Update from the Academy for the Love of Learning

I hope that you are staying well and safe in these extraordinary times.

Since I last wrote, I’ve been working with a team to imagine ourselves into the next phase of the Academy for the Love of Learning. As I signaled in my April message, beginning in July, the Academy will reorganize to focus on the stewarding of our intellectual capital and the creation of a robust online presence. We will also be establishing a new regranting program, supporting grassroots efforts with diverse communities that, we hope, will help us all learn into a new and better world. Necessity is the mother of all invention – and the heart of learning – the active spirit of learning itself – is alive, well and vivid – in fact, ironically, perhaps more vivid than in a very long time.

The ‘Learning Spirit’ essence of the Academy is the scaffold upon which we will build this new architecture. As the old form is ending and another is emerging, we will say goodbye to a large part of the staff, as we immediately begin the task of essentializing operations as well as transforming as a faculty into a ‘learning group’ that supports our own learning, while partnering in learning with communities on the ground, through the lens of wisdom, regeneration, well-being and deep connection.

The quality of the ending of this phase of the Academy’s life matters, and we are committed to supporting departing staff in the transition into what is next. This includes a generous compensation package and other forms of support. Of course, it is with deep sadness that we say goodbye to colleagues who are departing. Without exception, the Academy team has been an exemplary group of professionals and human beings.

Faculty have been preparing over the last few months by gathering the learnings from programs such as Teacher Renewal, Lifesongs, El Otro Lado and our Evenings of Exploration. As we pivot from a place of having introduced and explored these beautiful programs with you on site, to developing new learning applications that draw upon what we have learned, we wish to pause to acknowledge the part that you, our supporters and program participants, have played in the learning that is moving forward into digital expressions and new, on the ground, Learning Exchanges. You will be hearing more about this as time goes on, including how we intend to continue, in new, online-oriented ways, some of the programming you have already experienced with us. We hope to lean into these online platforms to help find ways to humanize this technology. But for now, thank you for your trust, kindness, contribution and generosity of spirit.

As we learn ourselves into this new world, a large part of the Academy’s future activity will focus on collaborating with, and supporting, groups, spheres of influence and places of impact that are new to us. Cultivating these relationships was already underway, well before the pandemic. Bridging to broader community and more diverse Learning Exchanges will be vital to our next phase. The Academy has long benefitted from generous financial support. With a smaller staff, these financial resources can be brought directly into the community learning partnerships ahead. To that end, it is our intention to minimize operational costs in order to maximize resources going back into these communities. This will take the form of learning exchange support and, in time, as the pandemic eases, we hope, facility use.

We believe this new form is the right one for our times and for our mission. We look forward to welcoming you into this new vision and thank you for your trust and enthusiasm for the future of learning and the Academy.

With sincere wishes,

Aaron Stern
Founder and President
Academy for the Love of Learning