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A History Class, Yes...

But not like any you’ve been a part of before. The maps we’ve been following for years and years are no longer good. The well-defined path we’ve been on has come to an end. Not because we’ve arrived, though. No, far from it…we’ve many miles yet to travel. The good news is that with no clear directions, and no single right path to take, the future – your future – is wide open.

If you want more from your high school learning experience – and I know you do – The Narrows is the place to be. Scroll through to learn more.

What you’ll learn...

The days of pre-defined units of study are over. In The Narrows, you’ll be given a list of broad content areas to choose from, including…

  • Of the People, By the People, For the People
  • American Makers
  • World Domination

Within these content areas, you’ll have choice as to what specific topic or topics you explore, and you’ll build an inquiry around the topic of your choosing. As an additional set of options, you’ll have  6 college-level courses to choose from as well, available from Coursera.

How you’ll learn...

This semester will be self-paced, self-directed and student-centered. Though you’ll certainly have guidelines and requirements, you’ll have a great deal of freedom and flexibility to pursue your learning in a way that is best for you.

There will be very little in the way of lectures, no homework, and no tests. In exchange for these benefits, you’ll need simply to understand, and agree to our Values (more on those soon).

The Journey Begins With Acceptance

Nothing worth doing is easy, that’s as true as it gets. As the saying goes, if it were easy, everyone would do it. So the question, then, is do you want to do something worth doing? I already know your answer. Of course you do. We all do.

That’s one of the beautiful things about being human. We want to do great things. And in our heart of hearts, we know we can. Doesn’t matter if we have direct experience with it. The knowledge is hard coded into our DNA. And once we accept this simple truth, we get to begin.

And Then We Take Our Place

Before the real work can begin, we have to recognize our responsibility to find our place. Our place in the world, yes, but not yet. That time will come. For now, you’ll need simply to find your place in a learning environment that demands some pretty basic, but important things.

Effort. Integrity. Generosity. A desire to grow and a commitment to demanding more from yourself at every turn. To not settling on mediocre, and to always believing that you’re capable of more.

The Narrows

Many great hikes are preceded by a section called The Narrows, or the hike itself bears its name. My personal favorite comes from the hike to Long’s Peak. A section so-named because of it’s ‘narrow’ path, and world-renowned because of it’s 2,000 foot drop awaiting the careless hiker.

For you, Visitor, The Narrows is a companion website to the work you’ll do in this class. You’ll visit this site every day and check the Weekly Expedition for updates, instructions, requirements, etc.

The Narrows

And by adopting our Values, you’ll have the opportunity to level up, earn Capital, and purchase products and privileges. We’ll maintain a Leaderboard here in The Narrows, and it will be quite clear who has accepted the call to adventure, and who hasn’t.

The Narrows is a place of transition. A gateway between what came before, and what lies ahead. It’s a place to practice self-determination. Where learning is personal, and relevant, and rewarding. It may seem scary, but as any adventurer knows, you’ve got to feel that fear, and then do it anyway.

Of Course Change Is Hard

Everyone’s scared of what they don’t know. Certainty – even certain pain – is comforting in it’s own way. That’s why most of us change only when it’s absolutely necessary. When there’s no other choice.

We’re at just such a point in public education today. University and industry leaders have made it clear that we need to step up our game. That we need to send you out into the world with a different set of skills and inclinations. The Narrows is a place where this begins to take shape.

So Get Out Of Your Own Way

Leave the bad habits you’ve developed over years of traditional schooling at the door. Just as The Guide has accepted that he needs to change his approach in service to you, so, too, must you decide to change your own.

It’s time to see the world anew, Visitor, to see it for the possibilities and not the limitations. To begin to expect something different – from school, from life, from yourself – and act like you’ve truly got something to lose. Because you do. Time to hit the trail.

Our Motto...

Not for the view. The fresh air. The bragging rights. Not even for your health. Nope. Climb that mountain because it’s hard, and there’s magic in the effort.

What We Value…

Effort

We all know that significant, sustained, consistent effort in pursuit of a goal leads to success. No exceptions. Maybe not immediately, but eventually. So we value the product – the result – of our work. Yes. But not nearly as much as the process. As they say…

“Worry more about the manner in which you are traveling, and you won’t have to worry so much about where you’re headed.”

The Narrows requires our best effort, every time.

Integrity

We deal honestly in everything we do in The Narrows because we know that life beyond it is even more unforgiving. Do some people, here, and beyond, get away with things? Do they do the wrong thing and nobody catches them? Yep.

But The Guide urges you to consider your future and understand that the things we do today, here, now…all of them add up to something. And that something is our future. What kind of future do you want, Visitor? One built on deceit and cleverness? Or a future founded on strong principles, on being truthful – to ourselves, and others – and on doing what’s right. Always. We both know the answer to that.

Generosity

As with every great effort, making your way through The Narrows is hard, and going it alone is not the answer. Seek out ways to offer help, support, encouragement and kindness to your fellow wanderers. They may not always seem like they need it, or come right out and ask, but generosity doesn’t require an invitation. It often shows up, unannounced, willing…and with a smile.

A life of service…now that’s something we can build on.

A Willing Posture

Carelessness in The Narrows can be a very dangerous thing, Visitor. But so can apathy. Every great thing ever done, or achieved, started with a willingness to try. In The Narrows, you’re encouraged to take risks. To attempt adventures you may not be sure you can handle. This is the only path to growth.

As our 26th President suggested, it’s far better to “fail while daring greatly”, than to sit on the sidelines, knowing neither victory nor defeat.

This way of teaching, and learning, requires a leap. Habit and institutionalized norms are difficult to give up on, no doubt. But if we can press pause for just a minute, and look objectively at what traditional high schools perpetuate, where’s the value? Don’t get me wrong, there’s tons of value in public high schools. But I don’t think it’s the stuff that seems to be most highly valued on the surface.

The Narrows, then, is my way of acknowledging that growth requires change. That doing what we’ve always done is not reason enough to keep on doing it. That our young people deserve our relentless tinkering as we move toward a different model of education. Like the trail that bears it’s name, The Narrows is risky, but the potential reward is worth every bit of that risk. And then some.

The Weekly…

Hello Visitor. If you’re looking for adventure, you’ve come to the right place. The Weekly Expeditions are found here, and it’s important to understand that there is no higher priority for you than to ensure you’re joining these expeditions first thing Monday morning…and every day thereafter (opportunities for exploration will be added daily). This front page will always have a link to the current Expedition, so lace up those boots, friend, and let’s see where the path takes us.

If you’ve managed to lose the trail, search through previous weeks’ posts (an archive of the ‘Weeklies’ can be found here) and you’ll find what you need. Your fellow wanderers can also be of help – serving others is, after all, the surest way to serve ourselves. If you’re truly lost, ask The Guide.

Week of 5/29/17

The most recent Weekly Expedition. Click below to see what awaits.

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Week of 5/22/17

The most recent Weekly Expedition. Click below to see what awaits.

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Week of 5/15/17

The most recent Weekly Expedition. Click below to see what awaits.

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Week of 5/8/17

The most recent Weekly Expedition. Click below to see what awaits.

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Week of 5/1/17

The most recent Weekly Expedition. Click below to see what awaits.

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Week of 4/24/17

The most recent Weekly Expedition. Click below to see what awaits.

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Week of 4/17/17

The most recent Weekly Expedition. Click below to see what awaits.

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Week of 4/10/17

The most recent Weekly Expedition. Click below to see what awaits.

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Week of 4/3/17

The most recent Weekly Expedition. Click below to see what awaits.

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Week of 3/20/17

The most recent Weekly Expedition. Click below to see what awaits.

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