100 episodes

Education Evolution, where we talk about today’s education: what’s broken, who’s fixing it, and how. We need to holistically serve a wide variety of learners and address academic, social, and emotional needs and we do that by making change happen today. Founded by Maureen O’Shaughnessy of Micro-Schools Coalition and Leadership Preparatory Academy in Seattle, Education Evolution is designed to start the conversation to transform the education system of today. Alternative education strategies including working with parents and colleagues, classroom management, lesson planning, activities, games, and more. Along with helping challenged students and those facing difficulty to find success.

What if we harnessed alternative and conventional resources and each child was seen, heard, valued, and met where they were academically, socially, and emotionally, with the goals of thriving NOW and being prepared for a productive, happy, and healthy adulthood?

Sadly, this isn’t what’s happening today. But that doesn’t mean those of us who know better have to stick with the status quo.

You’ll hear regularly from Maureen and guests from all corners of the educational landscape–from micro-school founders to concerned parents to journalists to lawmakers and decision-makers. Join the conversation today, we’re all in this together.

Education Evolution Maureen O’Shaughnessy

    • Education
    • 5.0 • 15 Ratings

Education Evolution, where we talk about today’s education: what’s broken, who’s fixing it, and how. We need to holistically serve a wide variety of learners and address academic, social, and emotional needs and we do that by making change happen today. Founded by Maureen O’Shaughnessy of Micro-Schools Coalition and Leadership Preparatory Academy in Seattle, Education Evolution is designed to start the conversation to transform the education system of today. Alternative education strategies including working with parents and colleagues, classroom management, lesson planning, activities, games, and more. Along with helping challenged students and those facing difficulty to find success.

What if we harnessed alternative and conventional resources and each child was seen, heard, valued, and met where they were academically, socially, and emotionally, with the goals of thriving NOW and being prepared for a productive, happy, and healthy adulthood?

Sadly, this isn’t what’s happening today. But that doesn’t mean those of us who know better have to stick with the status quo.

You’ll hear regularly from Maureen and guests from all corners of the educational landscape–from micro-school founders to concerned parents to journalists to lawmakers and decision-makers. Join the conversation today, we’re all in this together.

    Understanding Your Options for Educational Settings with Carlos Melendez

    Understanding Your Options for Educational Settings with Carlos Melendez

    As parents, we want the best for our kids. When it comes to their education, there are so many options out there, it can feel overwhelming and sometimes impossible to find the best setting for them. What really are the differences between public, private, online, and homeschooling? What is an NPA? How can families find the resources they need to make these important decisions for their children?
     
    Today I’m joined by Carlos Melendez from Schola, and he lays it all out for us in a way that is easy to understand. Schola has been helping match students with their perfect education setting, and today Carlos is here to explain the different options available so you know where to get started. And not only does he help you better understand your options, but he shares what other resources are available to help both families and schools in this process.
     
    Listen in, and discover what educational setting might best suit your child’s needs.
    About Carlos Melendez: Carlos is the Chief Marketing Officer at Schola, a software company that helps families find their perfect school or educational setting. He is an expert at creating effective marketing campaigns for schools in any market, which has helped his school partners increase their revenue by more than $100m in his 5 years at Schola. Carlos’ expertise includes integrated marketing communications and social media advertising. In addition, he has a law degree from Universidad Rafael Urdaneta and a Master's in Business from Thunderbird/ASU.
    Jump in the Conversation: [1:14] - About Schola [2:21] - Understanding your options and choosing what’s best for your kids [3:35] - Public schooling options [11:07] - NPA (Non-Public Agencies) [14:20] - Private schooling options [18:45] - Shift towards online schooling [20:26] - Dual enrollment programs [21:49] - Homeschooling options [25:15] - College prep models [28:04] - More resources for families and schools from Schola [36:00] - Turbo Time [45:28] - Carlos’s Magic Wand [47:46] - Maureen’s Takeaways Links & Resources Schola National Association of Independent Schools P-Tech Episode 73 with Stanley Litow from P-Tech Connect with Schola on Facebook and Instagram Follow Schola on TikTok The Membership Economy by Robbie Kellman Baxter Email Maureen Maureen’s TEDx: Changing My Mind to Change Our Schools The Education Evolution Facebook: Follow Education Evolution Twitter: Follow Education Evolution LinkedIn: Follow Education Evolution EdActive Collective Maureen’s book: Creating Micro-Schools for Colorful Mismatched Kids Micro-school feature on Good Morning America The Micro-School Coalition Facebook: The Micro-School Coalition LEADPrep

