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Building a “Bridge to Brave” at Innovation Tech


As schools reopened in the middle of a pandemic, facilitators at Innovation Tech wanted to empower students with a meaningful project, one that would address their social and emotional needs and also connect them with like-minded students.

As a result, an orientation project called “Bridge to Brave” started with this driving question:

“2020 is a year unlike any other, with students around the world adapting to new educational norms. How can I, as a New Tech student at Innovation Tech, empower myself and others to create a brave space and develop strategies in order to succeed?”

Students jumped in with all sorts of activities and strategies to help themselves and their classmates cope with the stresses of the new year.

They started with a “mind map” to help reframe negative thinking, created a “rookie card” that emphasized their positive characteristics, created videos at home with testimonials and tips for coping, and even generated personalized Google Classrooms with links to resources, such as music, podcasts and games, that could give them an emotional lift with just a click.

Facilitator Christine Alexander took it one step further. She connected with an award-winning digital design teacher, Lisa Gottfried, who works at the original New Tech High School in Napa, California. Students at Innovation Tech shared their videos and projects with Gottfried and her students at the flagship school. The result will be a social connection with students in the same New Tech Network, as well as a shared pool of resources for coping in a difficult time. Alexander is planning to have Gottfried teach a lesson to her students via Zoom.

One Innovation Tech student, Luka Galle, outlined her orientation work in a colorful slide-show presentation that included the video she made at home. Luka, a junior from the Cazenovia Central School District, shared a mix of strategies for getting through 2020, such as listening to music mixes, exercising, and expressing her feelings in books such as “Burn After Writing” and “How to be Happy (Or at Least Less Sad).”

She loved the project — and she loves Innovation Tech.

“Innovation Tech is the only reason I’m in school right now,” she said.

Check out Luka’s “Build to Brave” presentation here: