S2:E12 Aaron Jamal Schorn, Capstone Man

My guest today for this final episode of Semester 1 of Season 2 is Aaron Jamal Schorn, Nalukai Foundation Program and Academy Startup Camp Director, and Capstone Coordinator at Hawai’i Preparatory Academy on Hawai’i Island. At Nalukai, Aaron creates and implements curriculum, hustles to find mentors and teaches digital storytelling. Outside of Nalukai he is focused on creating student-centered systems to authentically tell the story of learning communities. Aaron has published articles on local magazines including this one about teaching in the time of COVID. At Hawai’i Preparatory Academy (HPA) he teaches Digital Journalism and Social Entrepreneurship courses that are centered around Product-Based Learning, the Lean Startup methodology, project management, and building digital brands. His classes are supported by mentors across industries working directly with students on their products. Aaron’s professional background is in international business, digital storytelling, operations, management, UX/UI, and content creation. Most importantly, Aaron is the Capstone Coordinator at HPA, which gives kids in the 5th, 8th and 12th grades the opportunity to build a project that elevates and improves their surrounding communities. Aaron’s work on capstone programs is pioneering and will globally shape the way these types of opportunities are given to students in the future. Back in February, 2020 his 90 capstone students were moving intently towards the second half of their projects. Then, COVID-19 hit and everything went upside down. Undeterred, not only did HPA students execute pandemic pivots and complete their projects, they also completed their public exhibitions of learning, this time in virtual spaces built and designed by Aaron. I was one of the observers invited into these digital exhibition spaces. It was…epic. In this Semester 1, Season 2 capstone episode Aaron and I dive deep into what school could be, what learning could be, what student agency would be if we turned ownership of learning over to them. As you listen to Aaron, note the joy in his voice when he talks about Hawaiʻi and the ways his students are shaping its present, and future. Aaron is a dear friend who has inspired me to jump higher and reach further towards this show’s credo, which is “100% by Yesterday.” As always, our show’s theme music, and editing is provided by Daniel Gilad at DG Sound Creations. To learn more about Daniel, or to book him for your next music gig, navigate to his Facebook page. If you love this episode, please give us a rating and review at your favorite podcast store. Semester 2 of Season 2 starts again in February. Until then, stay safe, wear your masks, stay physically distant from one another and please, bring kindness into the world. We need more. 

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