10 Thoughtful Reflections from our Trip to One Stone

Why One Stone?

One Stone is a student-led and -directed nonprofit that makes students better leaders and the world a better place. Our program empowers high school students to learn and practice 21st century skills through experiential service, innovative initiatives, social entrepreneurship, and the radical reinvention of learning.

If we want Empower to be an innovative space, we (students, families, and staff) need to see innovative spaces that expand our expectations for what schooling can be. One Stone was the last inspiration visit of our Community Design Process and it was worth the wait!

Kevin: Coaches motivated students to start class, curriculum was interesting and made students want to learn.

Connor: At the end of everyday, they had a community circle with the whole school. Students made announcements, gave updates. It was joyful, short (5 min), and led by students.

Karim: Power was shared between students and teachers. Trust and communication was paramount. Strong relationships is what made this equal share of power possible. All students did projects that were based in the larger community. 

Wisdom: Environment felt collegiate, calming, and innovative. This kind of space inspires students to show up as their best selves. Space itself communicates high expectations.

Marco: Students had freedom to manage their own needs and learning. 

Sirus: No grades. Students were motivated to learn because they wanted to explore their passions and develop skills, not just because it impacted their grade. 

Valeria: Students and teachers had very deep relationships. They were close, while also maintaining boundaries. 

Jeremiah: Teachers trust students. After school, students are able to stay and keep working on their projects. 

Haley: Coaches really trusted students. They had high expectations, students could practice freedom.

Olivia: The level of ownership students felt over their learning and the space. The school didn't open with a recording studio. Students who wanted a space to record music and podcasts applied and secured a $5,000 grant, did the research, bought the materials and then did the work to transform a room in the building into Ripple Studios. 

Other Student Quotes:

“Purpose of education is to build community”

“Education is about growing yourself. Liberation is a way to expand. No one is going to tell you ‘stop, this is the limit of what you can learn’”

“Schools are kind of like a dictatorship”

“We can bounce ideas off of each other and grow something powerful together. Together, we could grow the education we want.”

“Teachers are coaches. The students are the ones who are doing the problem-solving.”