Discovery Process Update

How many do you remember?

Anyone with any knowledge of Hyde will know some or all 18 of the lessons pictured above.  Now, any teacher from any school will be equipped with a roadmap to help deliver them to any student. Read on…

Lot’s happening on the Hyde Discovery Process front.  Here’s an update.

– “So, tell me, Malcolm, what is this Discovery Process thing?”
– Product Development – 131 Lessons (& 18 Tried & Stand-Bys)
– Data & Assessment… Differentiation… Branding and Marketing
– Next Steps – The Elephant in the Zoom

“So, tell me, Malcolm, what is this Discovery Process… er… thing?”
I get this question a lot, often followed with: “Is it Character Ed? SEL? Enrichment?”  Beyond the short answer – i.e., “Yes” – my elevator speech has morphed into two parts.

  1. As a graduate, alumni parent, and 45-year employee of Hyde School, I have both experienced and beheld the transformative impact of an effective character-based philosophy and program at our schools in Bath (ME), The Bronx, Brooklyn, Orlando, etc. Then, on a 2018 visit to the schools of Halifax and Upper Dauphin (PA), I was deeply moved by the adaptations of the Hyde model I witnessed. Following that visit, a group of us from all of these practicing schools coalesced around a basic question: How do we scale this thing?
  2. After several meetings – including a Design Sprint in 2019 – we visualized the following:

A challenging and supportive on-line school culture improvement program where all students:

  • Feel more included and have a sense of connection to the school and to one another;
  • Demonstrate better coping skills in day-to-day interactions with both peers and adults;
  • Begin to envision and pursue a best version of themselves;
  • Experience an enriching rapport between younger and older students.

Designed for a target audience of public middle schools, students meet daily in mixed-aged homerooms where they learn and share a common language (Hyde’s 5 Words & Principles) and engage as teams in core activities like intramurals, performing arts, student jobs, and community service.  The train-the-trainer model will feature 25 on-line modules, instructional videos, and 140 individual lesson plans designed in accordance with a proven character-based philosophy and program aligned with national CASEL standards. (CASEL – The Collaborative Alliance for Social & Emotional Learning.

Product DevelopmentGiven the ongoing and… ongoing… and… ongoing uncertainty concerning when we will finally be able to film, produce, and provide “maskless” training video, we decided to rivet our focus on the one factor over which Covid has no control: producing excellent written lessons.  Working with our learning experience design firm — O’Donnell Learn ( – we have now completed 131 lessons.  One reason this process has been so time-consuming is due to our process of feeding the learning purposes & objectives of each lesson through three filters:

  1. Bloom’s Taxonomy — a set of three hierarchical models – cognitive, affective, and sensory — used to classify educational learning objectives.
  2. The CASEL standards, a national set of five SEL standards:
  • Self-Awareness
  • Self-Management (able to regulate emotions)
  • Social Awareness
  • Relationship Management (relationship skills & judgment)
  • Responsible Decision-Making (at home, school, and in community)
  1. Revision of our secondary-centric language – I have spent my career working with high school students! — to better fit the middle school audiences we intend to target.

DataWe have contracted with the Excellence With Integrity Institute ( to develop a before-and-after 3rd party evaluative school culture survey of students, teachers, and parents.  I first met Matt Davidson (founder & CEO) 25 years ago at a national character education conference and have since worked with him on other initiatives over the years.  Nationally respected for its work with schools on culture, EWII’s survey will focus intentionally on three essential components of caring communities: Kids must feel…

  1. Known and Needed
    2. Safe and Cared For
    3. That they have a role in shaping their environment.

We intend to have an instrument available for scale for the 2021-22 school year.

Differentiation – There are a lot of Social Emotional Learning (SEL) programs out there!  Our analysis indicates that conventional SEL programs are heavy on compliance, obedience, and cooperation with many fueled by an anti-bullying focus.  They also seem – to us, anyway – light on chutzpah, pursuit of dreams, and grabbing for the gusto.  To be sure, safety is critical.  It is also a low bar.  Just because a school does not have bullying does not mean it possesses a magical inspiration within its walls.  That’s where we come in.

The Market Challenge – Not only are there scores of SEL programs available to schools, many states offer them free of charge.   In addition to schools, we are also exploring options such as youth after-school programs.  We intend to launch our sales effort this spring/summer with a goal of securing an inaugural cohort of 12-15 schools for the 2021-22 school year.  Should you know of any schools or school systems that might benefit from the Discovery Process, know that I would be honored to speak with them!

Branding & Marketing

We have contracted with Visible Logic – — a Portland (Maine) branding/marketing firm to design and build a Hyde Institute website. With work underway, we anticipate a website launch in early June accompanied by full engagement on a range of social media platforms.

Next StepsThe Elephant in the Zoom
While the above agenda is keeping us plenty busy, perhaps our most pressing issue concerns what we have come to call the Elephant in the Zoom: When will be able to begin filming and producing mask-free video?  Toward that end, we are hosting a “Discovery Camp” on the Hyde-Bath campus this summer where faculty and some students will gather from a range of Discovery Process schools in hopes of beginning that process. We will also be filming this fall.

Thanks for your interest and support!

Onward, Malcolm Gauld