Change Takes Action from Everyone
May 31, 2022
Change Takes Action from Everyone

We recently hosted our second annual EdActive Collective summit to help support a learner-centered, equitable learning environment for all children. With the help of a fantastic list of trailblazing educational and industry leaders, attendees heard from experts on topics that helped to reimagine education models, apply neuroscience to learning, raise youth activists, support leaders through this challenging time, and so much more.

This week on the podcast, I’m sharing some of my own biggest takeaways from the summit and giving you access to all the presentations, even if you didn’t sign up ahead of time.

If we want to change the face of education, we have to keep talking about it and we need to take what we’ve learned and take action. I hope this episode is the catalyst for such action on your part.

Jump in the Conversation:

[1:14] – Commitment to learner-centered models
[1:53] – EdActive Collective to pull together educational trailblazers
[3:44] – Shift in collective from activism to having inspirational speakers keep hopes and dreams alive
[4:21] – Highlights of our summit
[6:47] – Models that tap into resources in the community and business world
[8:21] -We don’t have an updated school system that can apply neuroscience to learning
[9:42] – We need more youth empowerment and youth activism
[11:02] – Relational learning models
[12:15] – Our school leaders need more support and less isolation
[14:16] – We need to look to others to help us unpack diversity
[16:06] – Access the summit presentations for everyone

Links & Resources



Maureen O’Shaughnessy 0:03
Hello fellow parents and educators. Thank you for joining me at Education Evolution, where we are disrupting the status quo in today’s learning models. We talk about present day education, what’s broken, who’s fixing it, and how. I’m Dr. Maureen O’Shaughnessy, your host and founder of education evolution, micro school coalition, and co founder of at active, I consult and train with schools and leaders who are fiercely committed to changing the narrative, reimagining the education landscape, and creating learning that serves all children and prepares them to thrive. If you are new, welcome to the podcast. Please subscribe on our website to get it delivered to your inbox weekly. If you’ve been around a while, have you left a review?

Maureen O’Shaughnessy 1:07
Hello, Education Evolution listeners. I want to share about our EDActive collective summit that we held at the end of April. Many of us are committed to creating an education model that is learner centered, equitable, and contextualized. So that all children thrive on their own terms. This isn’t happening. It seems like we end up isolated working on our own special projects without getting much traction beyond our own little bubble. While we are committed to breaking down silos within our own structures, many of us want more collaboration and synergy. So a group of us created the act of collective to pull together these educational trailblazers and dedicated folks from other fields, who are also committed to a better and more relevant learning and life experience for our youth.

Maureen O’Shaughnessy 2:10
Our collective meets remotely each quarter to support each other and focus on educational activism. It was grueling, but we launched our first free summit last June. It was intergenerational and magic. We had high hopes for taking this activism to the next level this year. But when we returned in September, we saw that the pandemic exhaustion that was all around us, was also impacting us. Personally, I was still recovering from getting COVID At the end of summer, thank goodness I was vaccine boosted or it probably would have been much worse. On top of that, I was navigating all of the questions about how my micro school would balance honoring my students mental health needs by meeting in person and COVID safety. This combination was overloading for all of us. With my schools, teachers and students vaccinated and boosted we felt a little safer than the general population. But even the Washington State has lifted the mask mandate, our team is still masked. So we are still trying to figure out what is the safest and best for our community. And I know my colleagues have been facing similar dilemmas with an equally similar diminished energy level this year.

Maureen O’Shaughnessy 3:39
Oh my goodness, what a crazy ride this has been. So our collective shifted our quarterly meetings, from activism and setting all of these goals to having inspirational speakers keep our hopes and dreams alive, and to using this time to build community. We also move forward with our commitment to offer another free summit of inspirational, educational and Youth Wellness experts. And at the end of April, we held our second annual active collective Summit. I’d like to share some highlights from that day and a half Summit. And I really hope you will go to the at active site listed in the show notes and listen in on some of these amazing and super helpful presentations.

