Thinking about new schools

I hope you are enjoying this beautiful day! The weekend is supposed to be rainy, which means it will provide a great opportunity for you to think about the schools you would like to design. I encourage you to take a look at the “Ideal School Letters” and the “Reform Critique” assignments that your classmates have posted on the discussion board (Blackboard). Reading about the ideas of others might give you a sense of who you might like to work with, and then you can reach out to form your school design groups. I happened to run into a student who was in the class last year, and she said she was reuniting with her school design group for dinner that night. While the process of designing a new school with a group of people can be demanding, we do hope that you enjoy yourselves and make new friends in the process!

We also hope that it was helpful to hear about three different school designs from those who are intimately involved with them. You can learn a lot about these organizations online, and I thought I would share this interview with Ron Berger (of Expeditionary Learning) so that you could hear more about his work.

The discussion this past Wednesday made me think a lot about how schools approach learning differently, and how the process of “scaling up” can distill a school design down to its essentials. What are the key ideas about a school that absolutely can’t change? What are the values, processes, or people, that give a school its identity? You might also be interested in a recent interview I conducted with Santiago Rincón-Gallardo, in which he explains the process of bringing a model for learning to scale in Mexico.


One response to “Thinking about new schools

  1. If close reading becomes de facto reading instruction—if it becomes just another iteration of the knowledge-free, mind-numbing skills-and-strategies approach of the past several decades—it will be fatal not just to Common Core, but to reading itself. If students lack the vocabulary and background knowledge to make sense of complex text—if schools aren’t honoring their responsibility to build knowledge coherently, across subjects and over time“there’s no amount of experience with close reading that will enable them to read complex text independently,” Liben
    ~ Do you agree (Mariel)?


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