    • 54 min
    School Change Starting with Parent Empowerment with Ann Smith

    School Change Starting with Parent Empowerment with Ann Smith

    Schools won’t change on their own, often needing a push from concerned educators, community members and, most importantly, parents. But too often parents don’t know how to get involved or how to speak out on behalf of their children.
     
    Thankfully there are tools and resources out there to help parents understand their rights (and the rights of their children) and learn how to talk to policymakers and educational leaders about ensuring their children get the education they deserve. One of those organizations is African Caribbean American Parents of Children with Disabilities (AFCAMP), led by Executive Director Ann Smith. Ann joins me on the podcast this week.
     
    We need more parents as educational advocates if we’re going to make real change happen. And the more they learn, the more comfortable they are with speaking up for their children and for the community as a whole. Ann shares what those resources are and why they’re so incredibly important.
    About Ann Smith, JD, MBA: Ann R. Smith, JD, MBA is a “change-maker” who can speak to the importance of engaging families, youth, and community to address inequitable policies and practices that produce disparate outcomes across the intersecting education, juvenile justice, and health (physical / behavioral / mental) systems.
     
    Ann is Executive Director of African Caribbean American Parents of Children with Disabilities, Inc. (AFCAMP) commonly known as AFCAMP Advocacy for Children, a parent-led nonprofit organization headquartered in Hartford, CT. For 20+ years AFCAMP has provided resources, training and advocacy to promote authentic family and youth voices to inform decision-making within child-serving systems including education, juvenile justice, child welfare and children’s behavioral health.
     
    Pursuing equity fuels AFCAMP’s work to transform systems and reduce the adverse and disproportionate impacts experienced by youth of color and youth with disabilities. A multi-level approach is employed to reform systemic policies and practices that proliferate inequitable education, justice, health, and economic outcomes for children and families of color with a particular focus on those that are Black.
     
    Ann currently serves as a Tri-Chair of the Connecticut Children’s Behavioral Health Plan Implementation Advisory Board. She also serves on other advisory bodies and nonprofit boards of directors. She held multiple roles over 16 years of service with the State of Connecticut Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services (DMHAS) and its predecessors. Ann is also an attorney licensed by the State of CT.
    Jump in the Conversation: [1:34] - Where school transformation began for Ann [2:48] - Parents don’t always know their rights [4:32] - Community Parent Resource Center   [5:50] - Find out about your own state’s resource center [8:18] - Where to begin in gaining empowerment [10:55] - How the system encourages and accepts parents and youth [13:01] - When families are actively involved, the process of education with their kids, the outcomes are better  [21:14] - Turbo Time [22:49] - What you need to know about parent engagement [24:33] - Ann’s Magic Wand [26:19] - Maureen’s Takeaways  
    Links & Resources African Caribbean American Parents of Children with Disabilities (AFCAMP) US Department of Education Parent Resource Centers Center for Parent Information and Resources Connecticut Family Engagement Project Connecticut Children’s Behavioral Health Plan Implementation Advisory Board  Email Maureen Maureen’s TEDx: Changing My Mind to Change Our Schools The Education Evolution Facebook: Follow Education Evolution Twitter: Follow Education Evolution LinkedIn: Follow Education Evolution EdActive Collective Maureen’s book: Creating Micro-Schools for Colorful Mismatched Kids Micro-school feature on Good Morning America The Micro-School Coalition Facebook: The Micro-School Coalition LEADPrep

