I am excited to participate in another Massive Open Online Course, this one being led by Larry Rosenstock, one of the Founders of High Tech High School. The topic is how to start a school. Granted that I follow the planned learning path, I will walk away with a narrative that describes a potential new school.
I’ve always been drawn to education startups and designing new projects and learning experiences, and I have a longstanding dream of one day starting a new high school based upon my research on alternative and emerging models of schooling. While I do not have any plans to leave my current role, I intend to participate in this course as if I were going to start a new school within the next two years. In other words, I hope to complete all the “assignments” and walk away from the class with a more clearly articulated vision for a new type of school.
With that in mind, I decided to pre-select the name for my future school. It will be called The Neighborhood, a project-based 6-12 school focused upon helping learners find, build upon and use their unique potential to serve their neighbors. For insight into the name, check out my recent article about the life and calling of Mr. Rogers. The vision is a school that is not about everyone learning the same thing. It is instead about learning that which helps one make a unique contribution to the world. This video about whether school is failing Superman makes this point well.
By the way, I’m giving myself another challenge as well. As much as possible, I am going to plan and describe this “school” while using as little schooling vocabulary as possible. I’ve already failed in that effort in the last paragraph. I wrote about project-based and referenced grade levels. I’m sure that I will fall back on such terminology at times. Nonetheless, I still consider a worthy aspiration, and I’m likely to provide a less-jargoned narrative with this goal than without it.
I plan to share more about the “narrative” of this school as I work through the course. Feel free to follow my journey and share your own new school dreams as well.