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Scrum Spotlight: Dr. Mark Buckner Transforming Public Schools

Dr. Mark BucknerThere’s a promise inherent in every public school. Graduates leave “life ready,” with the skills and knowledge needed to continue their education and/or contribute in the workplace. 

It’s a promise many public schools are finding harder to fulfill.

Graduates need more than the educational basics to succeed in the modern world. They need to know how to work in a team, be curious, entrepreneurial, and they need their creativity and problem-solving skills to grow as much as their knowledge of math and the written word. 

Scrum Inc.’s own Dr. Mark Buckner has spent years thinking of a way to transform public schools that would unlock the inherent potential of every student - regardless of their GPA. Then, with the help of Dr. Holly Cross, they went looking for funding for a concept called i-School. 

This May, i-School became a reality thanks to a $1.2 million grant from the Tennessee Department of Education. “It’s the culmination of years of dreaming,” says Buckner, “and a vision for creating and empowering innovators and lifelong learners.” 

The i-School Concept

i-School aims to develop respectful, resilient graduates who are skillful, able to think critically, and collaborate with others to generate innovative solutions to the challenges facing our VUCA (volatile, uncertain, complex, ambiguous) world. Buckner says they will do this by teaching better thinking, “for everyone, everywhere, every day.”

There are many things the “i” in i-School embodies,” explained Buckner, “but we will focus on 8; innovation, individualized, inclusion, interpersonal, integrative thinking, interdisciplinary, always improving, and internal motivation.” 

The Scrum framework and Agile principles will be a cornerstone of i-School. Students will work and learn as Scrum Teams explains Buckner, “And we're going to continually inspect and adapt everything we do and how we do it to constantly improve the model.” Then we’ll create a scalable, repeatable process so i-School can be used by anyone anywhere. 

Lessons will go well beyond theory. i-School will feature an Innovation and Design Center equipped with the latest CNCs, 3D printers, laser cutters, and waterJet, where students can design, build, think, and solve real-world problems and build real-world products through partnerships with local businesses. In addition to this, a mobile innovation lab will be developed to take the technology, equipment, tools, and workshops to those in greatest need in our community, providing inspiring, hands-on learning opportunities.

And, through a partnership with Scrum Inc., students, faculty, and partners will be trained in Scrum and be eligible to receive credentials including Product Owner, Scrum Master, and Scrum@Scale Practitioner. 

Join us in congratulating Dr. Mark Buckner and the i-School team for their vision, dream, and dedication to helping students achieve. We will be following their journey and can’t wait to see how they help make the world a better place!

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