Summer+ Learning 2018-19

Advancing MVx With a Focus on People-Centeredness

Inquiry, Empathy and Prototyping Our Lives

We are a school of inquiry, innovation, and impact. Grounded in Christian values, we prepare all students to be college ready, globally competitive, and engaged citizen leaders.

As a school of inquiry, innovation, and impact, our faculty and staff feel a powerful calling to be continuous learners who are growing and developing our professional practice for the good of our students and community. We are leaders in the education industry, and we believe we have an obligation to enhance our own knowledge and skills, so that we can guide others responsibly.

In our strategic response to the world around us - a plan we can MVx - we have three primary design drivers:

  1. How might we make school more reflective of real life?
  2. How might we empower all learners to be seekers and explorers?
  3. How might we inspire one another - and the larger world - through the work we undertake together?

In this year's Summer+ Learning, our focus is on design thinking, a long-standing foundation for our work and leadership at Mount Vernon, as well as an important method of inquiry-based learning that empowers us to pursue all of our MVx design drivers in exciting and integrated ways.

In addition to our common focus on design thinking, our Summer+ Learning also provides a number of books to chose from that connect to some of our other strategic priorities as a school, such as mind, brain and education science, as well as civil discourse and diverse networks.

Equally important, we believe in using the gift of summer on the school calendar to find margin for rest, reflection, recreation and relationships. It's critical to take care of YOU so that you can continue to care for others.

See the two headings below for a quick snapshot of our MV Summer+ Learning for 2018-19, and keep scrolling for even more detail.

Taking Care of You

Engage in the 4R's and Pursue a Passion

"Curiosity and passion drive learning" stands strong as a key design principle and practice at Mount Vernon. And in MVx, we clearly want to empower all learners to be seekers and explorers who spend time discovering and pursuing what excites them and leads to feelings of purpose. What's more, for a couple of years at MVPS, we have been learning more about the 4 R's: Rest, Recreation, Reflection and Relationships. So, for Summer+ Learning, our Mount Vernon learning community first and foremost wants you to take care of you, as you spend so much of your time taking care of others. Pursue that curiosity or passion of your own, prioritize the 4 R's, and consider how you might fill your bucket. If you want to, think about tweeting what you're doing to #MVPSchool or send an email to a group, so that others who are engaged in related explorations might connect with you.

Diverse Network Challenge: As you engage in your hobbies, curiosities and 4 R's, consider who you might connect with to expand and enrich your diverse network. With all of your interactions this summer, who might be a great person to tap as an external expert for a design challenge with your learners and colleagues?

Taking Care of "We"

Common Reading and Choice Options

As a shared and common learning experience, the Mount Vernon Faculty and Staff will read on the topic and practice of design thinking.This common read provides us a chance to reconnect with WHY we use design thinking as such a fundamental and vital strategy for inquiry-based learning and real-world problem solving across all of our grade levels and age levels at Mount Vernon. You may chose to read one or more of the following books:

Diverse Network Challenge: As you read and explore design thinking, consider who you might connect with to expand and enrich your diverse network. With all of your interactions this summer, who might be a great person to tap as an external expert for a design challenge with your learners and colleagues?

"Option B" for Summer+ Learning 2018-19

What If I See a More Personalized and Customized Track for My Learning?

Mount Vernon believes deeply in personalizing, individualizing and customizing learning. So, if "Option A" proposed above and detailed below does not fit the personal and professional learning needs of a faculty/staff member, then she or he can write, propose and defend a Personal Summer+ Learning Plan to submit to a committee of four reviewers: Division Head, Head of Learning and Innovation, Chief Learning and Innovation Officer and Chief Integration Officer. Once the written proposal has been reviewed, the faculty/staff member will have a meeting with the committee to discuss the reasoning and viability of the alternative "Option B" plan.

Consider This...

Suggestions for Sharing the Well this Summer


As you play and learn, share what you're learning and thinking on Twitter with #MVPSchool.

Cognitive Brew

Consider connecting with others over a beverage of choice for an impromptu book club.

Share a Post

If you feel so inclined, we'd love for you to share a post on mvifi.org/blog.

Design Thinking: Inquiry-based Learning and People-centered Problem Solving

Read at Least One of These Selections

Copy TK:

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Glimmer: How Design Can Transform Your Business, Your Life, and Maybe Even the World

Some have called this book "a beach read about design thinking." Throughout the book, we learn about a number of Bruce Mau's mantras from his "Incomplete Manifesto for Growth," and we are empowered to recognize and practice the power of design thinking in whatever industry or endeavor we are working and engaging. It is both philosophical and highly practical.

