Brightworks Head of School: Summer 2016

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Head of SchoolLeadership opportunity San Francisco, California: Summer 2016sfbrightworks.orgHead of School: Summer 20162Fast Facts 2011 65 12 3Opened in September with 19 studentsCurrent number of students (K-12)Mission district San Francisco, CATotal staffsfbrightworks.orgresident dinosaur sculpturessfbrightworks.orgHead of School: Summer 20163Brightworks is a school based on the principle that everything is interesting. We trust that children are naturally motivated learners and partner with them as co-authors of their educational path. The school sets topics for exploration and encourages children to take on projects they are passionate about, while also fostering the development of a multitude of skills. We educate and inspire students in a flexible, mixed-age environment that breaks the traditional walls between school and the community outside the classroom. We offer a learning environment that encourages creative capacity, tenacity, and citizenship. We dont teach this way as a means to improve traditional educational metrics; we believe these qualities are a more important end in themselves.The school has grown and developed significantly in the five years since it was founded. Building on the pedagogical framework of the Brightworks Arc and driven by a vision of engagement-based, child-centric education, Brightworks has attracted global attention as a truly innovative school.The strong collaborative partnership between the schools Founder, who serves as Educational Architect, and the current Head of School is one of the cornerstones of the schools success. Together, they have built a unique learning environment, and we are seeking a new Head of School who will continue that partnership. Over the next few years, the school will expand and acquire larger premises to accommodate growth. The new Head will lead the schools growth and evolution while maintaining the core values and qualities that make Brightworks uniquely valuable.OverviewTL;DR Brightworks is a school that says yes to everything. A school that gives kids both power tools and mental tools to conquer things the world thinks only adults are allowed to do. An extraordinary school. If you are a leader who loves empowering kids with confidence, giving them the ability to create their own futures, and spontaneous group hugs, then Brightworks just may be the place for you.sfbrightworks.orgHead of School: Summer 20164What Brightworks is doing is important, unique, and real. Most schools arent really doing what they say they are doing - you are.- Jeeva Roche PhDDirector, UC Berkeley Global School Projectsfbrightworks.orgHead of School: Summer 20165About Gever Tulley and Tinkering SchoolEleven years ago, Gever Tulley started a sleep-away camp based on a simple idea and a question that he could not answer. The camp was called Tinkering School, and the idea was naively simple: that children can be trusted - with tools and with themselves.The question was a bit more complicated: Where does competence come from? Gever asked this question because competence is a common characteristic in the adults he most admired, and it appeared that schools did not really look at competence. One of Gevers students once asked him what he hoped she would get from coming to Tinkering School and building a sail-powered rail car (which her team sailed nine miles on an abandoned railroad track). He told her that one day he hoped she would be the kind of person he would choose (if you could choose!) to be shipwrecked with - a very competent person who would never give up, never stop trying to survive and could build her own rescue solution. The Tinkering ideal is that we should all be that sort of person - cheerful, tenacious, playful, resourceful, curious, resilient, and competent.It was while working on Tinkering School that Gever conceived of the notion of experience-first education. The idea is that if you design a meaningful and engaging experience, the rest (learning goals, core skills, social and emotional development, and so forth) you get almost for free. Engaged, discovery-based, self-motivated, self-challenging learning happens only when the experience is good. From that point on, the primary research effort at Tinkering School has been to discover and develop ways to reliably create engaging learning experiences.Tinkering School (and perhaps the wooden roller coaster that we built during the very first camp, with 120 feet of track and big enough for students and their parents to ride) excited kids, intrigued parents, and caught the attention of big names in education and engineering. Gevers TED talks have over four million views, his book 50 Dangerous Things (You Should Let Your Children Do) was a best-seller, and NPR calls him The Father of the Tinkering Movement.School Historysfbrightworks.orgHead of School: Summer 20166After seeing so many students eagerly take on seemingly impossible challenges that required them to work 8- to 10-hours per day, Gever began to wonder: since its clearly feasible to create deeply engaging learning experiences, why isnt school the most interesting place in every childs life? This led to the development of the Brightworks Arc - a flexible pedagogical framework - and the founding of Brightworks. The school opened its doors in 2011 in a 9,000-square-foot