Update from the Academy for the Love of Learning

I hope that you remain safe, well, and engaged during these difficult times.

Over the past six months, we’ve watched as our society’s traditional assumptions about education have collapsed onto themselves. As we reexamine collectively what learning means, we have an opportunity, perhaps greater than ever before. When certainty is gone, especially at this scale, we are left with a pervasive not-knowing. We are being thrown back to ourselves, and though in the midst of great challenge and loss, this time of questioning gives us the opportunity to come to know ourselves and each other, and to be able to connect with each other in new ways, as we regenerate into new lives and into a new world. This is the love of learning in action!

In that spirit, the Academy for the Love of Learning is embarking upon a new phase of its journey.  As you may know from my recent letters, in the past months we’ve restructured the Academy to meet better the challenges and opportunities of our times, to focus on stewarding the wisdom we have garnered and our intellectual capital. We are developing exciting new ways to bring back what we’ve learned with all of you, to you and to diverse new communities.

With gratitude and respect for all that we have explored and achieved together, we said our final goodbyes to departing staff members and to our previous models of work.  We are now forming a new team and operating in new ways, with a leaner staff, flatter structure, and different modes of communication.  We are filled with enthusiasm and excitement as we step into our next phase, reforming as a modern organization that reflects the zeitgeist of this time while still committed to our founding values.  We are excited to explore what it means to collaborate with and relate to one another in new ways, and we are excited to share with you the stories of what we learn in the next months, as we grow into our new skin.

As we do so, we are working on adaptions of many of our existing programs. To those of you who have joined us for Lifesongs over the years: we have been experimenting with and learning from online expressions and are now busily reimagining how we’ll be offering this program in the future, and plan to bring it back in a new form in 2021. To those of you who have joined us for El Otro Lado or our many Evenings of Exploration on the Academy campus: we have exciting new offerings being planned to share with you soon. And, in appreciation for all the learning we’ve done together in our Institute for Teaching over the past 20 years, whether in Teacher RenewalWisdom Circle, the Summer Institutes or other special programs for educators, we have a beautiful gift of learnings that will be coming your way soon. Look for more information about this in your inbox in the next couple of months!

At the same time, we are exploring vital new initiatives, called Learning Exchanges, to be created in community, reaching new audiences, including via digital exchanges and a newly-established regranting program for on-the-ground work in New Mexico and beyond. We are already working on prototypes of these Learning Exchanges and look forward to sharing news of them, including exciting stories of learning in action, and how they tie to the Academy’s learning frameworks. We anticipate that Learning Exchanges will advance our mission significantly, and we will be bringing you news about these new programs and ways you can participate as they solidify and launch.

We at the Academy are committed to stepping into this uncertainty, exploring these new questions, and discovering what new opportunities make themselves known. Thanks to each of you for your support and enthusiasm as we move forward together.

With sincere wishes,

Aaron Stern
Founder and President
Academy for the Love of Learning