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Wow- this is a really cool idea. I live in Guatemala and can see how this could be a great innovation. I assume that farmers here would cultivate insects primarily to feed livestock? I wonder how you would go about getting early-adopters to try this method versus the traditional corn/free-range livestock feeding that is the present norm. Have you seen rural farmers adopt this type of innovation elsewhere? What is it about this change that entices them to try it?

Hi Ashley- thanks for reading about the initiative. The "platform" is both a physical and metaphorical space. We see it as a school that is integrating the world's best educational innovations but doing so with a unique empathy-angle since all educators are same-gender/race as the students they teach. This is challenging since we are investing in human resources (both students and teachers) that come from what is arguably the most marginalized population in the western hemisphere: rural, Mayan, female, poor. With the right intervention, can this group access spaces of power and decision-making in ONE generation? The approach consists of enormous amounts of design thinking since many external ideas and innovations require significant levels of contextualization. Girl Pioneers in the school come from families that are often illiterate and from remote Mayan villages. Most do not speak Spanish. Even the most (seemingly) simple possible solutions to emerging challenges require intensive and continually iterative processes. The idea of local women determining the philosophy and approach to engaging girls and families was best described to me through a recent story:

A 7th grade Girl Pioneer showed up to school with a broken sandal. It is understood that this is her one pair of shoes, so this presents a real challenge to her. The immediate impulse from someone not from the context is to simply get her a new pair of sandals- done deal, right? However, the response from her teacher that morning was one of empathy: "Oh, that is rough- I remember when that happened to me a few times. Come sit with me and I can show you a trick to put it back together again"). It is a micro example of the approach. Can this empathy coupled with amazing educational innovation unlock the talent that Guatemala desperately needs? We believe so.

Great question. Right now, we are firmly in prototype phase with grades 7-8. Iteration at this point is relatively easy and immediate, but we know it gets more challenging when we have grades 7-12. One big area where immediate feedback loops are in place is on the selection of students. This is occurring right now (we are halfway through the school year in Guatemala). We select students from 6th grades now, and they will be onboarded from July-Dec.

As we grow out, we hope to sustain the org culture that celebrates innovation. The network of external innovators is a big asset since they can help identify areas where we can tinker.

As for curriculum, we do not have a single source but rather draw from around the world. We found that adopting a curriculum or methodology wholesale (like IB or Expeditionary Learning) did not fit our context. This certainly makes it more difficult in the short-term, but it fits the needs of our users.

Thanks for the comments and for the support!