warehouse in San Francisco. We had a small staff, 19 students ages 6 to 12, and a vision for a different kind of school. In much the same way that Tinkering School was a laboratory, so too is Brightworks, where we are dedicated to developing an engagement-based, experience-first learning environment as a complete education.Now in its fifth year, Brightworks has grown from a dream to a thriving K-12 institution that is widely considered to be one of the most innovative schools in the world. Gever and the Brightworks team have realized the vision of a school that thrives on kids curiosity and ideas and provides a place for them to think big and be a part of a community of learners.The SchoolBrightworks is a school that reimagines education. By taking the best practices from both early childhood education and hands-on, project-based experiential learning, we strive to meet students needs in a flexible, mixed-age environment that breaks the traditional walls between school and the community outside the classroom. We offer a broad-spectrum learning environment designed to encourage creative capacity, tenacity, and citizenship in students from K-12.Using the Brightworks Arc as a framework for deeply engaged learning, children develop the ability to find wonder and delight in the exploration of any topic, to practice working together to turn ideas into reality, and to learn how to communicate what they have done and why all in the context of a diverse community of collaborators, families, volunteers, and supporters.Brightworkssfbrightworks.orgHead of School: Summer 20167The Brightworks ArcThe Arc is the fundamental rhythm of a Brightworks education. Each Arc has a topic; a major theme that is the connective thread of the experience. From Salt to Maps to Fairness to Clocks, the topics are as varied as human experience. With three arcs each year, students move through a diverse course of study in a series of intensive immersions, emphasizing depth over breadth, integrating and contextualizing the development of skills and domain knowledge.The beginning phase of the arc is Exploration, a time to delve into the fundamental questions about a topic what is it? why is it important? and also to expand skill bases and introduce concepts through work with related experts as well as field research, structured games, and practice.In the next phase of the arc, Expression, students go deeper by proposing a project centered around a facet of the arc topic that has caught their intellectual interest. Collaborators and experts support students in project management, documentation, perseverance, collaboration, and specific skills to complete their project.The final phase, Exposition, requires students to explain their work to their community and themselves through written and oral presentations, question sessions, and demonstrations. In doing so, they develop robust and flexible communication skills and integrate their most recent work into their continuing intellectual and social-emotional growth.Scheduled time for reflection and assessment is an essential moment of pause between arcs, intended for students to have time to write/reflect on the process and presentation of their work during the arc. There is also time for collaborators to fully assess each students experience of the arc in a written narrative to be shared with students and parents.Then its time to begin again.Because the basis of a Brightworks education begins with the Arc, we choose topics with great care. Those that work best are simple at first glance; things that even young children could be expected to be sfbrightworks.orgHead of School: Summer 20168familiar with. In proving the school motto Everything is interesting, good arc topics contain multitudes of surprises and fascinating possibilities for project work. A topic works best when it functions as a seed rather than an umbrella when it has facets that reach into many academic disciplines, but when students can start small in their understanding of it and build outward through the phases. An arc topic stimulates curiosity, discovery, and insight when a 5-year-old can grasp it, a 12-year-old can dive into it, and a 15-year-old can push its boundaries outward.Brightworks and The Institute for Applied TinkeringBrightworks is a small school with a big impact - not just on its immediate community, but on the global community of educators. Brightworks was recently called one of the 13 most innovative schools in the world, and is frequently mentioned in articles about the future of education in The New York Times, NPR, The Atlantic, and other national and global publications. Kim Saxe, Director of the Innovation Lab, The Nueva School and lecturer at Stanford University, says, Im drawn to innovators in general, and to innovators in education in particular. Im involved with Brightworks because I feel Gever, Ellen, and their team are pushing the envelope to actively invent and deliver programs that foster the making mindset.Part of what makes this possible is the support of the Institute for Applied Tinkering (IAT). The IAT is a 501(c)(3) and the parent organization of both Brightworks and Tinkering School. The Mission of the IAT is to Explore, develop, and promote new methods for helping children learn using real tools to solve real problems in the real world. This ensures that innovation in education and the open sharing of ideas with