    • 30 min
    Finding Joy in Learning Through Online Tools with Shaunak Roy

    Finding Joy in Learning Through Online Tools with Shaunak Roy

    Online learning is no longer a novelty that’s all about checking boxes and “getting through the material.” Because of innovations in technology, there are so many possibilities to create truly engaging learning experiences and to foster a joy of learning for both students and teachers.
    This week on the podcast, I’m talking with Shaunak Roy, CEO of Yellowdig where they’re helping K-12 schools, colleges and universities, and corporations create truly experiential learning experiences and active learning opportunities for all.
    Born out of a desire to create educational transformation, Shaunak’s online learning tools are helping to build community within an asynchronous environment where students are rewarded for asking questions and taking risks, rather than regurgitating the “right” answers. Because human nature is to be creative, and online has the potential to grow students’ creativity without the limitations of time in a classroom.
    Tune in to be inspired and see how half a million students at more than 130 schools and organizations are currently enjoying the growth that’s possible with the right online learning tool.
    About Shaunak Roy: Shaunak is the founder and CEO of Yellowdig. Yellowdig is a community-driven active learning platform adopted by over 130 colleges and universities, K12 schools, and corporate training clients. Yellowdig's mission is to transform every classroom into an active, social, and experiential learning community. Shaunak graduated with a degree in mechanical engineering from IIT Bombay and completed his graduate studies at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Prior to founding Yellowdig, Shaunak spent a decade advising global companies on technology, strategy, and growth.
    Jump in the Conversation: [1:28] - Where school transformation began for Shanauk [3:07] - Kids learn best when they’re active and engaged [4:09] - The best way for students to learn is to use the digital tools they have intentionally [5:15] - What we need to build engagement online [6:50] - Constructivism is a model for discovery learning  [7:21] - How Yellowdig is creating an online experiential experience [9:15] - Shifting the roles for teachers [10:48] - Adding in a live component to asynchronous learning [13:56] - Grading posts and comments defeats the purpose of engagement [14:27] - Learning how to “do school” doesn’t translate into real life [17:28] - Human nature is to be creative; we need to use that in the virtual classroom [20:12] - Advice for parents and young adults exploring online education [20:38] - A big advantage of online learning is that there’s no time restriction [21:58] - Turbo Time [23:25] - What people need to know about engagement in learning [24:25] - Shaunak’s passion in Yellowdig [25:53] - Shaunak’s Magic Wand [27:10] - Maureen’s Takeaways Links & Resources Yellowdig Range: Why Generalists Trimpph in a Specialized World by David Epstein Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverence - TED Talk with Angela Duckworth Email Maureen Maureen’s TEDx: Changing My Mind to Change Our Schools The Education Evolution Facebook: Follow Education Evolution Twitter: Follow Education Evolution LinkedIn: Follow Education Evolution EdActive Collective Maureen’s book: Creating Micro-Schools for Colorful Mismatched Kids Micro-school feature on Good Morning America The Micro-School Coalition Facebook: The Micro-School Coalition LEADPrep

    • 30 min
    Creating the Right Ecosystem for Student Growth with Chris Menagé

    Creating the Right Ecosystem for Student Growth with Chris Menagé

    We’re not supporting our youth in developing into well-rounded individuals, and one of the culprits is our educational system, which isn’t set up to inspire greatness. This is a challenge we can remedy. So why aren’t we?
     
    Especially when there are educational leaders, like Chris Menagé, who create systems and opportunities to do things differently.
     
    This week on the podcast, Chris is sharing the importance of developing human and social capital in a way that works for our youth. That means making sure our students are inspired and seeking out learning for the sake of learning instead of sitting through old school lessons. And it means finding ways to prioritize thriving instead of simply surviving.
     
    Chris stresses that encouraging children to find balance and use their intuition in the classroom is incredibly important so they can take ownership of their learning. Education is an investment in our children, but only when it empowers them.



    About Chris Menagé: Chris is an educator who believes a world of change needs learning to change so he designs award winning learning experiences that are all about meaning, not things. Through e²: educational ecosystems’ framework, Chris advocates for education’s upstream role: to learn from, share with and contribute to, building capacity in social capital. 
     
