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- My name is Nicole Temple-Assisi, and I am the founder of Thrive Public Schools. The mission and vision behind Thrive was really to reimagine education and to think about what it could be, and what it doesn't have to be. I think so often we create a box that we think education has to fit into, and with Thrive, we wanted to break outta that box and really focus on kids just being joyful and having a personalized learning experience that truly and deeply engages them. We're a diverse community. 50% of our students are at or below the poverty line. 50% of our students, or more, are students of color. Our community is really complex. Our learners are really complex. Not every kid has had access to the same pre-literacy skills, doesn't have access to the same books at home, and that means that it's up to us to meet students where they are. Our teachers are brilliant at doing that, they get to know their kids, the kids get to know each other, and we work together as a diverse community of learners to grow every year. Whether you are currently a grade level behind, or you're two grade levels ahead, you shouldn't have to stop learning just because other students in your class aren't at the level that you are. And at Thrive our teachers personalize learning to make sure every student grows, and every student can expand their future, and have access to college careers, and the kind of community that we are creating together. Ultimately, education hasn't changed for hundreds of years. But our kids change, all the time, their tools change, the access they have to technologies, and to the world around them, our role is no longer just to give kids information, but to get them to do something with that information. Some of the ways we do that is by giving students blended learning opportunities. We give them technology, so that they can move at their own pace. we give each student a personalized learning plan. Every student meets in a small group with a teacher, who knows exactly what that student struggles with, and what they're really strong at. In addition to that, we provide students with project-based learning experiences. Students are building and creating, designing, and are understanding that the things that they're learning in class are not just about homework, or something that an adult told them how to do. Students are learning at Thrive the work that they do actually matters and that it has transferable skills to the career that they may wanna take on. At Thrive, every teacher meets with all their students at the start and end of every day. In morning meeting, that's our time where we connect with students, we make sure every student is known, seen, and valued, not just by us, but by their peers. And so we start the day by greeting every student, by connecting with every kid. Because only when kids feel connected to, and feel like they belong, are they able to learn. I think the most exciting piece of all this work for us is when we hear kids talk about how they've changed. How Thrive is a place where they're cared for. Our hearts light up when we hear stories about students who say this place is different. I belong here. I can make a difference here. I'm growing here, and I'm learning here. We want every kid to have experiences where their learning is joyful, and where they feel like they're finally able to reach new personal bests. - They don't tell you you have to do this or that, they just tell you, feel free to make what you want, but a version of this. I really improved on math. I think it was mostly because of the teachers, because they, whenever you are having a problem, they're always there to come and help you. - [Voiceover] I want some pond water. - [Voiceover] And yours-- - [Voiceover] Can I drill? - [Voiceover] You need pond water for the bottom. - I see students who would maybe be placed in what you'd consider a gate class, or a higher level class. You know, sometimes they can get a little bored in a regular class or annoyed with the kind of lower level teaching that you need to do, but what I see is that I have the abilities to, I guess, get out of their way sometimes, and let the students create amazing things, and today we're making little terrariums and aquatic eco systems, like a biome in a bottle, where you have the water in the bottom, and there's a wicking material that takes it up to the soil. And we started with that, and I have students that have made pumps, made fountains with pumps from Home Depot, I had students bring in vertical gardens today, another one decided to take that idea and make a lunar greenhouse. Presenting them with this one idea, but giving them the option to expand beyond that has fit the needs of all these different students, and my challenge is how do I meet them where they are. By giving them a chance to make things that they really care about, and present those in whichever way they can do the best, everybody has a chance to shine, because we're building something that's bigger than us, or bigger than a handout. - Our students are always inventing and improving and iterating. It reminds me to continue to look at data, to continue to ask them for feedback. One of the most valuable things that we do every year, is we ask families and students to take a survey to tell us what's working, to tell us what they think we still need to work on. And we use that feedback, and we share that data, so that we can continue to get better and better. I think anyone who wants to do this work, I encourage you to not worry about all the things that are gonna be hard. And I encourage you to not worry about any of the people that are gonna say this can't be done, but rather focus on that vision. Focus on what it looks like when kids are deeply engaged, and when their learning is personalized. And share that vision with as many people as you can. Don't wait to do this work until you've figured out all the answers, start doing this work now, because the kids in your classrooms don't have another four years to wait until you're ready to implement this work. It's exciting work, and you have friends at Thrive that are excited to help you.