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When I hear the word “shaken” I think of a sifter quickly moving back and forth to shake loose dirt from larger rocks. The stronger substantial rocks remain; the unneeded dirt falls away.

I think many of us would agree that “business as usual” needed a little bit of shaking. Systems, behaviors, beliefs… there was so much unnecessary dirt clouding the way we lived, worked and loved.

Seasons of sifting are scattered throughout human history. They are often forceful, incredibly painful, and always unexpected.

I remember five weeks ago, within the span of 24 hours, everything changed. Thursday, March 12th was a relatively average day. By 11pm on that same evening I frantically recorded and distributed a video to all Big Idea Project teachers with critical instructions for the next day. I felt the shaking begin and I knew that Friday, March 13th would be the last day teachers would see their students for the remainder of the semester.

Since the COVID-19 closures, Big Idea Project has been leading responsive solutions for schools and anticipating changes at a rapid speed. In less than a week after learning about “extended spring breaks,” Big Idea Project had ideated a semester-long solution, developed full curriculum, written teacher guides, set up platforms, and rolled out program-wide training webinars to nearly 200 teachers, mentors and school coordinators.

I believe a shaking was necessary for education. Even so, the pain is real. Students are struggling right now with disengagement, deep disappointment, and declining mental health. Now more than ever, our youngest generation needs you to be intentionally present as their parent, family member, mentor and neighbor. It’s time we remember again how to love one another well. And at the same time, we have an opportunity to redefine what it means to learn and to lead.

I call this season of shaking the Great Reset. As humans, we do not change and grow when times are easy. We grow in the midst of challenge, but only if we choose to respond rightly. Big Idea Project is not just surviving. We are working to lead our partner schools and teachers so well that they know without a doubt we will do all we can to help them meet the real well-being and engagement needs of their students.

This is not the time to throw in the towel and wait it out. It is our responsibility, and yours, to invite young people to shake off the dust, remember why they learn, and actively engage in the current challenge so that they become the leaders they are meant to be.

by Tricia Halsey, Executive Director