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Summary: In this short and powerful piece, architect and school designer Prakash Nair outlines the a vision of learning spaces designed for the twenty-first century. Rather than continuing with the out-dated classrooms and hallways typical of many schools, Nair recommends spaces that allow for personalization, collaborative learning, self-directed learning, and that are environmentally conscious and connected to the broader community surrounding the school.
Summary: A short and helpful primer on how the brain develops and learns. This is the basis for the broad research into neuroscience and it's implications for educational practice. Educators and researchers ought to understand these basic processes as a grounding for other research into learning and development.
Summary: Dubbing themselves The Resistance, a group of Bronx students have decided to “Occupy” public education, releasing a 10 point plan for reforming New York City's public school system. Some of their demands include "a healthy, safe environment that does not expect our failure or anticipate our criminality,” class sizes that are “humane and productive,” and “student assessments and evaluations that reflect the variety of ways that we learn and think.”
Summary: Through a case study of Avalon High School in Minnesota, this article explores the notion of democratic teacher-run schools where teachers collaboratively make school decisions rather than a single principal. Also discussed is the self-directed project-based learning approach of Avalon, and a method to assess school climate and the impact on students, called The Hope Study.
Summary: Lending circles, self-help groups, and study circles are all examples of one of the oldest and most effective tools for creating personal and social change. Leveraging the potential of Circles requires a clear understanding of what they are and how they work.
Summary: This new volume from the Harvard Educational Review features essays from scholars, educators, students, and community activists who are working to disrupt, reverse, and redirect the pipeline. Alongside these authors are contributions from the people most affected: youth and adults who have been incarcerated, or whose lives have been shaped by the school-to-prison pipeline. Through stories, essays, and poems, these individuals add to the book's comprehensive portrait of how our education and justice systems function - and how they fail to serve the interests of many young people.
Summary: Pedro Noguera's speech, Education Is About Preparing Young People To Make The World Better Than It Is, at Morningside Center's Courageous Schools Conference
Summary: Education Votes is a community of activists committed to advancing education policies focused on building great public schools and benefiting all students. Started by the National Education Association, the site offers education-related petitions, legislation, videos, and articles. Activist tools and the Ed Votes Twitter feed are also available.
Summary: In this Huffinton Post article, Chris Lehmann, founding Principal of Science Leadership Academy, says that when powerful people ensure arts-enriched learning for their own kids but push for rote memorization for other people's kids, they're practicing educational colonialism.
Summary: This powerful article is a must-read for those working for educational change, describing how the language and messages we use impact our ability to build the will for change. The article explains traps and gaps in how we talk about education, and offers several key recommendations.
Summary: This article highlights Nuestra Escuela (Our School), a school in Puerto Rico that helps support and guide dropouts to earn their high-school diplomas by focusing on students' self-esteem, motivation, and overall best interest while deploying creative and learner-focused teaching methods that cater to student's abilities and preference. Students that attend Nuestra Escuela make a psychological and academic commitment to the school and participate in a 6 week, 12 step initiation process which helps to identify which students are truly committed to earning a high school diploma and helps teachers to gain a personal understanding of student's before beginning in-class instruction. By utilizing teaching methods that allow teachers to coach and mentor their students by providing them academic options which eliminate the threat of a failing grade, teachers help students pave the road to success by maintaining respectful relationships with their students as partners working toward the same goal. Constant analysis of technique and effect in the classroom is conducted, and style of instruction evolves over the course of students' attendance so as to provide an individualized education for student's committed to earning their diploma.
Summary: Below is a compilation of resources of documents and a few schools & school models that use powerful innovative approaches to meeting standards through a combination of proficiency-based approaches and performance assessment.
Summary: This essay illustrates several examples of innovation in teaching practices in different fields.
Summary: An introduction to what, why, and how to involve students in governance at the school, district, and state levels, including recommendations for educators and policy-makers.
Summary: In this New York Times article, Susan Engel writes about eight public high school students, aged 15 to 17, in western Massachusetts that designed and ran their own school within a school. "They represented the usual range: two were close to dropping out before they started the project, while others were honors students. They named their school the Independent Project."
A story of eight determined students who find meaningful education, success, and personal fulfillment in their own crafted school and curriculum.
Summary: In this interview posted on the blog, Dare the School, Kirsten Olson is interviewed and speaks about public education, charter schools, reinventing education and more. Kirsten is a leading writer in the U.S. describing education from a student's point of view. Her recent book Wounded By School: Recapturing the Joy in Learning and Standing Up To Old School Culture (2009) was one of the ten bestselling books at Teachers College Press this past year, and was nominated for Book of the Year by Foreword. Her educational leadership consulting practice is based in Brookline, MA, which works with schools and educational groups all over the country.
Summary: One year after graduating from high school, most members of the Class of 2010 believe that earning a college degree is “definitely” worth it, according to a survey released by the College Board, a not-for-profit organization. The comprehensive survey on college readiness and affordability, One Year Out, explores how young Americans assess their high school experience and its role in preparing them for life after graduation - be it work or postsecondary education.
Summary: At its core, parenting is about love. The parent-child relationship is the foundation from which we learn how to interact in the world. When parent-child relationships are approached from our culture's dominant paradigm of control, children learn that those who are more powerful have the right to control those who are less powerful. They lose their connection to their inner authority and internal motivation necessary to creating their own authentic lives.
Summary: An honest and important article detailing the joy, struggles, and successes with democratic parenting. Written by Michele Beach who is the co-founder and director of The Patchwork School, an innovative early childhood program located in Louisville, Colorado. Michelle has a Masters degree in Educational Psychology as well as an Early Childhood Teaching License.
Summary: This powerful article makes the connection between students' experience of their environment, the need for real-world problem solving, and the ways in which student internships in their communities lead to positive outcomes for the students and the community.