Brilliant Hero or Lucky Fool? (Year 1, Week 4)

Heroes Academy
6 min readNov 27, 2017

There are a few big happenings in the studio this week. The heroes are discovering:

  1. they have the power to make changes in the studio.
  2. they are free to make choices.
  3. the choices they make have real consequences.

The week kicked off with an inspiring video of Brook Raboutou, an 11-year old rock climber who is shattering world records. We rated her goal of reaching the top of her most recent climb to see if the goal was SMART. After some discussion, the heroes came to the consensus that the goal rated high for all 5 categories:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Achievable
  • Relevant
  • Tough

This helped reinforce the importance of daily SMART goals to help get into flow during Core Skills time.

All Aboard!

To break up the core skills sprints during the day, the heroes faced a team-building duct tape challenge called “All Aboard”. The goal of the challenge is to get all heroes inside a small square that is marked out on the floor with masking tape. The difficult part is no part of your body can touch the floor outside the square.

After facing many tests of patience, perseverance, and strategy (and many failed attempts), the heroes finally completed the challenge successfully!

ITBS Test

Tuesday’s schedule was a bit different as the heroes all took the IOWA Test of Basic Skills. This test is used as a benchmark of sorts to see how heroes compare, over time, against themselves and others. Neither the heroes nor the guides found this to be very enjoyable…

This led to an interesting discussion about what type of school the heroes wanted to be a part of: Did they want to part of a school where enforced standardized testing (and testing in general) was the norm? Or did they want to be part of a school in which they were responsible for their own learning and encouraged to find their calling and change the world. They all agreed on the latter!

Heroes Journey Map Project

On Wednesday a new challenge was launched to the heroes. As part of making the studio their own, they will be responsible for creating artwork to depict the Hero’s Journey on one of the studio walls. Each hero is creating piece of art based on one of the stages in the hero’s journey. They were all very excited about the prospect of decorating one of the walls!

Failure: A Requirement for Learning?

Another key discussion this week put the heroes in the shoes of Elon Musk, an entrepreneur spending millions of dollars trying to get a rocket to land safely back to earth. The heroes had to decide if they would keep trying, possibly losing billions of investor dollars, or quit.

This lead to a difficult question:

Is failure a requirement for success? In other words, could there have been someone better who would have succeeded the first time, or would anyone who tried have to fail first?

They then watched the successful launch and landing of the Falcon 9 rocket. They were left with a difficult question:

Was Elon Musk a brilliant hero, or a lucky fool?

Being a Good Neighbor

Tuesday starting out with a new piece of equipment in the studio — a Yacker Tracker. After a day of figuring out what it does (and setting it off over 100 times), the next morning’s launch challenged the heroes with this question:

What does it mean to be a good neighbor?

Does it mean not hurting your neighbor, or does it mean helping your neighbor?

We were posed with a dilemma of moving to a new house and having a neighbor ruin something important to you. When the neighbor’s yard was being damaged by a stray dog, do you choose to help your unfriendly neighbor?

They then discussed a goal for the day to try and limit the number of times they disturbed the neighbors, measured by how any times the yacker tracker went into red. They decided on a goal of 20 times.

By the end of the day, the heroes were unsuccessful in remaining under 20 warnings. When asked what a good neighbor would do, they determined they wanted to visit the neighbors and apologize for the noise level. The surrounding businesses were very appreciative and the heroes experienced a real-world consequence of being a poor neighbor.

After talking with the neighbors, they decided that a better goal would be 7, because disturbing the neighbors was a big deal. They also decided they wouldn’t want to do it again because it would be really embarrassing to go a second time…

…which happened the next day when they hit 9 (lots of progress, but not reaching their goal). They decided again to apologize (this time with two volunteers), and both agreed it was a bit more embarrassing. They all are a bit more committed to being a good neighbor.

Another interesting development this week in the studio was the forming of a small group to try and bring change to how the daily studio maintenance time is running. A number of leaders in the studio have become frustrated by others who are not performing their daily studio maintenance tasks, which has imposed on their free time.

[Town Hall meeting request and signatures of parties in agreement]

[Xaria raising Studio Maintenance issue in Friday’s town hall meeting]

Turns out they all agreed on the changes anyways, and the studio maintenance system now has more personal accountability and stronger consequences.

Parent Night

The final highlight of the week was parent’s meeting together and discussing a few key questions:

What motivates you as a parent?

What long-term outcomes can you control as a parent?

What type of boundaries do you set?

A few key points parents made were that good character matters deeply, and that children will have to make choices on their own, whether now or in the future.

This opened the discussion to freedom levels and choice inside the studio, and why guides are so focused on freedom of choice, and letting the consequences of choices be the teacher.

It’s a lot of change for both heroes and parents as we embark on this new journey, but the families that are with us are some of the best. We’re grateful for their courage and input as Heroes Academy moves forward on a mission to change the world.

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Heroes Academy

Elementary blog for Heroes Academy, an innovative school in Boise, Idaho. We inspire children to find a calling and change the world → http://heroesacademy.org