Monday, August 16, 2010

Amazing Schools

Via Practical Theory, who is principal of the Science Leadership Academy, one of the amazing schools, the Ladies Home Journal put together profiles of ten pretty inspiring schools.

I think the diversity of the models here is fantastic. In no particular order:

  • An inclusion-focused elementary school in Boston
  • A recycling and conservation-focused high school in California
  • A KIPP elementary school in Houston
  • A Brooklyn high school turning around urban education with small classes and career seminars
  • A marine-focused high school in Florida
  • An expeditionary learning K-8 school in Denver
  • A grades 6-12 boarding school in DC
  • A grades 6-12 self-directed learning environment in Minnesota
  • A high tech, inquiry-based science-focused high school in Philadelphia
  • A public Montessori junior & senior high (grades 7-12) in Cincinnati

It would probably be an amazingly creative and challenging opportunity to teach at any of those schools. However, none of them is in Michigan. So, two questions -- what are the Michigan schools that are experimenting those kinds of learning models? And if we were going to start a school, which of those would be the most exciting models to emulate?


  1. Hi, Emily!

    Although I admittedly don't have any solid answers to your questions, I find the content of your entry fascinating. I'm trying to picture the conservation-focused high school in California. What would that building look like? What kinds of plumbing would it have? Does the whole building run on solar energy? Is it located in the woods? Are the students required to walk to school? Are they allowed to wear shoes?

    It would be pretty interesting to teach at a specialized school, especially a school that specializes in something I'm passionate about.

    Also, I wonder what the language arts and social studies programs are like at these math and science focused schools. Do those teachers have to create curriculums that specifically revolve around math and science? Do students read and analyze scientific texts in Englsh classes? Do they learn about the great mathematicians in history?

    Just a few things to ponder.

    Hope you're doing well!

  2. Stephanie, I don't think the conservation-focused high school is as cool as we could imagine it to be, yet, but I think they're working on it! There's a picture in the article, and the text says:

    "Every classroom at this 2,100-student school has compact fluorescent lightbulbs operated by motion sensor, and at night computers and vending machines power down automatically. Solar panels on the front lawn collect energy, which is tracked on a school website. Last year a junior won a hybrid bus for the school district after he wrote a prize-winning essay about Irvington's energy-saving campaign. Next up? Cutting down on the school's paper use."

    I think your language arts and social studies questions are interesting... a quick perusal of the curriculum link at the Science Leadership Academy shows they do at least some stuff not-specifically math and science focused: African-American history and Nazi Germany / US Prisons are both on the first page. . However, the African-American history item was a 30-second podcast and supporting wiki the students made on a topic of their choice. So maybe the technology comes in more to support the learning than in determining the topic of the learning.