A young person is seated against an orange wall, deeply focused on their work. They are wearing a red knit beanie, headphones, and a face mask, with a pink hoodie and blue pants. They are holding a notebook and appear to be either reading or writing.

Radically rethinking high school

Map Academy—a free, public charter high school—is challenging the status quo, centering healing and mutual respect, and giving young people a chance to get back on track. Their team works continuously to remove barriers and create holistic approaches to ensure access and flexibility, allowing students to work at their own pace, inside or outside of school.

We’ve been working with Map since their beginning in 2016, building their brand from the ground up (including giving them their name). To recruit students and staff, celebrate successes, build school community, and share best practices, we continue to collaborate with Map on ongoing brand, communications, recruitment, and engagement strategies—all grounded in the real stories of students and staff.

Map Academy
Brand Strategy
Brand Voice + Messaging
Theory of Change Development
Visual Identity
Thought Leadership Strategy
Web Design + Development
Print Design
Social Media
Presentation Design + Coaching
Video + Animation
Experience Design

Find your way here

We helped Map define a laser-focused mission, crystal clear voice, strong messaging, and compelling assets. With these tools as a foundation, Hairpin continues to develops student and staff recruitment campaigns for Map, recognizing that finding young people the traditional system has left behind and recruiting world-class staff are crucial to making their vision a reality.

Learning and leading

Map is radical proof that high school can be done differently; Hairpin tells those stories. As they relentlessly innovate, grow, and learn, we do the same—finding new ways to share their experiences, capturing what works (and doesn’t!) to help the field better serve and support both students and educators.

Education Disruption

Our work with Map Academy includes Education Disruption, a podcast series featuring stories of triumph and challenge from students and staff. With over 30 episodes to date, Education Disruption not only helps empower the Map community through storytelling; it also supports Map in spreading best practices as thought leaders. To catalog podcast episodes and a wealth of other resources about their unique model and approach, Hairpin conceptualized, created, and maintains Map’s Education Disruption website.

"Working with Hairpin has been a game-changer. Hairpin's team, with their expertise and attention to detail, listens attentively to our needs and creates tailored strategies that perfectly align with our mission and vision."

Josh Charpentier Co-Director + Co-Founder, Map Academy
Nick Tetrault and Kristen Hughes are seen standing on a sidewalk in Austin, Texas, facing away from the camera, looking back over their shoulders. Nick is on the left, wearing a yellow beanie and a denim jacket with bold red text that reads "BAD IDEAS MAKE GOOD STORIES." Kristen, on the right, has curly gray hair and is wearing a dark jacket with leopard print pants. There is a small building in the background labeled "Outside, Texas," and a partly cloudy sky overhead.
A group of nine people is posing together at the SXSW EDU 2022 event. They are standing and sitting in front of a large, decorative backdrop that reads "SXSW EDU 2022" with a green and white wavy pattern. Each person is wearing a lanyard with an event badge.

Road warriors

Together, Hairpin and Map have had the amazing opportunity to share Education Disruption stories and Map’s innovative model IRL. Map has presented at two SXSW EDU conferences, where episodes of the podcast—featuring students and staff, moderated by Hairpin—were recorded in front of a live audience.