This past year the School of the Future has gone through a lot of transition, which in most cases is a natural progression when looking at Education Reform. Some people think we're trying to recreate the wheel while others would agree that the ground work for project based learning and innovative teaching has already been attempted and succeeded in some places, while failing in others.
I'm always searching for information on the Constructivist theory of learning to understand the thinking behind the original mission and vision of the school leadership and always find (go live.com!) more and more information that supports AND refutes the usage of different theories to educate urban youth. This week I stumbled across a good read that discusses everything from education reform to the theories behind constructivist learning and started to reflect on a discussion we just had during a Town Hall meeting at School of the Future with the district's Chief Acadmeic Officer Dr. Maria Pitre-Martin.
As is necessary in projects of this caliber, the need to reconnect and update leadership on your strides and setbacks was welcomed and nervously anticipated. Dr. Pitere graciously accepted the offer to sit one on one with all the Educators at the school to speak candidly about support for the School of the Future project. After an hour and half discussion about everything from parent expectations about the school and outcomes to curriculum mapping for more consistency in the development of project based learning curriculum, the overall outcome was support for the schools innovative ways of teaching and learning. Many questions were directly related to the way Educators look at the state standard and develop projects that engaged Learners vs. looking at core curriculum and trying to develop projects that meet the weekly assessments. Afterwards many Educators were reinvigorated with the knowledge that their district supports new ways of engaging the youth of Philadelphia which is the ultimate goal of this School.
What challenges have you faced in your schools? What things can we learn from other schools who have decided that education should not just be adequate for some but meaningful for all?