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Hope in the Hallways: Episode 2

Adaptive Learning from Authentic Problems with Leigh Northrup

Leigh Northrup

November 17, 2022

Leigh Northrup’s unofficial title is “Middle School Dean of Fun,” but if you want to get technical, Leigh is Cannon’s Dean of Technology and Innovation. He’s been with the school for over twenty years and is passionate about creating opportunities for kids to learn problem-solving and the value of mistakes.

In this episode, you’ll understand why the word ‘fun’ is a part of Leigh’s title, albeit unofficially. Whether he’s coaching the robotics team or tinkering in the ThinkTank, Leigh works every day to challenge the perception that school has to be boring. As you listen, you’ll hear how Leigh leverages our non-traditional learning environments to make lessons come alive and have a greater impact on students.

After You Listen:

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Key Takeaways:

  • When kids are faced with authentic problems, they have the opportunity to find authentic solutions
  • Overcoming the fear of failure is essential. If kids don’t learn to fail, they don’t learn how to pick themselves up again
  • The only way to keep moving forward is to keep growing

Things to listen for:

[02:24] What’s going on in the ThinkTank

[03:24] The value of figuring it out

[07:07] Leigh’s Cannon origin story

[11:43] Finding your place at Cannon

[15:07] Reflecting on our values

[17:15] Busting the myth that school can’t be fun

[18:18] Leigh’s favorite memory as a Cannon Dad

[23:15] The goal of Coaches Corner

[26:29] Standout ThinkTank projects

[28:48] Overcoming the fear of failure

[37:51] Leigh’s hope for Cannon

[39:32] Christopher’s takeaways

Transcript of this episode.