Image for aesthetic effect only - Your-shot-graphicIn his world-changing musical, Hamilton, Lin-Manuel Miranda shared the lyric, “I’m not throwing away my shot!” The lyric occurs at a poignant place during the show garnering an unforgettable rallying cry for the heart, mind and spirit. The sentiment is so powerful, it resides in the minds and hearts of thousands of would-be world changers around the globe: so much so that the lilt of the lyric stays on repeat in the mind, even when the mind seems to be focused on other things. At its core, Miranda’s cry implies a relentless resolve to carpe diemSeize the dayCapture the moment.

On a daily basis, we face many “shots” at many things, which begs the question,

How will you fill the blank pages resting on the calendar that is 2018?

Consider each day filled with empty spaces, ripe with “shots.” Each shot, an opportunity for your hopes, dreams, and plans; begging for a little attention and reflection. Will you be a healer, a hope builder, or a heartbreak mapper? What is the one shot at impacting teaching and learning that you will not give up? What is a need in your classroom, school, or community that brings out your passion to soothe heartbreak and build hope?

The Learning Forward Foundation spent some beautiful time at our end of the year retreat exploring our core values and what matters most to us as educators, coaches, and leaders. We brought our heads and our hearts to the work of envisioning the coming year with you, our Learning Forward friends and colleagues.

As a foundation, we are committed to ensuring our “shots” for 2018 are investing our time, talent, and collective brilliance to creating a learning laboratory that we invite you to share with us. In this environment, we hope to build a true sense of community coupled with the vulnerability and trust to share our challenges and our triumphs — all the while celebrating each learning step along the way. Through our scholarships and grants, we offer you the opportunity to join us on this journey to your core, as an educator, as a leader, as a visionary. Hand in hand during the coming year, Foundation coaches and awardees will continue to delve into the rich questions and reflections that deepen and grow learning.

In this learning space, we champion the unconventional role of the educator and leader. It is a place to lay bare our hearts and hurts and begin to heal and hope so that we can help our students and colleagues do the same. Grounded in the transformational intersection of research between social-emotional learning, professional learning, relationship building and culture shifting, your Foundation, comprised of visionary learning leaders, invites you to join us in our laboratory of learning.

Collectively, we invite you to name your “shot” and embark on your year of learning, growing, and daring greatly with the Learning Forward Foundation. This is our year. This is our time. This is our chance.

For more information about the Foundation or scholarships or grants, please visit the website or contact Victoria Duff, past chair of the Learning Forward Foundation and vice-chair of Scholarships and Grants, at 732-814-2192 or

About the author

Heather Lageman serves as the executive director of Leadership Development for Baltimore County Schools in the Office of Organizational Development. She is president of the Learning Forward Maryland Affiliate and chair of the Learning Forward Foundation.