Can you envision a high school without courses, semesters, or trimesters? A school where students build their schedules every four to six weeks, choosing seminars, workshops, internships, projects, and the like that are interesting to them?
A school where students are not moving through a schedule created for them nine months before the academic year even begins?
What if instead you take the competencies from math, science, reading, writing, and the like, and then put them together into interdisciplinary learning opportunities that students can choose?
What if students were so knowledgeable about their learning that they could add competencies to existing seminars so they were meeting their learning goals, or creating seminars to co-teach with school faculty so their fellow students can meet their learning goals?
Well, I have not only envisioned it but I finally got to see it in action last week when I visited Kettle Moraine Perform in Wales, Wisconsin, a 170 student performing arts high school inside the larger 1400 student legacy high school. (Click here for more on the model.)
Abby, our student tour guide, was a senior with enough credits gathered to graduate. But instead of leaving high school, she decided to stay to make herself more competitive for the college of her choice. This is a wonderful model of true voice and choice.
I look forward to going back.
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Nina Lopez is an independent consultant, based in Boulder, CO. Nina provides facilitation, strategy and innovation design services to private foundations, non-profit and government entities in Colorado and throughout the country to help them incubate new initiatives, develop a shared vision and a clear strategy for achieving individual and collective goals. www.ninalopez.com