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232. The Research, Entrepreneurship, Design, & Inquiry Lab with Tom Thorpe

Almost ten years ago, Tom Thorpe wanted to create a learning environment that was embedded in the community and shaped around individual students. Today, REDI Lab, a “school within a school,” is physically located in a Denver Housing Authority neighborhood and sees over 100 students create their own learning path every year.

As our guest today, Tom tells us the origin story and evolution of the Research Entrepreneurship, Design, & Inquiry Lab at Colorado Academy. He walks us through the trimester-long program: Teaching self-empathy and self-discovery, letting students dwell in problem-solving stages, and putting process over product.

We also talk about the importance of developing teacher agency alongside student agency, including what that may look like in terms of experimentation and assessment.

Tom does an excellent job weaving together his real world experience and pedagogical theory. Enjoy!

To learn more, visit:

We unbox:

  • Teaching students self-empathy and self-discovery

  • REDI Lab’s emphasis on process over product

  • Why teacher agency must grow alongside student agency


Produced by NOVA Media


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