    Jump in the Conversation: [1:36] - School transformation interest through life experiences [2:06] - Focus on relationships and holistic approach to education is a lifelong process [3:00] - What is human and social capital and how to use it educational systems [3:31] - Social capital is combination of our collective wherewithal - collective abilities, skills, dispositions, lived experiences  [5:25] - How to use this capital in educational systems [6:26] - Move from restrictive mindset to more collaborative approach [7:53] - Effective learning strategies build capacity to be eco-centered [8:51] - Balance and intuition as two senses [10:21] - Where can we start to create the whole experience [11:26] - Be okay with the imperfect process [12:57] - COVID provided an  opportunity to pause and reassess our drivers [15:30] - Education is a resource that’s intensive and costly; we don’t look at this work as an investment [18:01] - When you invest in resources, kids start learning with passion and purpose [18:50] - Turbo Time [20:03] - What people need to know about activating human and social capital [20:32] - Diagnosis vs. intervention is an approach to well-being [21:26] - Despite all the advances we’ve made, if we were to look at trends we see at the moment, I don’t think we have much to lose to look at things differently [25:56] - Chris’s Magic Wand [27:17] - Maureen’s Takeaways  Links & Resources Educational Ecosystems Follow Educational Ecosystems on LinkedIn Follow Educational Ecosystems on YouTube The Future of Smart: How Our Education System Needs to Change to Help All Young People Thrive by Ulcca Joshi Hansen PhD Email Maureen Maureen’s TEDx: Changing My Mind to Change Our Schools The Education Evolution Facebook: Follow Education Evolution Twitter: Follow Education Evolution LinkedIn: Follow Education Evolution EdActive Collective Maureen’s book: Creating Micro-Schools for Colorful Mismatched Kids Micro-school feature on Good Morning America The Micro-School Coalition Facebook: The Micro-School Coalition LEADPrep

    • 31 min
    Saying Yes to the Why Nots with Jon Acton

    Saying Yes to the Why Nots with Jon Acton

    Life is full of surprises, and not all of them are good. But sometimes the challenges we go through are the catalyst for changing our lives and inspiring others to do the same.
     
    That’s the case for Jon Acton, this week’s podcast guest. After a nearly 30-year career in education, Jon became a school superintendent in March 2020…just days before COVID hit and schools had to make a big left turn. Then a stage 3 cancer diagnosis changed the trajectory of everything for Jon.
     
    Jon and two fellow educators received the same diagnosis within just 10 months of one another, and after one lost his battle, Jon and his cancer warrior friend decided to take action. They founded Broken Shells, which seeks to remind us all that we’re all “perfektly imperfekt” and that we should embrace the “why nots” in our lives.
     
    Jon has created something out of adversity and I can see how it will inspire others to do the same. Listen in to this incredible story. 
    About Jon Acton: Husband, dad, cancer fighter, author, creator of Broken Shells, former school superintendent, principal, teacher, coach.
     
    Jump in the Conversation: [1:40] - What has led Jon to be a beacon of inspiration [3:50] - What is Broken Shells [4:15] - Partners to Broken Shells [5:50] - Perfectly imperfect life stories - the idea behind broken shells [8:45] - We have invisible bubbles around us [9:40] - Our whys and our why nots [10:55] - When an opportunity arises, ask yourself why or why not [11:57] - Don’t let the “why not” sphere of time pass you by [13:25] - Table of influence [15:32] - Would you be at someone’s table of influence the way you’re living your life [16:14] - What’s next for Jon [18:59] - Turbo Time [19:59] - Your impact can influence others [21:22] - Jon’s Magic Wand [23:22] - Maureen’s Takeaways   
    Links & Resources Broken Shells Follow Broken Shells and Jon on Twitter Connect with Jon on LinkedIn Follow Broken Shells on Facebook Email Maureen Maureen’s TEDx: Changing My Mind to Change Our Schools The Education Evolution Facebook: Follow Education Evolution Twitter: Follow Education Evolution LinkedIn: Follow Education Evolution EdActive Collective Maureen’s book: Creating Micro-Schools for Colorful Mismatched Kids Micro-school feature on Good Morning America The Micro-School Coalition Facebook: The Micro-School Coalition LEADPrep

    • 27 min
    Getting Students Excited About Learning with Choice with Tanya King

    Getting Students Excited About Learning with Choice with Tanya King

    There’s little worse than being told what you have to do, when you have to do it, and how. And especially when kids are involved, they’re pretty good at digging in their heels and refusing. Ask any parent or teacher!
     