Maureen O’Shaughnessy 4:34
Our day and a half summit was split into three sections, each with five speakers, and then a panel with the speakers answering questions and conversing on key topics. Not only were the speakers sharing information, but they were making new connections and friendships in the process. Each speaker had a 15 minute recorded presentation, and then answered questions live for 15 minutes You’ll enjoy going in and listening to this wide variety of perspectives, connected by a vision of pulling together to create equitable education that works for all youth.

Maureen O’Shaughnessy 5:14
Many of our presentations fell within one of six categories. We learned about one models that tap into resources in the community and business world, to neuroscience applied to wellness and how learning works. Three Youth Activism groups for relational learning models, five, school leader support, and six diversity. Our hoped for summit outcome is that those listening will be encouraged to continue with their innovations, and be inspired by these examples. This rainbow dedicated youth advocates mirror the wide variety of ways each of us can be involved in making a difference in education. Now, all of these resources are available to support you in making a difference. Let me pique your interest. With a little more information on each of these categories speakers. In the shownotes, you’ll have a link to these presentations. You will also have the link to my podcast archives, I’ve been blessed to have been able to interview each of these wonderful presenters on each individual podcast. You will also find contact information for the presenter, books and written and other specific resources to help you dive deeper into educational activism.

Maureen O’Shaughnessy 6:43
Let me go into the categories. One models that tap into resources in the community and business world. The P TECH model has merged business with grades nine through 14. It’s a free public school models that breaks down barriers to college. The founder has been praised by President Obama and the prime minister of France, we would be fortunate to have high schools with this model in every state and country. Education Reimagined is the result of a think tank of diverse educational and business leaders defining what education could and should be. They have a learning lab program to train educators in stretching their vision for schools. I’ve participated in this learning lab and availed myself of many of the resources. I particularly appreciate the lexicon they have developed to be very intentional about the words they use to describe education as it is reimagined.

Maureen O’Shaughnessy 7:46
For example, I talked about personalized learning at my school. But as I started to learn from education reimagine, I learned that it’s not really personalized in the sense that it’s one on one instruction for each student. Education Reimagined, helped me hone my word choice. My school options are contextualized to address the strengths, challenges and interests of each learner. It’s a subtle difference. But these shifts are very important category to neuroscience applied. Sadly, schools have not been able to change the tires on the bus as it’s cruising down the freeway. So while we have a great deal of information on how brains work and what they need, we don’t have updated school systems that readily apply this information. So it was wonderful to hear from those who have studied and applied the neuroscience.

Maureen O’Shaughnessy 8:49
We learn with the with Heart Project about how trauma informed educational training, including screenings at the start of the school year can change how students are served, and meet them where they are. As you change breaks down how learning works. Personally, I found it affirming to understand how much time it truly takes for learning to happen. This is a big argument for less coverage of content, and more deeper, intentional dives into topics. And the expert in hope reminds us of how important it is to feed our souls so we can care for our learners. All of these models tie into neuroscience. Category three Youth Activism. Some of you subscribed to my LinkedIn newsletter. Recently I was able to rave about youth by youth. This international activism group is on fire. It uses the UN sustainability goals. It’s run by youth who are empowering other youth, a component of their program is our ally Ship Model. Youth by youth doesn’t like to use the term mentorship, because that infers that one person is the expert and the other person is being assisted. I’ve joined this ally ship, and meet monthly with a college student activist in Connecticut, I get to understand better the passion and drive of our youth. And I enjoy sharing resources and ideas that I’ve gleaned over the years.

