School change: A school designed for real student learning!

by Steve Wyckoff on June 7, 2010

Real school change will only happen when the “main dish” of education is a student centered, learning by doing experience. When our 115-year-old core curriculum is relegated to a  “side dish.” There is such a school, Erie High School in Erie Kansas. At Erie high school students have the option to be in a project based curriculum. I have said it before and I’ll say it again, I believe that students at Erie high school who are in the project-based learning curriculum, are the best prepared students in the state of Kansas to face their lives in the 21st century.

Yesterday I had the pleasure of visiting with school leaders in the Erie school district. We had a very engaging and ebergetic discussion about many aspects, and affects, of project-based learning. About their journey to create a school that strives to help every student become remarkable. And not on standardized tests.

But as good as the conversation was the highlight of my day was to tour their new school that will open in the fall of 2010. Over the last 40 years I have been in many, many new school buildings. But this one was different. Oh, there were many of the same features you would see in any school. But what you won’t see in any school is a learning space specifically designed to enable and enhance student learning in a project based environment.

From the state-of-the-art natural lighting, to the large open aesthetically pleasing spaces that will house the individual student workstations, the new facility is amazing. And it’s not just the aesthetics, architect Allan Milbradt, and Superintendent John Wyrick, took the time to show me all of this state-of-the-art green technologies that are designed to enhance learning, reduce cost, and not do damage to the environment.

I only hope that visitors to the school will pay as much attention to the way that students are learning as they do the beautiful facility. The educators in Erie are making tremendous strides towards creating a learning experience that truly prepares every student for their life in the 21st century. This is rural school change! – Steve Wyckoff

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