High schools aren’t living up to what we all know they can be. Too many students drop out. Even more are disengaged daily. And the current thinking–to blame more teachers, impose more rules, and inject more money–just isn’t working.
At The Future Project, we see the problem simply: Our students aren’t pursuing their dreams. We’re out to turn high schools into Future Schools, where students develop the skills to do just that.
How do we transform high schools?
Step 1: We embed a “Dream Director” into a high school.
Dream Directors are people with the full-time job of helping students act on their dreams. Part rock-star, part coach, and part entrepreneur, they spark and orchestrate the campaigns to transform their schools.
Step 2: That Dream Director builds a team of students, faculty, and coaches from the community.
Transforming the culture of a school is a group effort. That’s why the first task of a Dream Directors is to find the people who are already dreaming, taking risks, and otherwise shaking things up.
Step 3: Students get to work leading incredible passion-based projects.
Inspired by their Dream Director and supported by their coaches, Fellows (those are the students who choose to put their passions into the world) dream up Future Projects and lead teams of peers to execute them.
Step 4: The Dream Director orchestrates a school-wide campaign that channels the energy of the projects in transforming the school.
This is where the magic really happens. Within all projects is a common thread: self-expression, individuality, love… whatever resonates with the school. By weaving it into a single campaign, the Dream Director gives students the power to write the story of their own school.
So… how’s it working out?
Amazingly. The Future Project, in its second year, is already impacting over 1,000 students in three states. Among The Future Project’s Board Members and National Advisors are Timothy Shriver, Dan Pink, Bill Drayton, Sonal Shah, and Tony Wagner. We find that within one year, a Dream Director can make big progress in helping students develop the confidence, 21st century skills, and passion they need to thrive both in the classroom and beyond. One of our partner principals has stated that in twenty years of education, he has never seen anything, “so resourceful or so magical.”