Tagged “Creativity”

Diverse Learning Community Uses Education Innovations to Aid Achievement

Summit Intermediate School, Etiwanda, Calif.

Summit Intermediate School, located in Etiwanda, California, joins the prestigious list of California Schools to Watch after commendation by whole child partner National Forum to Accelerate Middle Grades Reform. Summit pursues unique and innovative educational practices like “X-Time,” an extra support period for students, as part of its mission to provide for its diverse student community. These efforts are clearly paying off, as Summit’s standardized testing score averages have increased considerably in the past five years.

School Develops Dignity and Pride in Everything Students Do

Salt Brook Elementary School, New Providence, N.J.
 

Salt Brook strives to bring the Golden Rule to life by encouraging students to develop dignity and pride in everything they do. Salt Brook students see themselves not merely as classmates, but also as citizens of the world. Teachers view character education not as an additional element to their classroom practice but as a comprehensive, pedagogical approach to education. Collaboration and creativity work hand-in-hand, as staff, students, parents, and community members are all involved in conversation, reflection, and choice of annual character themes. Teacher teams work to link daily instruction to weekly events, monthly programs, and annual themes. Salt Brook encourages a “Pass It On!” approach to service. Students participate in service projects that are both personal and community-based. They understand at a very personal and profound level the powerful adage, “If it is to be, it is up to me.”
 

Every Individual Has a Role to Play

Aitken College, Greenvale, Victoria, Australia

Aitken College is a co-educational and independent preK–12 school serving families living in the northwest region of Melbourne. Students are encouraged to use their expanding knowledge as a basis for investigation, problem solving, critical thinking, and creativity. The school's well-being and mental health program is proactive, hands-on, skill-based, and data driven. The school has developed a core team, comprising a wide range of dedicated staff that raises awareness of well-being issues and develops different mental health and well-being initiatives. This core team is then able to inform policy and program development based around key concepts of student-staff well-being as a whole-school approach and that every individual has an important role to play.

Recognized as a MindMatters School in 2011 by whole child partner Principals Australia Institute, Aitken College has a comprehensive life skills curriculum for all students that addresses self-image, self-esteem, relationships, sex and drug education, resiliency, bullying, mental health, and well-being. The school supports staff wellness, meditation classes for both staff and students, and a cybersafety group.

Student Voice and Project-Based Learning

Malcolm Price Laboratory School, Cedar Falls, Iowa

The 2010 Vision in Action: The ASCD Whole Child Award winner, Malcolm Price Laboratory School, in Cedar Falls, Iowa, has a long-standing tradition of focusing on the whole child. Price Lab believes that its community is not so much a place as an experience of feeling valued, connected, and responsible.

Among other efforts, the K–12 school actively seeks to engage students through programs that support project-based learning. Students in elementary, middle, and high school devise or choose projects of personal interest—examples include hosting a radio show, investigating string theory, producing a film production, and developing a game. The students then see these projects through from conception to completion.

This student-centered approach has been fundamental in developing important 21st century skills, such as demonstrating initiative and self-direction, and using individual talents for productive outcomes. It has also allowed students to have a greater voice and develop a greater sense of ownership in the school and its activities.

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