Also published under the title CAD Monkeys, Dinosaur Babies and T-Shaped People: Inside the World of Design Thinking and How It Can Spark Creativity and Innovation.


Creative Confidence: Unleashing the Creative Potential Within Us All


Launch: Using Design Thinking to Boost Creativity and Bring Out the Maker in Every Student

A Mini Library for MVPS Strategic Objectives

Read at Least One of these Selections

The titles below have been curated by a number of people with contributions based on the faculty and staff survey, as well as those based on very specific strategic priorities for the school, as guided my MVx. Readers can find the "shelves" organized essentially in the following way:

  • Understanding Self, Respecting Others, and Engaging in Civil Discourse
  • Inquiry-based Learning and Assessment
  • Mind, Brain and Education Science
  • Creativity and Innovation

The Power of Moments: Why Certain Experiences Have Extraordinary Impact


Fearless Conversations School Leaders Have to Have


Blindspot: Hidden Biases of Good People


Anti-Bias Education for Young Children and Ourselves

Copy TK: Kelly Kelly


The Road Back to You: An Enneagram Journey to Self-Discovery

I have taken every personality assessment under the sun - some helpful and others not so much - but the ancient wisdom known as the Enneagram has truly risen above the rest. The self-awareness that comes through understanding your Enneagram type (based on 9 different types) is transformative because it holds both your truest self and your shadow self together, with the purpose of helping you move toward becoming the healthiest, best version of yourself. Understanding the Enneagram types also unlocks a greater sense of empathy for those you interact with daily - family, friends, and colleagues. This Enneagram is truly a game changer, and the newest book, “The Road Back to You” by Ian Morgan Cron and Suzanne Stabile is the most accessible way to learn your type and begin this journey of self-discovery. - Brian Burchik


Dive into Inquiry: Amplify Learning and Empower Student Voice


Engaging Children's Minds: The Project Approach

Children have a strong disposition to explore and discover. The Project Approach builds on natural curiosity, enabling children to interact, question, connect, problem-solve, communicate, reflect, and more. This kind of authentic learning extends beyond the classroom to each student’s home, community, nation, and the world. It essentially makes learning the stuff of real life and children active participants in and shapers of their worlds. - Erin Carey


A More Beautiful Question: The Power of Inquiry to Spark Breakthrough Ideas


Thinking and Acting Like a Designer


Embedding Formative Assessment


Transforming Your Teaching: Practical Classroom Strategies Informed by Cognitive Neuroscience


Making Classrooms Better: 50 Practical Applications of Mind, Brain, and Education Science


The Wild Card: 7 Steps to an Educator's Creative Breakthrough

Hope & Wade King are some of the most creative, innovative teachers who love children. For anyone who might feel tired or worn out, this book is a shot of adrenaline that will re-ignite your love of learning, spark your creative flair, and empower you to fulfill your potential as a transformational teacher. With practical ways to make your classroom more creative, and an authentic story-driven way of relating to teachers, this book feels authentic and relatable. Teachers talking to teachers. A quick read that you won’t want to put down! #YouAreAnArtist - Matthew Neylon


Maker-Centered Learning: Empowering Young People to Shape Their Worlds


The power of SIMPLE: Transform your school by conquering standards, individualizing learning and creating a community of innovators

This book focuses on empowering others. Recognizing the need for innovation, flexible spaces, different schedules, real-world work, etcetera, this book puts the teacher at the center and simplifies the way we think about change. If you’re new to Mount Vernon or you’ve been here a while and still can’t figure out how all the pieces fit together, this is a simple 100-page book that captures the essence of why we are moving in this direction and ties it all together in a human-centered, easy-to-understand format. - Matthew Neylon

Resources & Rabbit Holes: Pathfinders, Talks, Influencers & Grants

Ideas Worth Exploring (that Help Us Imagine Possibility)

Past Summer+ Learning Pathfinders

Curious about what the Mount Vernon Learning Community has focused on during past Summer+ Learning experiences? Check out our previous common reads, choice books, and other learning pathways on the MV Learns page: http://www.mvifi.org/mvlearns/.

MoVe Talks

Does all of this thinking about MVx cause you to want to dig in even more?! Then consider spending some time within the MVIFI MoVe Talks page: http://www.mvifi.org/movetalks/.

MVPS Influencers

During much of the last decade, Mount Vernon has experienced influences from a number of intriguing and important sources. We keep a growing list of our influencers at http://www.mvifi.org/influencers/.

MVIFI Grants

Each year, MVIFI awards grants to faculty and staff who are pursuing various strategic projects connected to our School objectives, as well as our mission of inquiry, innovation and impact. Discover a number of the grant topics at http://www.mvifi.org/grants/.