A few months ago, I was asked to join a planning committee for a proposed Performing Arts and Media Technology Charter School. For me, this was heaven. I love brainstorming, creating, sharing ideas, researching new philosophies and principles, collaborating on the idea and plan at hand. If I was asked what my ideal job would be, it’d be this. A think tank: let’s put the whole thing together, then hand it off to someone to do. Onto the next idea.
One of the things that drew me so into this was the like mindset of the group. We wanted a school where the models we would examine would be from successful programs already in existence from the top ranking countries in Education. Finland education is rated number one in the world. If you read what I’ve just linked, it gives a great summary of ten principles. Please go read it. There are many successful school models out there in the US and around the world. I am just giving you one. Look them up and compare what makes them a success. Then look at what we are doing to our kids and why we’re in the middle, at best, in world education rankings.
In the end, it’s all about the students and supporting the teachers and the schools for the betterment of their future. Doesn’t that make sense? Instead of this infighting, backstabbing, disinterest, misunderstanding way of doing things, they realize it’s not about political agendas but what is ultimately best for the future of their country: the kids. Is it perfect? I don’t believe in perfection. Does it work to it’s best abilities, and allow new reform to happen? Yes.
Are you sick of hearing “well, we’ve always done it this way”? I am. Very much so. I have heard that statement from so many people over the years, in so many industries. It is a defeatist attitude at best; at worst, it is the most debilitating system that too many in this country works through. It’s lazy, shows fear of change, fear of listening or accepting a better model. To me, it sucks the soul out of doing anything. If you hated doing something as you were coming through the rank and file, and you get to a position where your voice can be heard, why make someone else suffer like you did? Because it’s always been done this way, even though times change and this “new” idea can solve that problem?
So, my question to you: YOU have the chance to create your ideal school. There are NO restrictions, no money hassles, no political agendas. This is you conceptualizing your ideal school. What are five to ten things that you feel must be in place to achieve success for the students? I’m asking you to dream, then write your dream down. Forget pragmatism. Forget logistics. WHAT IS YOUR DREAM IDEAL SCHOOL?
“Imagination is more important than knowledge” ~Albert Einstein
Things Iwould want in place:
- Arts integrated in all core curricula
- State of the art technology
- Team Teaching model
- Parents as school partners
- Local community professional mentor ship
- Unilateral decision and planning making (empowering teachers with school Leaders)
- Allowing a system of learning from “failure” (and I’d want to change that label, too)
- Professional Development that means something, not fulfilling hour requirements
- Student and Parent accountability
- Inquiry, critical and creating thinking and problem solving skills based philosophy (yeah, it’s four in one)
Those are ten of my top choices, but I have many more. Didn’t even touch on the facility, resources, fair pay, and much more. That’s for another time.
I really do want to know: what would you want?