The 2019-20 academic year sees the introduction of the ASL Innovator-in-Residence Program. This new initiative to support innovative teaching and learning across all areas of the curriculum has been made possible by the commitment of a generous and visionary anonymous donor. Through this permanent endowment, students will have direct access to innovative leaders in a diverse range of fields whose work will complement and enhance the ASL approach to interdisciplinary studies.
The focus of the Innovator-in-Residence Program will change annually and take many different forms—the program itself has the flexibility to be “innovative.” Future innovators will represent a combination of fields of interest, and the program will introduce our students, particularly our high schoolers, to individuals with different life experiences, who think and work “outside the box.” The goal is to help our students find fulfillment and purpose in their professional paths, wherever those paths may lead. Innovators-in-residence may be from abroad, or from right here in London. Innovators may hold the residency for one academic year or for shorter, more intensely focused periods of time as appropriate to their interests and work.
We look forward to the creative energy that our innovators will bring to ASL, inspiring our students to new levels of critical thinking and design-based learning, and enabling them to be well prepared for life in a changing world.
2019-20 Innovator-in-Residence: Kwame Alexander
For 2019-20, our innovator-in-residence is Kwame Alexander, one of America’s most inventive and inspiring writers of children’s and young adult fiction and poetry. Kwame is the recipient of the 2015 Newbery Medal for his most distinguished contribution to American literature for children. He brings to ASL an abundance of experience that encapsulates the expansion mindset. Having worked extensively with students K-12 on writing for publication, Kwame has helped them explore connections between writing and business—fueling the imagination, and turning perceived failures into successes. He has spent years encouraging students to be authentic in their writing, to enhance their worldview, and to read, read, read.
Kwame will spend the year mentoring ASL students on writing and publishing projects, and modelling the ways that entrepreneurial skills and unlimited thinking can help open new creative endeavors, as exemplified by his own unique writing style and lifework. In addition, he will provide professional development workshops for faculty and staff, give talks and readings for our community and our community partners, and participate in the wider conversations of the School around diversity, equity and inclusion.
Our adult community summer reading text is Kwame’s novel, Swing, which our older students will also read. Kwame will address the community with a kick-off lecture in September.