I have never been a part of a BHAG before. Last Spring, we set a Big Hairy Audacious Goal (BHAG) for ourselves, and Monday night will mark its completion. Think about the difference between what you have accomplished and the sort of goal that a school usually sets for itself:
“A predetermined number of grade 11 students will demonstrate higher levels of proficiency by achieving at or above the federally mandated, nationally measured 41st percentile ranking on a standardized test given at ten o’clock on a Thursday morning during the dead of winter while seated at a desk in a straight row, as measured by the number of correctly darkened bubbles on a scanned sheet while using a #2 pencil.”
While this S.M.A.R.T. goal is (arguably) laudable, I cannot honestly say that I find it to be particularly inspirational. Contrast the proficiency goal with our January LIVE BHAG:
“Every student and every teacher in our high school will simultaneously engage in real-world Project Based Learning, fully immersed in rigorous, creative, transformative work which will extend beyond the classroom to make a deep and lasting impact on our students, our teachers and our community.”
That is a BHAG: a big, hairy, audacious goal! When it was first proposed, many of us shook our heads wondering if it was even remotely possible. And now, at the end January, I am shaking my head not in skepticism but in amazement. The crazy thing about this BHAG is that you didn’t just reach the goal—you rocked the BHAG! You led expeditionary learning adventures in foreign lands, and the Florida Keys. You contracted with community partners to build an enormous sculpture that will outlast us all. Your students can design housing developments, create fashion shows, and produce a 1940’s murder mystery drama—in Spanish! You released your students to become regional experts with marketable skills in the utilization and application of animation technologies and professional recording software.
Perhaps most audacious of all, nearly half of the graduating class of 2012 has become a part of the business and professional landscape of Spirit Lake. In partnership with their Workplace Mentors, our senior interns have designed websites, engineered new streets, developed marketing strategies, cared for patients and so much more! Our students can now proudly report, “We are Spirit Lake!”
So, we rocked the BHAG. Strangely enough, I predict that we will ALSO rock the proficiency goal! If we shoot for the stars, we’ll reach the moon, too.
Spirit Lake High School students and teachers like a challenge: go ahead, give us a BHAG.
We will make it LIVE.