Do you want to see a transformed learning ecosystem? Can we scale differentiated learning up from small, elite private schools to large public schools with low funding levels? Can we break the anchors of time, space, subject, age, and an obsession with content-driven test scores to re-create experiential, passion-based learning amongst a community of young children and educator-leaders? Come see!
If you follow this blog you know I was honored to advise the founding team of the new Design 39 Campus, a remarkable K-8 public school in the Poway Unified School District near San Diego. D39C had their community open house yesterday, and it was a swarm of thousands of fired up students and parents…and a faculty and staff smiling so broadly one told me “my face hurts”. Rather than just setting up tours of the amazing new teaching spaces, many of the larger collaborative learning spaces were filled with kids building, making, designing, working and playing and learning together, all with the help of dozens of parent and community volunteers. In other words, though the kids did not know it, this was the first real day of school. This is what learning will look like at D39C.
Or will it? I will follow the school closely and report. If we are right, and there are many great educator-leaders betting that we are, you will definitely want to come visit this year. Here are some unique highlights we will watch and follow:
- Teachers do not have their own classrooms; they and their students, grouped in multi-age pods, share different-sized rooms, “collaboratoria”, and maker spaces.
- There are only three periods during the day, so “time” does not become a silo.
- Teachers and students of all grade levels co-design the curriculum.
- A new learning management system designed by Its Learning provides highly differentiated tracking of student progress and passions.
- Students ask the questions.
Follow along; come visit; if I am in town I will give you a tour and if not I can arrange one for you. Bottom line: D39C may just be the one that proves we CAN scale progressive education within the modern constraints of large class sizes and some of the weakest levels of public funding in the country.