by Katie McKellar, BCIL Curriculum Innovator and Collaborator
"If you have a day that is challenging, do you know how to regain a sense of balance and joy?" By the murmuring in the room, the answer among the students seemed pretty obvious. "We're going to put the "L.A" back in Latinx! The city will be our textbook as we explore tattoos, protests, riots, court cases, and the history behind Dodger Stadium." The room cheered. "Students will design, build, and study various innovations for water lifting, storing, and distribution." You could almost feel the mental gears in the room start to churn as students imagined what this type of learning would look like. "Do you have a business idea you want to launch? This is your opportunity!" These were just some of the initial pitches that students heard when gathered by grade level in the theater this past month to hear about the launching of new Belldegrun Center for Innovative Leadership courses for the 2019-2020 school year.
Teachers from across departments in the Upper School have been busy during the past several months envisioning courses that bring to life the BCIL's mission to prepare community members to engage with real world challenges and explore solutions within and beyond the classroom. "The Science of Well-Being," a course modeled off of the most popular undergraduate course at Yale, will give students the tools for maintaining a sense of happiness and balance in their life. For the culminating project, students will develop and implement a wellness campaign for Brentwood School or a community partner. "Latinx in Los Angeles" will provide students with an opportunity to understand their city in a new way and unpack the many narratives of what it means to identify as Latinx in Los Angeles in the early 21st Century. Students in "Sustainable Earth Engineering" will study climate change and the exponential growth of the human population and prototype solutions to some of the most pressing environmental challenges of the 21st Century. Building off the success of our Entrepreneurship course, a new second-semester elective will give the students the skills to develop the back-end of a new business venture, including identifying resources, preparing financing and finances, and establishing key partners. Many of these courses will take advantage of the new BCIL Fabrication Lab, and all will revolve around the BCIL Core Leadership Skills. Click here for a complete listing of the BCIL course offerings.