Episode 17: Breathing Life Back Into Learning with Eric Chagala

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Episode Summary:

Eric Chagala, the founding principal of Vista Innovation and Design Academy (VIDA), emphasizes the importance of creating a school culture where all kids matter and shares insights from his dissertation on the critical resiliency of high-achieving Latinx youth. The discussion touches on Eric’s experiences in education, his belief in design thinking, and his journey as a school leader.

During the episode, Eric shares:

  • ✨ How Washington Middle School (the precursor to VIDA) went from scores of learners opting out of their neighborhood school every day to VIDA generating a wait list of over 700 families a decade later.
  • 🧑‍🏫 How being learner-centered is about supporting all learners, including adults.
  • 📈 The frustrations around traditional assessment practices and the positive impact meaningful, learner-centered assessment can have on every learner.

Related Resources:

  • Learner-Centered Design Thinking (Online Course by LCC). Differentiate the elements of liberatory design thinking and how it is an important learner-centered strategy. Empathize with learners and define their needs. Brainstorm and imagine new possibilities with learners. Create a prototype solution for your design challenge.
  • VIDA Virtual Tour (YouTube). Can’t make it out to Southern California? Check out VIDA from the comfort of your home with a personalized tour from Eric himself.
  • Redesigning Learning at VIDA (ALAS Media). Hear teachers and students describe the Design Thinking process used at VIDA to create a learner-centered environment where interests and passions are discovered, celebrated, and integrated in everyday learning experiences.
  • Designing for Innovation (2015 Create Something Great Kick Off). In this closing keynote, Eric Chagala discusses the importance of relationships in fostering creativity and innovation in schools. He emphasizes the need to challenge educational buzzwords and promote genuine trust, vulnerability, and collaboration among all stakeholders.

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