Adaptive Expertise – Part 1 of 3

Author: Patrick Baker  • 
Since beginning to work at Allen almost two years ago, we have been continuously talking about Adaptive Expertise.  Now, the school’s mission includes this wording – which is both bold and unique.  Still, the concept of adaptive expertise is worth unpacking because it is fundamental to our daily work.

So what is Adaptive Expertise?  Adaptive expertise is essentially the combination of skills and attitudes to be prepared to welcome an increasingly uncertain future; it’s a model built on an intentionally intimate scale.  Fundamentally, it is about developing oneself within relationships and consistently promoting the values of grit, self-awareness, and a growth mindset as well as the importance of challenging assumptions and taking risks within a safe environment.

Well great, Matt.  What about after Allen Academy?  What does Adaptive Expertise mean for Allen graduates in college?  In college, Allen alumni will exhibit leadership, find passion for future work or study, and tinker with ideas that may become a business or career-they continue to hone a personal vision.
And beyond college?  Allen alumni are self-confident, engaged team players.  They immerse themselves into their work with a work hard/play hard attitude.  Our alumni feel and respect fear of the unknown, but are not afraid to make mistakes.  They willingly take on seemingly impossible tasks.
Instead of just college prepared, we want alumni to be fully prepared.  Adaptive expertise in our alumni is about attitude: optimism and resilience.  For example, if their company dissolves and they are out of work, they see it as an opportunity to start over, using their gifts and talents to create something new and better.
What about alumni further down the road?  In their later years, whether officially “retired” or not, alumni of Allen Academy still love what they do so much that they can’t walk away from it.  They are engaged with their community, still contributing, and investing in the next generation of adaptive experts.
Allen Academy cultivates the skills and attitudes that characterize adaptive expertise, equipping students with the mindset necessary for academic success, preparation for life, and meaningful contribution to their local, college, and global communities.

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