    But we’re still telling kids what they have to learn, how they have to learn it, and when. We’re doing a disservice to them and, frankly, to the teachers who have to follow the prescribed curriculum.
     
    Thank goodness teachers like Tanya King exist. Teachers who are using data and proven strategies to break the mold and truly get students excited about learning. Tanya, an award-winning 6th grade teacher in Washington state, champions the idea of letting go of control and letting students lead their own learning. 
     
    And what she’s doing works! With kids regularly making two school years’ of progress while in her care, they’re no longer missing school or checking out mentally because they’re bored or uninspired. She takes inspiration to the next level.
     
    Listen in to find out how Tanya is doing it differently!
    About Tanya King: Tanya King, also known as Mrs. KB, is a 6th-grade teacher in the Edmonds School District. She is in her 22nd year of teaching, holds a BA in Elementary Ed, Special Education K-12, a Masters in Integrating Technology, and is National Board Certified. It is her mission to empower students to become lifelong learners and instill within them a belief they can reach any goal he/she sets for him/herself. By teaching students to believe in themselves and take ownership of their learning, her students know they can tackle any task. Students come to school because they have to; Mrs. KB has created a learner-driven class and kids come because they want to! Her mottos? Be the Captain of your Own Destiny! Live Limitless!
     
    Jump in the Conversation: [1:30] - Award winning teacher [1:59] - Extraordinary is “extra ordinary” [2:18] - How Tanya became a learner-centered teacher [3:10] - Fitting in the box doesn’t work as a kid or a teacher [3:20] - Lessons from rafting through the Grand Canyon [4:22] - What it looks like in Tanya’s classroom and the joy of controlled chaos [7:52] - Benefits of teachers letting go of control [11:03] - Data points that show student growth [15:42] - Kids aren’t sure how to approach this new environment [16:46] - If we’re not willing to try to change things, no one will make the change for us [17:45] - A few ways to shift away from rows to something more student-driven [18:18] - If you don’t have a why behind what you’re doing, find a different way [19:35] - Turbo Time [22:26] - The passion Tanya brings to learner-centered classrooms [23:05] - The best thing about working with tweens [24:43] - Tanya’s Magic Wand  [26:28] - Maureen’s Takeaways Links & Resources Lynnwood Times article about Tanya’s award iReady® Assessment Email Maureen Maureen’s TEDx: Changing My Mind to Change Our Schools The Education Evolution Facebook: Follow Education Evolution Twitter: Follow Education Evolution LinkedIn: Follow Education Evolution EdActive Collective Maureen’s book: Creating Micro-Schools for Colorful Mismatched Kids Micro-school feature on Good Morning America The Micro-School Coalition Facebook: The Micro-School Coalition LEADPrep

    • 30 min

Customer Reviews

5.0 out of 5
15 Ratings

15 Ratings

Lilibet-Grnny-Scar ,

Innovations in all nooks and crannies of education

I love this podcast! Maureen brings innovators from all corners of education to question our thinking and offer real world solutions to the betterment of educating our next generation.

Jess Elston ,

Much Needed Help

Many traditional schools are failing students. I know teachers and leaders in these schools want to help- I was one of them- but the system is broken is many ways, leaving reform hard to hope for within the traditional mindset. Here, on this podcast, I have gotten ideas, help, and practical advice on how to create the kind of school I know many of my students desperately need. I’m often reaching for a journal to take notes during each episode.

herzoge ,

Hitting all the highlights

Maureen is great at bringing together innovative educators to rethink traditional educational environments. I really enjoyed her the episodes looking at chunking work and the needs of students during COVID and remote learning. More recently, I love how Maureen 'debriefs' the audience at the end of each episode and tires together the themes from previous episodes to build a narrative across the show. Thanks Maureen!

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