Hitting the road

Happy Spring!  Although the temperatures would say otherwise, Spring has sprung in New England and I’m looking forward to the season’s transition to warmer temperatures :)

The past six months has been a great period of discovery, visiting such notable schools as High Tech High, Nueva, Workshop School, Blue School and Da Vinci Schools to name a few.  After this initial broad sweep of visiting schools I am now beginning to focus on learning models with which I am familiar, such as Montessori and Waldorf, but which I have not experienced first hand.  I am taking the opportunity to spend a full day in six or seven schools over the next six weeks and will inventory what I learn under six broad headings:

  • Knowledge/Competencies/Habits of Mind - What are the skills, knowledge and habits of mind which students are learning in this school?
  • Pedagogy - How are these skills, knowledge and habits of mind being learned? What is the teacher’s/parent’s community’s role in designing and facilitating the learning? 
  • Assessment - How are these competencies, habits of mind and acquiring of knowledge being assessed? Formatively and summatively?
  • Space - How is the physical learning environment structured to support the learning?
  • Talent - How does the school find, develop and retain its teachers?
  • Scale - What are the plans to scale (if any)?

The goal of this research is to inventory existing leading practice to help answer the question, “How might we build a learning environment where students, who do not thrive in the standardized learning environment, will thrive and grow?”  I will report back findings on this blog and synthesize overall themes.  The themes will inform the initial design of the IFL ‘Whole Child’ Lab. Stay tuned!