What are the best ways of keeping each other accountable? Week 31 in review


We’re excited to share good news about our Middle School Medical Quest!

The Atlanta Center for Medical Research has agreed to be the recipients of our medical funding pitches of our middle schoolers and choose the top three most compelling pitches.

360 Feedback Update

In the middle school this week, heroes gave teammates feedback on their Quest participation. This was also a great opportunity to look at the Studio-wide feedback that heroes gave each other at the end of last session on how Tough-Minded (their ability to keep high standards and hold the Studio to the Contract) and Warm-Hearted (their ability to be welcoming and compassionate) they were perceived to be by their peers. Feedback was shared with heroes via email. This weekend our parents and learners are pulling up those emails and discussing the feedback.

Similarly, at the end of every elementary session, heroes spend a day reflecting on the successes and challenges of the previous few weeks. They complete surveys that prompt them to reflect on their own work, the work of their studio mates, and the overall health of the Studio. These surveys are sent to Guides, who extract the feedback and email heroes individual reports. As we’re nearing the end of session 6, we’ve invited parents to review these feedback emails with their heroes (our term for learners), have conversations at home about how their hero hopes to end the year, brainstorm the steps it will take to get there together, identify obstacles that might be along the way, and discuss how their hero might overcome them.

Elementary Update

As the end of the year approaches and heroes are completing badge work, Guides have needed to take a closer look at what are the best motivators for the Studio. Is it the internal drive of a hero that pushes him or her to complete those last steps with excellence, or is it an external incentive—the hope of a tangible reward?  

Be it an ice cream sundae party for the house who wins the most house points for a session or a Chick-Fil-A card for the hero who completes the highest percentage in Khan during one block of Core Skills, the Elementary Studio heroes fall into the camp of external motivation. 

Enter the Session 6 Reading Challenge!

Each house has been challenged with reading the most pages of a badge book via a “color by numbers” chart posted in the Studio. The house to complete their poster first wins an uninterrupted block of free time on the last Friday of the session. (Free time is the most valued form of currency at The Forest School!) Just this week, houses have read over 160 pages each, in addition to the completion of over 20 badges earned Studio wide. With the right motivation in place, heroes have seen just what they’re capable of—and it’s more than they thought possible.

Middle School Update

It's been about eight months since our heroes sat around a fire at Camp Southern Ground and, in a solemn ceremony, signed their names to a Studio Contract they helped create. Since then, they've been doing the hard work of living into the promises they made to each other. Of course, they've fallen short many times.

What are the best ways of keeping each other accountable?

For much of the year, they've used a Buck system (earning Bucks through hard work, losing them through breaking the contract). This week, they've taken the Buck system off the table. The goal was to spend less time in petty disputes and to prioritize person-to-person feedback.

At Town Hall today, heroes voted to reinstate the Buck system next week, but with some changes. Monday morning, they are going to decide what those changes will be. The goal is to strive toward a system that is clear, fair, and effective.

And so the experiment continues.

Tyler Thigpen