Week 12 in Review: Another Week, Another Milestone


The penultimate week of our first ever Session 2 is in the books.

Big thanks to Delia, Mary Faith, Jaquaye, Eric, Michael, and multiple others for giving solid feedback to our learners afternoon on their impending Market Quest presentations.


Additionally, this week one of our co-founders—Tyler Thigpen—spoke in Finland about one of HundrED’s most inspiring innovations of 2019.

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Our next Public Exhibition is Thursday, November 15, from 4:45-6:15pm. In groups, our heroes will be presenting their recommendations to leaders of Pinewood Forest.

Spots for the December 1 Children's Business Fair are now very limited. If interested, your learner can apply here.

Middle School Update:

Another week, another milestone.

Middle School Heroes have been hungry for leadership. Up until now, running the Studio has largely been a shared responsibility: Heroes have taken turns leading Town Hall meetings, serving as "cops" to enforce the contract, volunteering to help resolve conflicts, and stepping up to lead when necessary. This type of Studio structure has had its ups and downs, and learners were quick to point out its shortcomings.

It was decided that now is the time for a Studio Council, a leadership committee that will be elected every session to make decisions, arbitrate disagreements, and, ultimately, uphold the Studio Contract all of the Heroes signed at the beginning of the year.

Heroes were nominated. Campaigns were waged. Alliances and parties were formed. Speeches were given. Ballots were cast.

The new Council was sworn in yesterday, promising to uphold the contract, lead by example, and honor the voices of all Heroes.

As the learners take on more and more leadership, the Guides continue to step back. We continue to hold up our end of the deal: to provide a safe learning environment; to hold up a mirror to Heroes on the state of the Studio; and to create engaging Quests, challenges, and launches that inspire Heroes to pursue excellence. But an important baton of leadership has been passed to the Heroes themselves. What does this next stage of self-governance look like? We will see.

Elementary Update:

In Brene Brown’s TED Talk, The Power of Vulnerability, Brene says “Our job  [as parents, educators, caregivers, etc] is to say: ‘You know what? You’re imperfect and you’re wired for struggle—but you are worthy of love and belonging.’ That’s our job. Show me a generation of kids raised like that and we’ll end the problems, I think, that we see today.”

What about kids who attend a school wired this way? A school that embraces struggle for its learners, while providing a space of love and belonging? That’s the challenge the Elementary Guides embraced this week. As mothers, it’s instinctual to jump in, rescue, and interfere when heroes are struggling. Whether that struggle is relational or academic, we want to protect young minds and hearts from discomfort. Fully committed to the belief that growth occurs in the struggle, Amber and Lisa decided the best way to quit “saving” the heroes was to step back almost completely. Would the Studio collapse into Lord of the Flies chaos? Would heroes rise up and take the lead? Could the Guides stay removed (with the exception of preventing danger of course) no matter what?

Thursday morning’s launch set the guardrails for the “Day Without Guides”. Lisa explained that the heroes would be responsible for the entire day’s events—how and when they followed the schedule, upheld their contract, respected each other, and lived in civil community would determine their readiness for complete independence from the guides moving forward. The day was theirs to do with what they pleased and saw fit.

The response was ineffable. The standard of excellence bar was set high, and leaders rose to the challenge of holding their friends accountable. Core Skills time was silent, with some learners cranking out more work in two hours than their combined efforts for the previous three days. The schedule was meticulously followed; lunch was shared collectively and with joy; launches were delivered on time and with fervor; warnings were handed out with respectful kindness. It was a day like no other in the Elementary Studio. Currently, the heroes are creating plans for moving forward with an expanded level of freedom and an intensity and intentionality of work that feels good and honorable. In just seven hours, 16 young heroes proved Brene Brown’s 10-year research accurate. We are imperfect and wired for struggle, but we are worthy of love and belonging. 

It’s why we chose to begin our Hero’s Journey at The Forest School.

Stay warm and enjoy your weekend!

banner image via

Tyler Thigpen