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Transformative Learning Experiences with Kyle Wagner is a show created for DISRUPTORS and INNOVATIVE EDUCATORS looking to create more socially, globally, emotionally aware citizens and student-centered classrooms through transformative project- based learning experiences. Through 1:1 interviews, Kyle dissects learning experiences from EDNOVATORS just like you, and unpacks the simple strategies and structures that allowed them to happen. To date, over 1,000 classrooms have been transformed through 1,000 + learning experiences.


Dec 19, 2023

What if you could re-imagine schooling to be student-centered? Build from the ground up? 

That's what Connect Academy did when it was given carte blanche to re-imagine schooling for students in the Poway District. 

It re-imagined:

How we organize learning experiences, by making them interdisciplinary, and community focused.  

How we organize learners, by making classes mixed grade level, and inclusive of all abilities. 

How we organize the school day, by creating extended blocks of time, and project-based opportunities. 

How we CONNECT students, by connecting them meaningfully in daily advisories, and homerooms. 

Connect Academy isn't some fancy prep school built for elite families that live in the Hollywood Hills; it's a public, inclusive school built for kids of all backgrounds, nationalities, and socio-economic status. 

Learn more about their journey from learning experience designers/teachers Joe Gizzo and Karen Rogers, and you can build in these student-centered elements in your classroom or school.  

Learn more about Connect Academy: , Twitter (X):, Instagram: 

Connect with Karen: LinkedIn, Twitter (X), Personal Site: 

Karen's Bio: Karen Elaine Rogers is a visionary who focuses on big picture and deeper purpose. Having directed multiple early childhood centers, started or revamped children's education programs, and pastoring a large and growing non-profit for families, she also fostered and then adopted many children in the first 20 years of her career. As an outside the box thinker who thrives in flexibility and clear purpose, KarenElaine has spent the last 10 years in public education. Focused on behavior modification and music therapy in her time in special education, she then piloted a project and brain based TK/K program in one of Poway Unified School District's Title 1 schools, and then helped launch the district's first hybrid Independent Study school while recently being awarded as Teacher of the Year. Strategizing tasks by building teams & investing in those closest to her, KarenElaine leads with empathy and focuses on team strengths. Her creative and innovative mind is constantly impassioned to dream, collaborate or share. Possessing a way with words, her ability to weave a great story, articulate vision, and influence an audience are what inspires. She aims to transform education & be part of life's most exciting pursuits with women, children and families while living simply with nature!

Joe's Bio: Joe Gizzo has been a teacher in Poway Unified School District for 24 years. He teaches middle school digital arts and computer science at Connect Academy, PUSD’s innovative, hybrid school. Joe strives to build empathy in students to help to create a school culture where everyone is welcomed, valued, and respected. Joe’s students have won many awards, including Digital Art awards from the SD County Fair and Museum of Photographic Arts, Jostens yearbook awards, Outstanding Activities and Leadership Program awards, and the California Association of Student Leaders Service Award. Joe’s awards include the Bob Burton Spirit Award, Area G Service Award, SD County Fair Teacher of the Year, School & District Teacher of the Year, honored as one of San Diego County’s top Teachers, Teen Ink’s Educator of the Year, and California’s designee for the Warren Shull Award. What is truly remarkable is Joe has accomplished all he has while battling a rare & incurable auto-immune disease. His story is truly inspirational for students and teachers alike.