In ancient Polynesia, brave voyagers set off to travel from island to island. The people who led these voyages, known as wayfinders, were trained for years and were celebrated in Polynesian culture.

 

The wayfinder tradition

Instead of using modern navigation equipment, wayfinders used their deep understanding of the natural navigation instruments: stars, tides, winds, birds, and the sun. Through their training and vision, they were able lead journeys of nearly 5,000 of miles – from Hawaii to New Zealand – on simple boats. Wayfinders did not look at a map and go in a straight line from place to place, instead they followed the natural rhythms of the ocean to lead them to their destination.  

They tuned themselves to be self-reliant instruments, capable of charting and navigating whatever path they chose… 

What if students could calmly and confidently navigate their learning journey and future path through the world in a similar way?


We believe the wayfinder is a perfect metaphor for the type of student we want to create: a dedicated, self-aware, purposeful person going on a meaningful journey through life.


SELF-RELIANT NAVIGATORS VS. LINEAR PATHtakers

Just as the wayfinding tradition was nearly eradicated by colonization, the soul of high school education has been hollowed by its narrow version of success. The industrialization of schools combined with the college arms race has created an incredibly narrow, barely achievable level of success that is revered at high-achieving high schools around the country. No longer are students allowed to chart their own path; instead they feel beholden to a very narrow version of success.

Success is... Linear?  Students we interviewed had the expectation that successful people follow a logical, intentional, and direct path to their desired goal.  Reality and experience tells us otherwise.

Success is... Linear?  Students we interviewed had the expectation that successful people follow a logical, intentional, and direct path to their desired goal.  Reality and experience tells us otherwise.

 
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