September 19, 2016

The Wright Brothers were the greatest innovators the world has ever known. Period. I know that's a bold claim, but let me explain why...

Back in 1903 the race was on all around the world to invent the first plane that could fly. In the engineering of the plane, people became utterly obsessed with “the engine”.

Inventors started building larger and larger engines with more and more horsepower and strapping them to planes.  People came from all over the world to observe these engines, and marvel in their complexity. 

But there was a problem. This craze with the engine resulted in some of the fanciest and mos...

September 1, 2016

It’s that time of the year again.

Local stores are promoting “back to school sales,” students are purchasing new clothes, and teachers are preparing instructional materials.

Many schools are engaging their staff in professional development before school officially begins. For some, that’s less than a week away.

As a new school leader, what are your key priorities?

I can imagine, given your commitment to improving student learning, that refining instructional practice amongst your staff is high on the priority list. But before you go sifting through data and refining your school’s standards, there’s something that according to rese...

August 27, 2016

For as long as I can remember, I was really good at school. Not because I fully understood the concepts, but because I was REALLY GOOD at playing the game.

I knew all the rules.

'Fold your hands nicely.'

'Do all your homework.'

'Get the teacher to like you.'

'Study hard the night before exams.'

'Ace the tests.'

Sure, there were different classrooms and teachers, but they all played by similar rules. And I mastered them. I passed school with flying colors, carried a 4.4 G.P.A. my senior year, and got into the top three schools of my choice.

It wasn't until I exited school as a 22 year old that I learned, knowin...

August 26, 2016


You have taken the biggest step towards school transformation. You have envisioned a program that helps align with your school's vision and values.


This booklet is meant to serve as a preliminary guide for developing your program. It is merely a starting point. But… It will encourage you to ask the right questions. It will provide you with concrete deliverables that will help you turn your ambitious vision into a reality.  

Take it in part and parcel.

Take it one step at a time. Starting a new program does take a lot of work, but it starts with a single step. Commit to working through a small portion of...

August 20, 2016

Ten years ago I had the chance to deliver my first project with students. 

I assumed it would be a cinch. I mean, after all, I had been teaching for two years already. How hard could it be? Upon delivering each project- based lesson, I would be welcomed with high- fives and a student created tunnel- daily.

Unfortunately, that was hardly the case. 

Rather than exit each day through a student- created tunnel, I instead exited class each day alone, with my face buried in my hands. 

All I remember thinking was, "Wow, I am not prepared for this."

Projects were infinitely tougher to manage than a classroom. Unlike a classroom with o...

August 11, 2016

What if we designed our schools around the thinking patterns we wanted to promote? What if we tore down the walls that typically confine learning to subject- specific classes and instead opened up the space for integrated, project- based learning? What if schools in the 21st Century were as adaptive and flexible as the most successful businesses?

A typical lesson in Futures Academy

Imagine entering a classroom without a teacher.  Upon opening the door, you step inside a large open space with a rolling whiteboard that stands in the middle of the room. There is a question strewn across its surface: “As members of a new society, ho...

July 1, 2016

I pass the same river every day. It doesn’t look much like a river. With trash that smothers its surface, it looks more like a massive dumping ground for those too lazy to find the nearest trash can. It used to be the most majestic waterway of ancient times. Now, it’s an eyesore.

About a year ago, I purchased a 10 speed bike and committed to biking to school at least one day every week. The river served as a roadmap, winding and meandering to guide me all the way from the city of Beijing to the Shunyi suburbs where I worked. It was on these rides that I swore one day I would try to help return this river to its once majestic st...

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Kyle Wagner
School Transformation and Project- Based Learning Coach

I help forward thinking educators and schools create socially, emotionally, and globally aware citizens through project based learning.

Preliminary School Transformation Guide



Learn how as a school leader to take the first steps to transform student learning at your school!

My Book

Change doesn't have to be so hard. This book equips leaders with simple strategies for school transformation; helping schools conquer standards, individualize learning, and create a community of innovators.

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