“Today was another moving day,” said Founding Director Laura Deisley to conclude our first week of building the Lab Atlanta program. Our exciting goal of transforming students’ experience of both learning and the city is an emotional journey towards educational innovation. However, this is not what Laura implied. Instead, she meant that today was another day of forward motion: one more student enrolled, one more official partnership in the city, and one more day of faculty team bonding toward a visionary program for the future of learning in Atlanta.

Let’s take a moment to introduce our LAB ATL team and meet Agnès, Aretina, Karl, Laura, and Mike. Our personal and professional backgrounds make us a very diverse, experienced group of educators; however, we all share a passion for deep learning and experiential engagement. We are fired up by words like ‘immersion’, ‘leadership’, ‘community’, ‘relationship’, and ‘design’, especially when they apply to students and their learning experiences. It is a thrilling experience to start a semester program with like-minded people who embrace the same educational ideals for the next generations of leaders and innovators! Our differences in leadership styles make our team even stronger: while some of us incline more toward Strategic Thinking or Relationship Building, others are more natural Influencers or Executors. We can’t wait to uncover the leadership skills of our young Lab Atlanta learners, to find out how their strengths and abilities can make a positive difference in their community and inspire others to take action.

In order to reach our exciting goals, we have been hard at work for the past week; brainstorming, deconstructing, and reinventing have been our daily tasks. We have written target goals and listed skills that will thrill any teenager who wants to learn more--and more actively--than the traditional school setting can offer. Our team is still wrestling with lots of content and ideas, has many tasks to accomplish, and multiple goals to draft, but the mission and values of LAB ATL become more elegant almost by the hour.

To advise, guide, and support us along the way, crème de la crème partners in the fields of education, leadership, and diversity will accompany us throughout our semester planning. Jaimie Cloud from The Cloud Institute was instrumental in helping us organize and define the first days of LAB ATL: How will we implement our big ideas and skills? How will the students be transformed when they end their semester with us? Jaimie thinks big and fast; engaging in a discussion on teenagers and learning with her is liberating, even electrifying. Instructional Coach and curriculum designer Diana Laufenberg of Inquiry Schools, our next big professional consultant, will likely rock our world just as much. Meanwhile, we’ll be sure to keep this forward motion going and make every day all fall a moving day!