Looking for an innovation model for your school? Try asking students

Two Chicago schools find looking to students a very freeing experience

How do you combat student engagement problems and encourage students to take an interest in their own learning? For many schools the answer seems to be some variation of personalized learning, as interpreted by school administrators or outside curriculum savants. For two Chicago-area schools, however, the solution came down to asking students: How do you want to learn?

LeViis Haney and Karen Breo, the Chicago-area principals in question, recently spoke about their experiences in reshaping school culture at a panel during the ASU GSV Summit in San Diego, a conference that brings education investors and philanthropists together with educators and ed-tech entrepreneurs. The panel, centered on how schools can go about choosing an innovation model for themselves, brought together a handful of school leaders who had taken part in pilot programs from LEAP Innovations, an organization which helps facilitate that process.

A few years ago, Haney, the principal of Joseph Lovett Elementary School, noticed a school culture of stagnation. Students learned at their desks, typically from worksheets given to them by teachers who were disengaged with students and the teaching process. “We were experiencing very low levels of engagement and it manifested itself in a lot of data points that were not conducive to teaching and learning,” he said. “We knew we had to do something to change the culture. What would create a fun environment for kids?”…Read More