Güd Marketing

Güd Talks: Education

by Debbie Horak on April 18, 2023 6 -minute read
At Güd Marketing, we naturally connect and see connections between our clients and friends who work relentlessly to advance education. For some time now, we’ve wanted to bring together a group of leaders and change makers to talk about cross-sector opportunities to transform education systems for the better. In February we sat down for this intentional conversation with four unique powerhouse leaders for our first-ever installment of Güd Talks.
(a) Güd Talk: (phonetic) An opportunity to deeply connect with others who work relentlessly to advance the greater good.
Ex: “I’m curious about your approach to transforming the education system. Could we sit down for a güd talk? Let’s invite a few others to expand our perspective.”
Because a better future requires creative, transformative thinking today, it was no surprise that when we gathered together these champions of change, they quickly found common ground and held a heartfelt, passionate discussion on transforming learning environments, the power of individual mindsets and affordable postsecondary education.
While we spent time looking back at how the pandemic upended the education system, this conversation was hopeful, centered on the new year ahead and the multiple, intersecting, transformative approaches to education that promise to lift up all children and families in Michigan.
Our participants were:
Each participant brought a particular perspective to the big question: How can the transformations taking place in every corner of the education system lead to thriving communities? What solutions are just around the corner? How can we work together to accelerate equity, inclusivity and accessibility?
We’ll share a few insights from our conversation here. We hope you will take heart as you read how these brave change makers are challenging the status quo. Perhaps you will even be inspired to have your own güd talk with the teachers, parents and education leaders in your life.

Transforming Learning Environments

The learning environment was radically upended throughout the COVID-19 pandemic as kitchens became classrooms and classrooms became videoconferences. Although this was an unexpected shock to the system, leaders have been advocating for changes to learning environments for many years. As students return to classrooms, the new reality is this: Two powerful opportunities to transform their learning environments are underway by providing universal pre-K and transforming STEM experiences with 3P learning.
Gov. Whitmer announced earlier this year that her administration would be making investments in universal pre-K. Christy Callahan sees this as a major opportunity for families of children with disabilities, who have been working at both the grassroots and policy levels to achieve increasing measures of equity since the Americans with Disabilities Act was signed into law in 1990.
What folks might not know is that segregated education remains a civil rights issue for children with disabilities, despite evidence demonstrating that inclusive learning environments provide better outcomes for all learners. Callahan says this of inclusive preschool settings: “If we can do it, it will change everything.”
“People learn to be better people. It gets us out of that narrow way of thinking of what education is, and, academically, there are studies that demonstrate that everybody does better.
“When children with disabilities are meaningfully included in preschool settings, it not only benefits their education and outcomes, but it also benefits their peers and the community.” — Christy Callahan
Megan Schrauben works to transform learning environments every day. As the director of the MiSTEM Network, she aims to catalyze authentic, equitable STEM learning experiences through an approach called 3P, which leverages problems, projects and places that are relevant to learners. It is a community-based learning model that reimagines the formal education system to engage all learners in problem-solving and critical thinking.
“Within one semester of a (3P) course happening there is a wait list because kids and families are so engaged. If the school tries to cut the course, the parents say, ‘Absolutely not. We want more of this.’ How can we educate in a way where support from families, their community, and our youth will force that formal system to change for the better?” — Megan Schrauben
The pandemic forced us all to learn to live in isolation, forever redefining our ideas about where and how learning should take place. As we move beyond the past three years, education systems are closer than ever to adopting inclusive approaches that redefine learning environments, advance equity for children with disabilities and make STEM learning an exciting, inviting experience for children all over Michigan.

Transforming Affordability for Postsecondary Education

“It’s not like it was when I was younger. If I was going to attend college, I had to do it on my own. And then, once I became a parent — believe me — I understand that there is a lot going on once you bring a baby home. But I want parents to understand this: If you start saving for college now, we’re going to have a wonderful conversation when your child turns 18 years old.”
But even with these programs in place, the power of individual mindsets can still hold families back from pursuing college or a skills certificate. Robin notes that many students, especially ones who would be first-generation college students, may not have the attitude or awareness that they can succeed in college. She says this to parents and caregivers of children today: “Your child can succeed. Just give them that little push that they need and try to set the expectation at an early age.”
If we want to see a world where education is inclusive, life-changing and leads to communities where everyone can thrive, it will take the hard work of creative and dedicated leaders and more. It requires transformational approaches to learning environments and learning styles, as well as interventions that increase affordability, to uplift children and families. We encourage you to get involved in these innovative approaches and continue this work wherever you are.
Thank you very much to our participants who shared their expertise, found connections and inspired us to keep working toward a future where education is equitable, inclusive and transforms our world for the better.

Debbie Horak

Principal and President
Attitude matters, inspiration seeker, Trekkie, “Star Wars”, sci-fi and twins rule
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