This is what it looks like when a community designs its own school

At its best, nothing is more unifying and vital to a community’s civic health than a high-quality neighborhood school. Why, then, do all notions of “school choice” end up being about either charter or private schools?

Enter Oakland SOL, a new dual-immersion middle school in the Flatlands section of Oakland, California — and the city school district’s first new school in more than a decade.

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Categories: Democracy, Equity, Leadership, Learning, Organizational Change, Parenting, Starting a School

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To reimagine learning, we must reimagine the physical space of “school” — but how?

For more than a century, the physical layout of American schools has been as consistent as any feature in American public life. Although the world around us has been in a constant state of flux, we have always been able to depend on a familiar set of symbols in our schools: neat, orderly rows of student desks; teachers delivering lessons to an entire group of children; lockers in the hallways; bell schedules — the list could go on.

But what if those timeworn structures of schooling are actually preventing us from reimagining education for a changing world? What if, in fact, the physical environment is — after parents and peers — the “third teacher” of our sons and daughters?

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Categories: Design & Space, Learning, Organizational Change, Voice

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180: Mississippi Rising

Of our fifty states, I can think of no other whose local history — for better and for worse — captures the essence of the larger American story.

In a sense, we are all Mississippians.

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Categories: Democracy, Equity, Learning, Organizational Change, Voice

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How to Design the Ideal Early Childhood Center

What would you do if you could design the ideal early childhood center?

At WONDER, we just got that opportunity — but we need your help.

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Categories: Design & Space4 Comments

The Age of the Individual is Upon Us

One year, early in my teaching career, I got reprimanded for giving too many “A’s.”

“You can’t give everyone the same grade,” I was instructed. “Give a few A’s and F’s, and a lot of B’s and C’s. Otherwise, everyone will know that your class is either too easy or too hard.”

This was unremarkable advice; indeed, it was as close to the educational Gospel as you could find. It was human nature in action.

And, apparently, it was completely wrong.

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Categories: Assessment, Equity, Learning, Organizational Change, Teacher Quality

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Before he says anything else about the Pledge of Allegiance, @RealDonaldTrump should read this . . .

Of course, we know he won’t — but that doesn’t mean the rest of us shouldn’t brush up on the actual history of the Pledge, and the actual meaning of the flag. When we do, there can be no room for alternative facts — only a history that, based on how we define patriotism, either puts us on the side of some courageous young schoolchildren of a generation ago, or on the side of totalitarianism. . .

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Categories: Democracy, First Amendment, Leadership, Learning

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To Measure Success in America’s Schools, Count the Flamingos

As an educator, I can’t think of a more important, elusive, and agonizing question than this doozy: How do you measure success?

So you can imagine my surprise when I discovered a new source of inspiration for how we should answer it, by way of a 27,000-acre fish farm at the tip of the Guadalquivir river in Southern Spain.

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This is how libraries can be reimagined

Imagine what would happen if this sort of spirit spread throughout the rest of our public schools?

Categories: Learning, Organizational Change

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This is also who we are

I needed this story. Maybe you need it, too.

This is also who we are. This is how we find one another. This is how we resist.

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This is who we are

To think of all that is happening, now, as it has always been happening, in one form or another — the murder of Philando Castile (and too many others to name), the cruelty of Trump, the privilege only some of us can claim, the self-assured blindness of so many of us, the urgent need for all of us to do more work — for others, on ourselves, in service of being healthy.

This is who we are.

And then to see things like this, and to be reminded of the other side of it all:

This is who we are, too.
Categories: Learning

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