Redesigning High School: An Open-Walled Approach

- Connie Yowell, Collective Shift and Elyse Eidman-Aadahl, National Writing Project

There is broad agreement today about the need to redesign our nation’s high schools. Ideas and initiatives abound from the schoolhouse to the White House for how our nation can reinvent a 19th-century-model school system to better serve the needs of 21st-century students. But the reality is that in today’s ever-more complex, information-saturated, globally connected age, schools can no longer do it all. And indeed, they should not be expected to do so. No one institution can provide the array of skills and competencies that today’s young people need to succeed in life, work and community. To truly create the high school of the future, schools need an open-walled approach that incorporates the rich and highly flexible learning resources already available outside the classroom. Including access to mentors, workplace internships and opportunities to pursue interest-based learning at community institutions or online, high schools must have support to create a positive Read More

Looking for a Few Great Ideas

Musical artist John Legend credits a teacher with encouraging him to develop his musical talents and follow his dreams. Now he is paying it forward with support for LRNG Innovators in partnership with the National Writing Project. LRNG Innovators challenges teachers to bring innovation into the classroom and — with support from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation — gives classroom teachers funding to put their ideas into action. The 2015 LRNG Innovators Challenge is now open. Applications are due January 13, 2016. Connected Learning research and practice has demonstrated that all young people can achieve and learn when they are given opportunities to follow their interests, receive support from peers and mentors, and have time and space to create work that is meaningful to them. Out-of-school programs and community institutions like libraries and museums provide rich learning opportunities that young people value, but in many cases these Read More