How to Drive Student Engagement? Unleash a Swarm.

(upbeat music) – All right, who wants to go first? (cheering)
My role here is to provide a world class
education for these kids. And so I challenge my
teachers on a different level. (dramatic music) Don’t, don’t open or look. Don’t open or look. – Some of the staff is unsure and they’re kind of like “Okay,
we’re doing something new” and I don’t think they have
any idea of the level of hype and the level of competition
that this house system will bring to people. (upbeat music) – We think you can change the outcome of every single student
by living your legacy. – What we’re about to do will change Fred Lynn
Middle School forever. (students cheering) – Watch your back! (students chattering) (school bell ringing) (soft piano music) – Welcome, welcome, let’s go, let’s go! Welcome back, let’s go. You guys got bigger over
summer, welcome back. – Middle school, it’s a
pretty impossible situation that we put kids in. They’re hitting puberty
and they’re growing. And making their own choices. And we put it all together
and throw over a thousand of them in the same building. – Originally, Fred Lynn
was a failing school. Year after year we failed. Year after year the
school, there were aspects of success, but overall the school failed. All right, no hoods, cell phones away! And then all of the
sudden Hamish Brewer comes in with this whole new mindset. – I think Brewer is best
described as a walking stick of dynamite that you never
know where it’s going to go off and what it’s going to impact. – Oh, there’s a swarm coming. Oh thank you, thank you, very good. I always think back to when I was a kid. The most amazing experiences
I had, I was having fun. My job as a great leader
is to lift people up and make them better. Look out, what’s up, Crappe? Before I got here to Fred Lynn, a lot of people thought I was crazy. Why would you go there? Where others had failed,
where others hadn’t succeeded, why would you go there and take it on? Because it’s bigger, it’s about legacy, it’s not about me. What’s up slick, how you doin’, man? How was your summer?
– It was good. – You have a good summer? We really believe that people
today, including students, they want to be part of something special. We’re on a mission to
change what education and schooling looks like
for everybody in the world. And we’re starting that
right here in our school. All right, let’s get started. So we’re here to talk
about the house system. A lot of people know a house system is, say, Harry Potter. And it goes back even further. I, in fact, as a student in school, was part of a house system. I’ve been motivated
around the house system from the time I was a kid. And it’s something I’ve done
at every school I’ve been at. (students cheering) In a house system, you divide your student population into groups. Students get an opportunity to earn points through their positive interactions, it can be from picking up trash, supporting a peer, stopping bullying. – Each house is accumulating
points each and every day that leads us to an end
of semester champion. What we found is kids were so engaged, they didn’t want to let anybody down. School discipline issues went down and engagement went up as well. This year’s about an invitation. And the invitation is
that we’d be satisfied with what we’ve achieved,
and we’d be okay, but are we satisfied with that? Is that our ceiling? Special things only come
around very few times in our careers. And I sense that’s building again for us. (upbeat music) We’re not just doing a house system because it’s fun, it goes beyond that. It brings our entire school together. We’re taking that house system, and we’re turning it into the Swarms. It’s rooted in what the
theme of our school is. When we talk about Fred Lynn Hornets. All right, so, we’ve come
to five different swarms. Five swarms, five names,
and five meanings. The next question I have
is would we want a symbol for each of these things, or we’re just going to stay
with the color with the octagon? – We talked about student buy-in. To me, this would be like
the super ultimate thing for Art to bring into their class. – Ooh, we could do it that way. – And then we give this to
your top eighth grade artist. – Let’s do it.
– We take a survey. – Let’s do it, let’s
have the students own it, that’d be great! I’ll get started on getting
that out, great job! – We’re about 3 weeks out until launch. The kids only know that Swarms are coming. And they’re not 100% sure what Swarms are. So they don’t know yet. (upbeat music) – Guess what, you have
been called down here because you’ve been identified as someone that might be able to draw. And you’re gonna help us with something. This is the biggest secret
in Fred Lynn history. If you can’t keep the secret,
you should sneak out now. We’re at middle school. Middle schoolers are gonna call us out if they’re a part of something lame. So we had our kids design our T-shirts. Our kids own this. If your Swarm is chosen,
your design will go on the back of the T-shirt forever. – The whole Swarm system is gonna bring a really big positive
spin to the culture here. We’re gonna see relationships
only get stronger and bigger. I think we do have students
who feel like they don’t have somewhere to belong, that they’re not particularly accepted. The goal is to give
everyone a family within this larger Hornets family. So we’ve landed on five swarms. We’ve named them after
different species of hornets. – We’ve taken five hornets
from around the world and applied their names with meaning. We wanted to circle back
around to character traits that we’re looking for in our students. This whole thing is
going to create momentum in your classroom, it’s going to create momentum as a school. Middle school is tough
for both kids and staff, and we need a way to break down
what barriers we have left. And the Swarms give us this opportunity to build relationships school wide. Eighth grade students that
produced artwork for Mr. Brewer, please report to my
office with your artwork. Every single one of these
could be on a T-shirt. We’ve got a lot of hard
decisions to make going forward, so we’ll be working hard to
make sure that we get this turned around pretty
