I have participated in some learning workshops with futurist Rex Miller. Sometimes he asks audiences the following question, “Would you rather have a penny that will double its total value each day over thirty days or a million dollars today?”
Like you, I smelled a trick question. On day 27, the perpetuating penny now yields $671,000. And we still have 3 more days to grow. Miller refers to one of Intel’s founders, Gordon Moore, who predicted the power of the microchip in 1965. Nowadays, we refer to Moore’s law that demonstrates when something keeps doubling itself, it will surpass our ability to calculate its future size and capacity.
I see the kingdom of God like that. Jesus says it’s like a mustard seed that blossoms into a huge seed-bearing tree, that in turn, well… you can imagine the mustard tree garden 🙂
I see CBA like this. In December of 2014, I invited three awesome bilingual ladies to teach three mornings per week. They volunteered the first month to teach 7 children so that I could pay them the next month. In January, I was able to pay them $13/hr, and provide them 30 minutes of planning as I conducted preschool PE in the weedy, interior courtyard with a rusted-out swingset. Meanwhile, my pregnant wife and I along with two babies were airb&b-ing our home and living with my parents on many weekends.
Seven years later, we invest 92% of our 1 million dollar budget into 45 amazing people as they seek to do education differently for our 245 students and their families. The school looks exponentially different than it did seven years ago. I look very different. My marriage and family is different (in a wonderful way). I hope your time at CBA has changed you and your family.
As a dad, I envision an education for my children that prepares them for 40 years in the future, not 40 years in the past. I envision an intercultural approach to learning that rattles paradigms. I envision an education that is gloriously centered on seeing the infinite love of Jesus and then fleshed out daily as we do the intentional work of becoming the most loving school on the planet. I envision an education that gets what Miller calls a “Mindshift”. He is on a crusade to humanize” the monstrous American educational machine that currently processes students like statistics. I like how he identifies these motions toward change:
- From Gutenberg to Google
- From tests to mastery
- From content to context
- From memorization to application
- From mind to mindfulness
- From activity checklist to activities with purpose
- From answers to inquiry
- From custodial to engaged
- From taking directions to taking initiative
- From competition to collaboration
- From individual to team player
- From achievement to team player
- Extrinsic motivation to intrinsic motivation
- From college-ready to life-ready
- From lagging indicators to leading indicators
- From fail-safe to safe-fail
- From compliance to agency
- From batched learning to tailored learning
(Miller, R., Latham, B., & Cahill, B. (2016). Humanizing the education machine: How to create schools that turn disengaged kids into inspired learners. John Wiley & Sons. p18).
But we have not arrived. Perhaps we are on “Day 28.” We are over L1,000,000 in our learnings, but the exponential curve is just about to skyrocket.
Marilyn and I are currently working with our team to envision our Research and Development Middle School, and local student internships along with mission trips to a Latin American country.
We invite you into the conversation.
For this to explode, it must be less centralized as we dream and do the hard work of our children’s education as they enter the most unpredictable century in history. How are you thinking about preparing your child for 40 years from now?
As you know, we pack *TWO* days of schooling into every 7-hour elementary day. I doubt there is another school in the state with more concentrated on-task learning (BTW, We are trying to figure out how to not overwhelm parents with homework to reinforce our highly engaged process).
As I have shared in past parent chats, our 1st grade MAP scores last year show that the average CBA students outgrow and outperform their peers in English reading (even though we only do two hours of English a day compared to their peers’ six-hour days), and they outperform the average National math student (as they do it in a second language, Spanish), and to add on the fact they are also highly succeeding in Spanish reading.
As we have toured more schools and reached out to a larger network of strong schools, we have found a common advantage that they have over our school. They provide more time for teachers for Professional Development (PD) and common planning by having a day where either school starts later or finishes earlier each week.
We are also aware that our elementary school day is longer than the average school day (7 hours), so starting next year we will prioritize PD more and dismiss classes on Fridays at 1:45 pm. This additional PD will provide 2 hours of weekly training, as we further prepare for the coming explosive growth and continue to grow our Christ-centered, project-based learning approach, within a Spanish-immersion context (It would be quite specialized if we chose just one of these strategies, and yet we are constantly growing in how to implement all 3 strategies well). Not to mention, I hope many families will hang out on the playground after the early release and continue to develop community!
The school looks exponentially different than it did seven years ago. Lord willing, the school will look exponentially different seven years from now.