Posts Tagged 'the academy'

The Academy gets a makeover!

Well, kinda.  Who can spot it??

(Makeover recommendation by Pop Rome.  (Who is not my dad.  Dad is dad.  Pop is Dad’s dad.))

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Absurd thinking … or thinking absurdly

My favorite part from the song “Ugly Love” by EELS is when E (whose father, evidently, exchanged letters with Al Einstein) explains that he  “dreams about so much it is absurd.”  … That sounds like me!! … Well, except that my obsessions come minus the romanticism  of “dreaming”.  More accurately, I brood about so much it is absurd.  Or, I analyze so much it is absurd.  … The list could continue, but in the interest of time, energy, and cutting me a smidgen of slack, let’s just say that I think about so much it is absurd.

What are my finances?  Where will I do the pool portion of the course?  How many hours is the curriculum?  What is the most practical business model?  How is it possible that I’m not yet sick of bagels?  … The list could continue.

The truth is that there is a lot to think about.  As aforementioned, this isn’t the challenge for me.  The challenge is that I don’t entirely know what to think about.  But the good thing about thinking too much is that even if you don’t know what to think about, you’ll think about something anyways.  And whether it has been a waste of time or essential groundwork for the program, I have been thinking a lot lately about the “buy one, give one” business model and how to make this work for Schooba.  I have also been thinking about whether this would work best for The Academy in a for-profit or non-profit framework.  I have begun a comparative analysis of two different organizations that use/have used the “buy one give one” model, one operating as a for-profit and one as a non-profit.

TOMS Shoes

For-profit

“TOMS Shoes was founded on a simple premise: With every pair you purchase, TOMS will give a pair of new shoes to a child in need. One for One. Using the purchasing power of individuals to benefit the greater good is what we’re all about. The TOMS mission transforms our customers into benefactors, which allows us to grow a truly sustainable business rather than depending on fundraising for support.”

One Laptop per Child (OLPC)

Non-profit

(Please note:  OLPC does not permanently operate under the “buy one give one” model.  They have simply offered this to the public through different times in their history.)

“The mission of One Laptop per Child (OLPC) is to empower the children of developing countries to learn by providing one connected laptop to every school-age child. In order to accomplish our goal, we need people who believe in what we’re doing and want to help make education for the world’s children a priority, not a privilege.”

… Absurd, you say?  Tell ’em, Don (Barthelme):

“Those who never attempt the absurd never achieve the impossible.”

Generating revenue

As stated earlier, ideally, The Academy would be an entirely self-sufficient enterprise, i.e. there would be no need for any outside source of funding, i.e. it would be able to generate enough revenue internally to cover 100% of its costs.

In thinking of ways to achieve this state of perfection, I have been thinking of ways that The Academy could generate revenue.  Hmm, I could charge a tuition, I could … I could … I could …

Dang.

What are some other ways that The Academy can bring home the bacon?

Switching gears (pun intended)

So, we made it to Wien! (Vienna, for those of you that don’t speak Deutsch.)  I apologize for the lack of activity, but the route was much more rural than anticipated (don’t ask me why I anticipated otherwise) and computers (that I could use) were few and far between.  Nevertheless, there was plenty of time for thinking and getting ready to switch gears (har har har) for the big return to The States on August 20.

The vision of The Schooba Academy is getting clearer and clearer.  I am not sure/I don’t think that I will ever consider it “done” or “perfect”, but I am getting to the point where I am ready to move forward with what I have and move on to the next step/steps in the process, i.e. developing the curriculum and figuring out how to fund/implement it.  (This is where you tell me not to worry and that a most generous donation is on its way!)  The idea of a “partnership” or a “collaboration” with an already existing organization has come up before as a possibility to fruition.  The Echoing Green Applicant Coaching Guide states,

“Given that starting an organization is an incredibly difficult and expensive enterprise and that there are already over 1 million organizations in the US alone, it often makes more sense to find out which organizations are already working in your field and then see if you can collaborate with them to achieve your goals.

Wise social entrepreneurs spend a great deal of time researching their field.  They gather information on the major players and compare and contrast their respective ideas.  If they find an organization that’s already implementing their idea, they work with it to achieve their goals.  And even if no organization is already working on their exact vision, they find compatible organizations that may be willing to incorporate their new idea.  Only when they’ve exhausted existing resources do they attempt to start a new organization.”

And so, what organizations might I be able to collaborate with?

So far, I have gathered a list of five:

Outward Bound

Rocking the Boat

The Urban Assembly New York Harbor School

Harlem Children’s Zone

Stoked Mentoring

What am I missing?  Is there anywhere that The Academy fits in??

Hevruta in Schooba

The Posen Seminar is going great.  There is definitely a lot of work in what are definitely long days, but the diverse and open-minded group of participants have made this a most enjoyable learning experience.

It is late; I am tired; we start bright and early tomorrow.  I do, however, want to briefly mention my biggest takeaway thus far: Hevruta learning.  (Possibly also spelled ‘chavurah’ or ‘havurah’)  I will provide a source of further information at the end of this posting, but as I presently understand it (please correct me if I’m wrong) hevruta is a traditional Jewish method of learning.  It involves a partner and a text, and through discussion and debate the pair explore the text together to gain a deeper understanding and varying perspectives/interpretations.  As well, each person has an obligation to help their partner in their learning. Customarily, this method is associated with the learning of the “central text of mainstream Judaism”, The Talmud, but what a shame it would be to keep it so confined!  Is this a strategy that The Academy could in some way use?  When SCUBA diving, one should never go alone.  Always, it is recommended that you dive with a buddy, and throughout the SCUBA training process all divers are paired with one.  This partnership – which is so fundamental to SCUBA diving – seems to provide the ideal venue for learning via the method of hevruta.  Non?

As promised:

For further information on hevruta

1.  Go to www.google.com

2.  Type the word “hevruta” into the text box

3.  Click “Google Search”


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