My plan to elevate education

My plan to elevate education 


One of my many goals is to elevate education. I wanted to take some time to write down what the plan might be to see if anybody out there would be willing to collaborate. These plans are not set in stone so if someone has any better or better ideas I’d be happy to adjust them appropriately.


Defining what elevating education means

For me I love eating education is basically equipping students with the necessary tools and skills to be successful in their careers and ultimately their lives. Let’s face it, the current education system doesn’t do a great job with that. The Mark Twain quote comes to mind “don’t let school get in the way of education quote. That doesn’t mean that we get rid of school or the current school system, we just need to improve and elevate it in a way where it becomes more helpful. 


My current plan is to build a set of core soft-skills and incorporate them into the curriculum. The current plan is to get students as early as possible. Right now I’m focussing on first-year students. At some point, I’d like to move the education down to a high-school level. And even down to primary school. That really is based on one challenge of the current system where students are progress based on age versus ability. Ideally, if the education system itself can transform then the skills would be taught when the student is ready and able to take them.


Some of the skills that would be taught would be things like learning to learn, emotional intelligence & empathy, effective communication & public speaking, building meaningful connections & social skills, time management, financial literacy, critical thinking, creativity, and probably a few more. 


So my current model or plan to elevate education would be to create a series of programs, workshops or even an entire school that is dedicated to the teaching of soft-skills. Whether they are done as integrated parts of the education system, extracurricular activities, over the summer holidays, or in another format, it depends on the willingness of folks in the education system to adopt some of these areas into their own teachings.


Design school education courses would have online components, in-person components, as well as other technology-enabled areas. Some of them would be better align with in-person courses with a lot of interactivity (such as building meaningful connections) where others could be managed at more scale online (such as time management).


The plan was to create workshops. A few hours each, half days or full days. Figuring out what the minimal amount of time would be to share some of the basic concepts. And then following them up with accountability and goals and essentially practice as these soft skills need to be demonstrated over time at a different context to be really able to see that someone has learned them. 


I would assess them in person in small classes either run on my own or with student clubs or schools. I would look to digitize some of them to see if I can get more people to provide feedback on the various concepts. Then expanded out to a full-on program.


One notion that I realized is that one of the core courses that should be taught would be on parenting. Basically how to nurture all of the skills within your children. Presumably, if you learned the soft-skills in school then you can support and nurture your child at home which can accelerate their learning. Then if they’ve grown up with the same skills and experiences they would need to spend less time in school and could focus more on developing their hard skills.


The plan

While not set in stone, here are the current steps that I am taking to elevate education:

  1. Know what I want to elevate for education. So far here are my areas of focus.
    • Right now the focus is on soft-skills education. Topics like mindset, emotional intelligence, time management, how to network and build meaningful connections, effective communication, etc. Which means it’s not about hard skills like STEAM. Right now, I call it WATER
      • Wisdom (in the form of SIWIKE – Stuff I Wish I Knew Earlier and a foundation of self-awareness)
      • Assertiveness (through courage, mitigated risk and overcoming fear of judgement and failure)
      • Time Management including habits and health
      • Emotional Intelligence/Effective Communication
      • Resilience/Relationships
    • Who: the goal is to “move the middle”. It’s not focusing on the top 10-20% of high-performers needing executive coaching, or the bottom 10-20% who are underserved that don’t even have access to any education. It’s for the 60-80% that are doing okay and feel they could be doing much better.
    • Where: focusing on the Greater Toronto Area with plans for all of Canada, North America then the world!
  2. Develop content and programs to address soft-skills education
    • The YSA Youth Success Academy is the current curriculum. There are currently 2 variants: Student (which adds the traditional stage of post-secondary education) and Young Professional (when school is over and they are now in the working world)
    • Coming up with a way to quantify soft skills (so far I’m looking at the CHC Career Health Check as a maturity model for soft skills. That’s the self-reported side. Then I believe there needs to be an external measurement, which I’m working on. This isn’t essential for the workshops to be completed though will be needed for the final educational experience
  3. Test, validate and refine the content [CURRENTLY HERE!]
    • The YSA and CHC have been tested in various forms and am currently scheduling various sessions
      • We’ve gone through pretty much all sessions and are looking to do a full complete run before the summer of 2020 is over!
    • Take a look here if you’re looking to attend
  4. Scale and distribution: my thoughts are that people will consume in different ways. Some want self-directed online courses. Others want some supplemental human interactions. Others want a full-on in-person classroom experience.
    • Creating an online version:
      • Develop a curriculum and syllabus. This is mostly done, though constantly refining.
      • Record the workshops
        • Some of the workshops have been recorded and it’s a matter of sifting through them and turning them into course material content or recording specific content for these sessions
        • BTW. If you’re interested in being a producer then I’d love to connect!)
    • Classroom experience:
      • Partner with an educational institute/school for scale and distribution.
        • I have a few educational institutes in mind and if you are one or know of one that would be interested, then let me know.
      • Create my own FOCUS inspired education center. I’ll only do this if I can’t find an educational partner.
    • Train-the-trainers and collaborators:
      • I’ll be looking for coaches and educators who can pick up where I left off and continue to iterate and improve on the learning experience. If that’s you, feel free to reach out!
  5. Building a community around elevated education
    • Each session currently has a small cohort of people who stay connected. The goal is to expand that community of like-minded people to help each other.



That’s the basics of my plan. I’m sure it’ll change a little bit. And some of the details will need to be worked out. What do you think? Are you interested in collaborating? Especially if you’re an educator or someone who has an interest in supporting youth. Let me know at 


Also published on Medium.