One of the early driving forces behind ISB Futures Academy was the idea that school should connect students to their passions. Too often students are asked to tailor themselves to the wants and needs of the school in which they are a part, rather than school tailoring itself around the wants and needs of its constituents. What if it was different? What if schools found a way to structure their curriculum around the diversity of its students? What if schools gave students the freedom to explore their passions and knew that by doing so, they would also inevitably reach their own goals?
Facilitating the development of these goals allows schools to supply students with key 21st Century Skills. While we are not certain of the content students will be required to know when they become adults, we are certain of skills they will need. Ignite Weeks help expose students to the following skills circled below:
Like our students moving through the design cycle, we learned much from our early endeavours to incorporate passion project time into our program. In the first two years of Futures Academy, passion project was offered once per six day cycle. However, we found that a few issues arose:
- Students selected projects in their comfort zone as they didn’t have the skill set to enter into new domains
- Students didn’t have easy access to experts for a variety of project types
- Students lost focus and momentum with the passion project time occurring only once a scheduling cycle
Leveraging our flexible schedule, we carved out four weeks of time to launch our latest iteration of passion project time, called Ignite Experience Weeks. Our guiding statement for Ignite is:
Ignite weeks provide a safe and supportive environment that encourage students to take risks and cultivate each student’s L21 capacities through focused and fun personalized learning experiences.
Through these novel and exciting experiences, the aim is to ignite a spark in each student and inspire their passions within and beyond Futures Academy.
Ignite Key Features:
- 3 x One Week “off schedule” experiences throughout the school year
- Cross grade level groupings
- Expertise available in-house during the week from ISB community and beyond
- Each week is constructed around a theme
- Make It – projects focused on creating and building
- Express It – variety of projects centered around music, drama, art, and other communication modes
- Personalize It – individually selected passion projects
Check out our projects website to see examples!