendees was really good. Andrew estimated that attendance for SxSW was about 20-30% of what is normal. I thought about 50%. Regardless, the event that was the event of all events at SxSW was Leadership Journeys. Carlos & Co. really took Leadership Journeys to another level. The venue was both serious and playful at the same time, an ideal condition that some would say as being “in the Zone.”



 

Mingling with, Muddling through and Mattering to:

The collective effervescence of the crowd was off the charts and that set the conversational tone around getting stuff done after the event. As I did my mingling a funny phenomenon unfolded. So many people I met online during COVID were actually at Leadership Journeys and we were all surprised to see one another there. But, on the order of surprises perhaps the biggest one was Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona made an appearance and was in no hurry to leave. Usually, we are the ones trying to get time with a Secretary of Education, now a Secretary of Education wanted get time with us. I can’t say enough about Leadership Journeys, the team behind the curtain Chris and Karla and the genius of Carlos to get the backing for it and orchestrate it. If it wasn’t already, it is now certainly in The Wonderful of Innovations of BPL. The informal meetings the conference were all great. Here are a few:

Tom Vander Ark and Rebecca Midles – We will continue to get support from them about our Real-World Learning initiatives, BPLiving, and The International Big Picture Learning Credential.

Bo Stjerne Thomsen, our funder for LEGO met Andrew and Carlos for the first time. We discussed doing a small meeting at ASU-GSV that will take place at the San Diego Met around equity.

Anne Stanton, Andrew, and I meet on the potential of working together in CA focused on real-world learning.

Julie Lammers at ASA met with Andrew and I re: work in CA on real-world learning both in and outside of school

I caught up with Shaun Rubin from The Institute. That was great. Sam Seidel – The D School and the Hip-Hop 2.0 book that just came out. Sara Mounsey and her Supt Tom Venable talking about B-U, BPLiving, and IBPLC

And… Richard Culatta – Richard and I had only “met” on College Unbound Zoom meetings where we are both on the board. It turns out, we ended up being at a LEGO dinner. Richard is the head of ISTE. The next day we met and were able to carve out work around B-Unbound, BPLiving and. The International Big Picture Learning Credential. This was the kind of meeting that showed you really don’t mingle with people online, the way you mingle with the people in the room. What a difference an environment makes!

“If you do not accept others who are different, it does not matter that you have learned calculus.” Shirley Chisholm “Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced.” James Baldwin “Either the United State will destroy ignorance or ignorance will destroy the United States.” W.EB. DuBois

As I continue to do background research on Shirley Chisolm for writing a chapter in a book about her, I have the extra added support of Andrew sending me some of her speeches that his speechwriter uncle collaborated with Shirley on. When you read her speeches it becomes apparent how much she was ahead of her time in her understanding of formal and informal learning, the environment, nutrition, and social justice. Here are some quotes from her speeches. “If you do not accept others who are different, it does not matter that you have learned calculus.” Shirley Chisholm “Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced.” James Baldwin “Either the United State will destroy ignorance or ignorance will destroy the United States.” W.EB. DuBois

 

On Ukraine:

“Being a musician does not free you from being a citizen, from taking responsibility. From being a grown-up. PS, And never, never bring up music and you’re being a musician as an excuse.” This was the response from Igor Levit, a Russian pianist when hearing that now-former Met Opera Sopranist Anna Netrebko refused to repudiate Putin. The world is watching.

 

Big Picture Living Webinar


Odyssey students put on yet another incredible webinar this week for the BPLiving audience on Healthy Relationships and Emotional Self-care. The sophistication of their work and the production value just keeps on growing. Isary and Paul did a great job getting the word out. As the week closes, I’m painfully aware, deeply troubled, and saddened that two of our students have been taken from us in the past several days. I had some quiet time and reflection with Carlos while we were in Austin and I wrote a note to Catie Wolfgang, Executive Director BP Phillie about the loss in their community and this was part of her response to me. “All of us are struggling to figure out how to both grieve and act.” ‘Nuff said.


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Elliot Washor

Co-Founder of Big Picture Learning

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