other schools and educators are core elements of Brightworks goals and values.Over the coming years we plan to formalize the role that Brightworks and Tinkering School play in the 21st century education space by establishing a small research center as a third project of the IAT. This Center for Engaged Learning will host educational researchers, offer educator trainings, and publish our pedagogy and methods, giving others around the world the necessary information to establish Brightworks-style education programs in their communities. Brightworks will remain the lab school where ideas are tested and demonstrated.sfbrightworks.orgHead of School: Summer 20169The next Head of School will enter a thriving community with many strengths and unique challenges. These include: A pedagogical framework developed by the Founder and current Head of School that has resulted in transformative experiences for students. Our emergent curriculum is always in development, and the pedagogy needs further definition and experimentation. This position needs to work closely with lead and individual collaborators and Gever Tulley on ongoing experiments and implementation of curriculum throughout all bands at the school. A broader mission to influence the national and international conversation about educational reform beyond this one private school community. As such, we need to continue on our bold path toward creating truly unique pedagogy rather than drifting toward the progressive school mainstream. This position is critical in balancing that mission with supporting the journey of families who have taken a significant leap on behalf of their children. A creative, committed community. Our families are brave, thoughtful people who care about the school, the staff, and each other. A student body that is deeply engaged in their education. Our kids care, and they question. The new Head must be committed to fostering an environment where that is more than allowed, where it is welcomed and encouraged. A startup school with an early reputation for education innovation that we need to continue to earn. We are already in the public eye in the educational world; balancing the risks and benefits of that, supporting the many educators who want to visit, and eventually collaborating with a more formalized program to disseminate our curriculum and methods will be important. The school recently secured the current location for 5 more years, including a new expansion space that will be occupied beginning with the 2016-17 school year. To accommodate future growth, the board of directors intends to raise the funds to acquire a building or other location that can serve as a permanent home for both Brightworks and Tinkering School, as well as future educator training and research programs. Brightworks is a K-12 school with fewer than 100 students and a limited budget. Operating a small school with broad ambitions presents opportunities and challenges. Individual staff members, including the Head of School, perform many functions that would generally be the responsibility of a dedicated individual or team in larger schools. The small size helps us stay nimble and spontaneous, which is critical to our pedagogy; but it requires substantial flexibility and resilience from the staff.Opportunities and Challengessfbrightworks.orgHead of School: Summer 201610 Has experience developing, supporting, or implementing emergent or alternative curriculum. Has meaningful past teaching experience in a K-12 classroom environment. Has a nose for talent and is able to attract, mentor, evaluate, support, train and retain exceptional faculty and staff. Ready to lead recruiting and admissions, and alumni and parent engagement, as well as work closely with committees on marketing and outreach, fundraising, and development. Is financially literate and comfortable managing school budgets and related administrative matters. Is a genuine, inspiring communicator and avid listener, who models the values of the school with students, parents, faculty, and staff. Is eager to work in close partnership with the school Founder in innovating, documenting, and spreading child-centric, engagement-based education methods. Is a fearless advocate for the student educational experience. Understands students varied intellectual, developmental, and emotional needs, and is able to coordinate strategies for support with parents, staff, students, and outside services when needed. Brings an entrepreneurial spirit to education. Excited to get hands-on along with our staff and students. Embraces the challenge of leading a truly innovative school that both delivers an exceptional educational experience to students and inspires educators around the world. First-time Heads welcome to apply.Qualifications and Qualities of the next Head of SchoolHow to ApplyPlease submit resume and cover letter to searchcommittee@sfbrightworks.org.Applications will be handled confidentially by the search committee in the initial stages. Brightworks is an equal opportunity employer.Finalists will also be interviewed by a staff panel and a parent panel.Thanks for your time and interest!sfbrightworks.orgHead of School: Summer 201611Brightworks is on the leading edge of fostering creativity in children. Gever and his team are real visionaries in pushing the frontier of human potential.- Sal Khan, Founder and Executive Director of Khan Academy