Maureen O’Shaughnessy 10:35
The other Youth Activism group who presented was heirs to our oceans, talk about environmental activism, powered by youth. They lobby the government create documentaries, and have an international summer camp in the Pacific. We need more of this empowerment, to channel the amazing energy and passions of our youth category for relational learning models. I am a huge proponent of flipped learning and use it in my micro school. Flipping from lectures at school and students doing the work at home to sending home a mini lecture in advance. And then coaching students on work in school is a brilliant innovation. So I was pleased to have flipped learning pioneer John Bergman, whose books have guided my teachers and me as a presenter. Both he and the local high school principal from Gibson. were adamant about the importance of competency based and hands on learning. Making sure that each student has mastered the competencies before moving on is a lot of work. But building the foundation before you put up the frame and put on the roof makes good sense. And Gibson is learner driven. Students work on passion projects and internships, and pull the competencies out of this context. My school is aspiring to continue to take steps in this transformational and empowering direction.

Maureen O’Shaughnessy 12:14
Category Five, school leader support too often our principals and other school leaders are working in isolation. I know how lonely that is. I was grateful when I was an international school ahead to have a collective of school heads with whom I could communicate and attend our annual summer boot camp. There’s no reason to go it alone. Better Schools better leaders offers just that kind of support with mastermind groups, podcasts, and other resources. They are so impressive that the Harvard Graduate School of Education has become a sponsor in a very different type of school leaders support a for Arizona has pulled together school leaders from around the state of Arizona. They have brainstormed on key issues and solutions that result, bipartisan support in this present era. That’s amazing bipartisan support to end the traditional seat time law with a flexible learning law in its place. And they’ve also funded alternative transportation measures so that students have access to all models. An innovative grant program has been implemented and has gone through a couple of rounds.

Maureen O’Shaughnessy 13:39
For those that have an idea and need funding to launch or enhance it. I was recently a part of the innovation grant screening committee. It was absolutely impressive. The way schools were looking to creatively address a wide variety of topics from autism, to foster youth to future readiness to holistic learning, to learning within the community, and outdoors and many other topics. This is the kind of support our school leaders deserve as they innovate. And finally, the sixth category diversity. I was grateful to have Steven Cleveland, a black studies professor, unpack what we need to know about educating black students. This is such a vital and timely topic. And many of us, myself included, can feel a bit paralyzed because we don’t want to get it wrong. His advice is to know black history and be informed a helpful reminder and his presentation gives us that history. He also reminds us that we do this in all areas outside of our expertise. He used the example of how he has studied the history of gender. We are born are knowing the background and how to move forward in every area. But it is our responsibility to become informed and take action.

Maureen O’Shaughnessy 15:09
Autism is near and dear to my heart, as the mother of a wonderful daughter with autism and as a school leader with some students who also have this ASD diagnosis. So it was an honor to have Debbie Reber, the author of differently wired raising an exceptional child in a conventional world presented the summit. Her work has evolved into tilt parenting, which offers support strategies, community, and resources for parents raising differently wired children. As you can see from the summaries, which don’t even represent all of our presentations, there is definitely something to support everybody who cares about transforming today’s education experience for our deserving, and underserved youth. You didn’t have to attend the summit to have access to these presentations and resources. I encourage you to pick a few and do a deep dive, let their presentation, be an introduction, and then go to their links and websites and continue to learn this education evolution takes all of us stretching and envisioning a different type of learning, and a future where all learners have their needs met, and are prepared to thrive and serve as adults. As always, thank you for being a part of the education evolution.

Maureen O’Shaughnessy 16:47
If you are you finding yourself thinking, I need to do this in my school. Let’s talk about it. I consult and also have a book TEDx talk an online course to support starting learner driven schools and programs. My goal is to help schools and individuals find new innovative solutions to reaching every student. Let’s create an action plan together. Visit to book a call and let’s get started. Education evolution listeners, you are the ones to ensure we create classrooms where each student is seen, heard, valued and thriving. We need you. Let’s go out and reach every student today. I’d be so grateful if you’d head over to your podcast app to give a great rating and review if you found this episode valuable. Don’t wait. Please do it right now before you forget. I really appreciate it. Thank you listeners. Signing off. This is Maureen O’Shaughnessy, your partner in boldly reimagining education.

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