Rise: Voice of a New Generation

One Stone in Boise continues to be one of the most progressive high school programs in the nation. Armed with a mission to empower a youth army of “good for good,” the bedrock of their program – student voice, has been beautifully delivered through Jon Long’s documentary, Rise: Voice of a New Generation.

Nestled in the heart of downtown Boise, One Stone continues to thrive as they prepare for their first class of graduates. What started as a community based after-school enrichment program over a decade ago, has become a student-centered incubator for innovation and disruption for good. With signature components that redefine the high school learning experience, it continues to iterate on its model for students, through students, with fidelity in their application of design thinking.

Pictured above, the center of their Disruption BLOB (Bold Learning OBjectives) is firmly anchored by “Voice,” with the subtitle, “How might we express who we are with confidence?” This focal point is intentional and brought to life in their student-driven approach to all things One Stone. From the composition of their Board of Directors, outlined in their by-laws that it must be made up of at least 2/3 students (I observed last week, noting that there were 13 students and 4 adults) with students leading, running and delivering the decision making process for THEIR school.

In the Summer of 2017, Jon Long, Founder and CEO of The Earth Network set out to create a film that would capture innovations in learning. His vision was clear and his passion-filled mission was focused on looking at innovative learning experiences that would support others in their pursuit of imagining the future of learning. On his first visit to One Stone, Long identified a unique quality to the One Stone experience that bordered on indescribable.  To that extent, in collaboration with a variety of other inspiring practices, he saw an unrivaled level of student voice and immediately shifted focus. Over the course of the next year, Long and his crew, returned for hundreds of hours of footage that, on Tuesday, April 2nd arrived at the world premiere of the documentary Rise: Voice of a New Generation.

As I sat in the sold-out Egyptian Theater with approximately 800 attendees, the film, by my assessment and review, exceeded Long’s initial mission of capturing the Why, How and inspiration connected to the “power of student voice.” This film, which should be seen by students, educators and communities far and wide, creates a platform for a discussion that transcends programming with relevance for transformation in all learning environments. In 50 minutes, each viewer travels through a holistic, yet personalized journey of students that have found their voice. More importantly, you will witness what can be done when students are empowered and armed with the confidence to use their voices to disrupt for good.

At the film’s conclusion, there was a student-led panel that topped the night off with a display of agency that overflowed with personalized pride of ownership. As I listened to a variety of follow up conversations in the theater and lobby, I was taken aback by a Grandmother’s description of her Year 2 (traditional classification would be a high school junior) grandson’s experience at One Stone as “learning on fire.” It was a perfect ending to this inspiring premier and a wonderful launch to a project that will amplify a new generation of voices to “Rise.”

As the global screening tour of the film will soon be underway, inquiries and showing partnership opportunities can be presented to One Stone’s Caitlyn Scales by email at [email protected] or Jon long at The Earth Network, [email protected].

Ready to join and take the movement to the next level? Mark your calendars and travel to Boise on October 24th and 25th for One Stone’s Education Summit to Empower Student Voice. The One Stone team and like-minded students, educators and leaders from around the country will deliver an engaging experience aligned with empowering student leadership and ownership through voice.

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Adam Kulaas

Adam is a learning design consultant. He focuses on capacity building and is known for his work in coaching, learning design and leadership development.

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1 Comment

John Smith

Wow !! Nice post. Thanks for sharing. I agree with you.

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