quick from here, okay? I could not be more proud of you guys. This design here was one of
the really good student designs that the students liked. So what we did is we took that and we put it on the back of a T-shirt. And we put in the names of all 5 Swarms. So then you’ve got that five
swarms, one hive concept. It’s gonna be great. – So all I know is that Monday, we’re gonna find out our Swarms, the kids have been begging us
to tell them. We have no idea. – Right now, we don’t know anything, and it’s eating me alive, I don’t like it. (laughing) – The staff seems excited. – Definitely, I mean we’re
trying to compete already. We don’t even know our Swarms yet. We’re like, listen, my
Swarm’s already the best. – I think it’s gonna be
massive for the school. For sure. (gentle music) – Any kind of change, like, at this level you have to have complete staff buy-in. Because it’s so much bigger than what it comes down to on paper. – There’s a lot of coordinating in the building on a regular day. And I don’t think a lot
of people realize that. When you add something like this into it, you know, you’re still
doing your regular work. I couldn’t even concentrate
on anything else, because I’ve been so
obsessed with the Swarm. To be part of the building
process is exciting. An even more important part of it is, that we as a staff built this together. (staff chattering) – Are we ready? Let’s go! Come here! Let’s go! Let’s go! Let’s go! Let’s go! At the beginning of the year, I said to everybody, I said,
we have an opportunity. And that invitation to
step through the door. To go from really good to that
really spectacular and great. Our legacy is to give our kids something to hope and strive for. When everything else around
them might be falling down, this won’t be. This gives them a vehicle to feel success wherever they are in our school. You’re signing up for hard, hard work. But it’s the most rewarding
work that you’ll ever do. So who’s ready to get the Swarms started? Who’s ready to find out their Swarms? (cheering) – Yeah. All right, so here we go. We’re gonna find out who
is in Basilis, Ducalis, Velutina, and Crabro, and Luctuosa. (cheering) – Hornet Swarms! – Here we go, baby! Lucosia! Let’s go! Let’s go! Let’s go! (dramatic music) – Yo, Slater, what are you doing? – Me? Setting up the school for Crabro. They were talking bad about the Blue Team. Saying that we had no school spirit. Everybody’s talking bad about Crabro, so. Just wanted to show up today for the kids. (dramatic music) – Hey, look out. Look out. Cranis! That’s what I’m talking about, baby. My challenge to each of
my staff and students is to leave Fred Lynn
better than they found it. We’ve built something really special. If we can get this right, it’s gonna give our students the voice to be the very best version of themselves. We ain’t finished, we’re
just getting started. (upbeat music) – You can’t have students opting
out and not participating. They’ve got to have
ownership of their house. Who’s ready to get started
this morning, eighth grade? (cheering) Who’s ready to get started? Just know that our sixth
graders and our seventh graders, they’re looking at you to be leaders, to lead the way and show
them how to have some fun and enjoy being at school and continuing to make our school great. Today is all about you,
it’s not about us now. It’s all about you. (upbeat music)
Who wants to go first? Who wants to go first? Don’t open it. All right, you ready? Five, four, three, two, one. Open it up! Go, go, go! – By having eighth graders be leaders, it kind of puts that message out that, this is what we want to be doing and what we want for our school. So I think what’s gonna
happen is we’re gonna see so much more positive come
out because these kids are gonna be given these leadership roles. – Students, scream! (students cheering) We’re on a mission to
change what education and schooling looks like
for everybody in the world. Who’s ready to party? We left a legacy today. Like we wrote a story about this school that’s never been written before. And it was all you. It was all you. We stepped through the door today. It’s what we do with it now that counts. Five Swarms!
– One Hive! – Five Swarms!
– One Hive! – Five Swarms!
– One Hive! (upbeat music) – We’ve had our fun. But now we want it to go
beyond just a celebration, to now be about what’s happening in the classroom. We’ve got our academics, our behavior, setting the scene, continuing to strive
for our legacy of kids winning in the classroom
and outside the classroom. (upbeat music) We’ve been following the story here at Fred Lynn Middle School for three years And we loved it so much we turned it into a docuseries. If you don’t want to miss an episode… Subscribe to Freethink.

Michael Martin

21 Responses

  1. Gosh how I wish I had a uplifting, motivated, inspiring Principal like this when I was in school? Had I been exposed to this kind of enthusiasm, my life would be much different as far as being more academically educated?

  2. This should be the most popular video immediately. All schools should ask their students to watch just to get the juices flowing…'ll be amazed at what will happen next. I am much much older, but I am ready to join them now!!!

  3. I am setting aside $100 for the top swarm. Who will join me? Can we raise $1 Million? Reply and we will coordinate it. The funds will go to an escrow account with complete transparency. Let's do it!!!

  4. Yea! I'm reliving the excitment from that day every time I watch this video.
    Thank you Fred Lynn students and staff for the opportunity to tell your story!

  5. I had a good time in school growing up and we didn't have any of this. I'd love to talk to these kids once they're adults and hear them reflect on this experience.

  6. This idea is destined to fail. Students wont identify with their house like they will with their clique. If the houses are just randomly assigned, they are meaningless.

  7. I'm unsure as to what I just watched 😕 but it looks interesting- don't know much about Harry Potter or an academic housing system. Wishing my middle school's staff & principal had as much enthusiasm as this one! Hamish comes off as some student's crazy, lovable dad more than a principal lol.

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