Innovator Interviews: A Conversation on Complete Learning with Principal Morgan Alconcher

We’re excited to continue our innovative interview series this month with Morgan Alconcher, principal of ASCEND in East Oakland. ASCEND has partnered with Teach to One: Math since 2015 as part of a school-wide commitment to student-driven learning. In this interview, Alconcher talks about the daily grind of developing a growth mindset and the importance of offering adults the same kinds of learning experiences you want for students.

Read more of our Complete Learner series on the social and emotional learning practices that are part of Teach to One’s Design Tenets:

On Being a Complete Learner

At ASCEND, complete learning is about defining student success in ways that cultivate student agency and value learning as a process. Alconcher says that means students need to be in the driver’s seat when it comes to knowing who they are as learners and understanding how to advocate for what they need to advance.


Read more of our innovator interviews:


On Cultivating a Growth Mindset

Alconcher says that developing a growth mindset isn’t something that happens with a couple of videos followed by a few activities. Alconcher says that the work has to happen every day, in “daily pieces” that build habits of lifelong success and learning: “I think that to really cultivate a growth mindset, it takes a lot of practice and it takes some habit building.”

On Giving Adults Opportunities to Be Students

Of course, it’s not just about the students. In fact, Alconcher says, adults need to work, learn, and develop through the same kinds of experiences you want to have for kids. If educators are being asked to develop students who set goals, exercise agency, and engage in inquiry-based learning, then how can leaders offer adults more opportunities to model practice these habits?

On What the Classroom Will Look Like in 2050

Alconcher says that the learning model will inevitably have to evolve rapidly to address 21st century problems. That means shifting from “place-based school” to learning that is much more experiential and problem-based. One big question mark is how to ensure that students are developing the social and collaboration skills that will be needed to take full advantage of advancements in technology—without losing the human connections that are necessary for solving problems.

New Classrooms