Deeper Learning and Innovative Schools

After one semester of graduate school, I have been inspired to look for innovative approaches to education. During my three years of teaching, I became increasingly frustrated by the traditional structure that prevails in the majority of our public high schools. Education can and should be more than a series of classes including an endless string of assignments, papers, projects, and tests. Education should mean something more to students than grades and credits; it should provide them with opportunities to make connections to the real world and to develop skills that will prepare them for their futures. If you would like to read about innovative middle and high schools that are living up to these ideals, then I highly recommend Deeper Learning: How Eight Innovative Public Schools Are Transforming Education in the Twenty-First Century by Monica Martinez and Dennis McGrath. The eight schools discussed in the book are:

Avalon School (St. Paul, MN)

Casco Bay High School (Portland, ME)

King Middle School (Portland, ME)

High Tech High (San Diego, CA)

Impact Academy of Arts & Technology (Hayward, CA)

MC2 STEM High School (Cleveland, OH)

Rochester High School (Rochester, IN)

Science Leadership Academy (Philadelphia, PA)

While these examples demonstrate the amazing potential of education when an entire school focuses on deeper learning, they also provide inspiration for any teachers who strive to create authentic, engaging learning experiences for their students. For all teachers who sense that the traditional curriculum is not preparing students for the future, these innovative approaches present an exciting vision of what education can become if we make deeper learning a priority.

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