Big Signs of Growth

Basil’s growth as a learner at One Stone is pretty remarkable. In less than one year, his transformation has been obvious to his coaches and his peers.

As Basil’s Brand Building and Design Lab coach this term, I’ve had the pleasure of seeing Basil really own his learning, while becoming a much improved communicator and leader.

I recently had the opportunity to sit down with Basil and have a conversation about his One Stone experience.

  Basil proudly displays his first prototype of the One Stone logo using the CNC router.

Basil proudly displays his first prototype of the One Stone logo using the CNC router.

  One Stone’s Bold Learning OBjectives give each student a toolkit for life by valuing and measuring growth in each learner’s mindset, creativity, skills, and knowledge. © 2018 One Stone. All rights reserved.

One Stone’s Bold Learning OBjectives give each student a toolkit for life by valuing and measuring growth in each learner’s mindset, creativity, skills, and knowledge. © 2018 One Stone. All rights reserved.

 Basil (back left) explains the DLab team's ideas to improve St. Luke's Regional Medical Center's employee training regarding email phishing and patient safety.

Basil (back left) explains the DLab team's ideas to improve St. Luke's Regional Medical Center's employee training regarding email phishing and patient safety.

Q&A with Basil

Michael: How have you grown at One Stone?

Basil: To paint a picture, I have a pretty incredible academic history. I was good at taking tests, but that doesn’t help me solve real world problems. At One Stone, I’m learning to use muscles that I’ve never needed before like communication and leadership skills that are strengthened and built through design labs, collaborative courses, and all of it’s amazing after school programs. I’ve grown in areas of the BLOB (see graphic below left) that really matter when dealing with people. I’ve grown in ways that will allow me to use my knowledge more effectively.

Michael: What has surprised you the most about your One Stone experience?

Basil: I didn’t really understand how bad at communicating I was. It was bad when I first started, and I’m still far from perfect. But actually doing the things that I’m expected to do to be a part of real life, I lacked the skills to do them. Now, I’m definitely not perfect, but now I’m aware and I’m working on them.

Michael: What do you love most about One Stone?

Basil: That’s a large question. The two things I love about One Stone are the loss of abstraction usually carried in higher levels of education and how grounded One Stone is in the stuff that really matters in education.

For example, we have built a lot of learning experiences in One Stone around a physical purpose. By focusing on math, I can best explain it. When math was being discovered, it was all about solving a real problem, but now when we typically teach algebra, who cares about x? Education too often has abstracted learning to the point where there’s no point. We lose the purpose. We lose the reason. One Stone is rooted in reasoning and purpose. Like our Math Sprints. Like Brand Branding. Like Artifacts and Artifiction. Everything we do at One Stone is student-driven, and therefore, it’s always relevant to the learner.

Michael: What are you most excited about right now?

Basil: That’s a very interesting question. A lot of stuff really. Right now, I’m excited about my DLab team. We are in the final stages of prototyping and testing an interactive phishing-education for St. Luke’s employees to understand the dangers of email phishing related to patient safety.

In Brand Building, I’ve had the chance to explore 3D modeling and learn how to use the new CNC router in The Foundry. I’ve designed new exterior signage for One Stone. I had to figure out how all the software and machinery works. I got to design the CAD. My next step is to propose my plans and ideas to TPop (Teresa Poppen) and our contractor in order to get permission to do the manufacturing and installation. Next, I will learn about building codes and all sorts of stuff I never thought of.

I’m also very excited with how The Foundry is coming along. It’s made leaps and bounds. We are still improving and figuring out the tools, but we are close to mastering most of the equipment and we will be able to fabricate some really incredible stuff pretty soon.

Mostly, I love how One Stone as an organization is so focused on design thinking. As coaches and students, we use it to solve problems. We are always improving, always getting better. We’re never satisfied with being good enough.

Michael: You’re obviously passionate about this stuff. Why?

Basil: My mom is a teacher and I care deeply about the future of education, and seeing the way One Stone is reinventing learning for each student makes me extremely optimistic.


His answers to these questions make me proud of his self-awareness and passion for project-based learning, but it is his actions that make all of us here at One Stone impressed with his growth as a whole person.

Recently, Basil’s Design Lab team, Don’t Take the Bait, was reflecting following a series of presentations. Basil’s sustained leadership and vision were a driving force from day one.

Following the meeting, we were defining our next steps and assigning roles, when Basil’s teammate said, “I can work on the design of the game cards with Basil since this is his vision.”

This was the kind of trap that even an adept leader might fall into, but Basil handled it like a pro.

“It may have been my vision initially, but it is our vision now,” Basil responded. “We are a team. Your ideas are just as important as mine. I want everyone to feel like your opinions matter.”

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Interview and article written by Michael Reagan, a One Stone coach and Two Birds program director.