Mission, Vision, Strategy
As noted in our bylaws, our overall mission is to support the operation of Self-Organized Learning Environments. The US registered 501c3 nonprofit Geronimo Education, DBA: “Agile Learning Centers” is also the holder of the ALC educational model as applied to early childhood, ages 8-18, and continuing education.
Kids and a facilitator gathered around a laptop in Romania
We envision a future where the understanding that learning is happening all the time radically redefines education. We are building toward the possibility for every person to practice self-direction, self-expression, and community co-creation as they grow. Finally, we imagine that facilitating reflection and sharing among learning communities will aid them in adapting with our continuously changing world.
By building relationships and connection across learning communities, we increase the accessibility of community wisdom and support for all involved, improving the impact, sustainability, and resilience of all projects. By practicing reflection, adaptation, generosity, trust, care, transparency, and responsibility within our community, we create and practice living in a changed world. Finally, by intentionally crafting infrastructure for increasing collective intelligence, we accelerate all of our abilities to learn, innovate, and adapt.
A group seated around a table in Romania
- continue offering regular support calls
- publish more stories from facilitators and families -- particularly BIPOC folks -- in ALCs around the world to build out the narrative around self-directed education
- change the membership model to increase financial accessibility while streamlining onboarding
- update Starter Kit and Facilitator guide [started]
- update ALF website, gather facilitators from around the world for 2020 Retreat in June
- support an increase in the number of smaller gatherings we co-sponsor to at least 5
- strengthen coherence of network, explore co-budgeting practices, seed working groups, expand the board [3/4 completed]
- compile resources for folks facing legal obstacles to practicing self-directed education [started]
- upgrade resource pages on our websites
- compile decolonization and anti-oppression resources for use at facilitator trainings and workshops
- support continued collaboration between ALCs
- share documentation of experiments expanding ALC projects from serving “school aged” kids to serving more broadly age and interest-mixed communities
Our goals for 2020 focused on gathering facilitators in person to connect and share. We had plans for a summit, small local retreats, exchanges, our usual June - August trainings, and our first ever global facilitator retreat. With restrictions on gatherings and travel introduced to help slow the spread of covid-19, and still in place in many places at the time of this writing, most of those gatherings were cancelled.
Most other major projects got started, but they didn't get completed by year's end as planned due to delayed starts. And we ended up taking on some unplanned projects that were interesting and impactful, even if that meant projects like the website update got pushed back.
For the first few months of the pandemic closing schools and learning centers, facilitators gave each other schedules and login information via the InterALC calendar, so that community members from any ALC could drop into online offerings held by a number of others. The feedback from kids, families, and facilitators on this collaboration was overwhelmingly positive. ALC kids were among the rare few in the world who transitioned to stay-at-home orders and quarantines and found themselves with *more* chances to meet new friends and try new activities.
While it turned out to be too much to plan an online conference while transitioning and running their ALCs for most of the folks who put together large network offerings, we did end up hosting and publishing over 22 hours of webinar content produced in April and May. The webinar series was hosted by folks from PDX Flying Squad, Abrome, Gastonia Freedom School, Heartwood ALC, and ALC-NYC.
In our 2019 Annual Report, we wrote:
Intended long-term Operations: host more international unconferences and facilitator gatherings, support practicing facilitators being able to mentor new facilitators, coordinate and ensure accessibility of ALF/ALC trainings and gatherings, provide more accessible online content, encourage collaboration among ALC communities, increase accessibility of membership, strategize sustainable network maintenance practices, continue increasing transparency, continue translating documentation, update board to broaden represented perspectives, co-create financial plan, and significantly inform the growing global narrative (and practices) around education
Reviewing that declaration and the above checklist of 2020 goals -- also pulled from last year's report -- we're well on our way to finishing the rollover goals from last year, made progress on a number of these long-term intentions, and don't find ourselves with much new to add. The ongoing global situation will impact our plans for in person gatherings and travel, as well as the ability of facilitators to shift attention from fundraising, tracking local health regulations, and generally processing a lot of grief to taking on large, collaborative projects. But as we managed 2020 relying on our adaptability and committment to support each other across the network, we are confident that we can meet whatever 2021 brings by continuing to do just that.