Most of us remember our school days, having to sit still, burying our heads in text books and changing classes every fifty minutes. That is the school of yesterday.
Starting in 2020, some school districts in Southern Minnesota will be revolutionizing education through an innovative new program that will change the way your kids will learn. Districts participating are Janesville-Waldorf-Pemberton, Waseca, St. Peter, Tri-City United, Sleepy Eye, Fairmont, Granada Huntley East Chain, St. James and South Central Service Cooperative.
Andy Traetow, Principal of Fairmont Junior High, said: “This innovation zone will really allow us to work together to help each other and really capitalize on the strengths of the different school districts to help each other move forward.”
Learning will be far more individualized. The curriculum is tailored towards their personal educational goals. Emphasis is placed on projects and strengthening learning styles. A student’s day might not consist of going from class to class every hour. Instead they may work half the day on a project, and then do job shadowing at a business.
Kim Niss, Principal of Fairmont Senior High School, said: “Let’s say a teacher creates their lesson, a blended lesson, that the students can do the night before at home then they can use that time the next day to prepare for their calculus test that’s coming up the next hour. So it’s giving kids more flexibility to do what they need to do with the time.”
Some students have already been experiencing this tailor made education. So far, they love it.
“You know, the one thing our kids always ask for is they love time with the teacher. They love one-on-one time with the teacher, small group time with the teachers so some of these changes have allowed for that to just naturally happen and that’s what I think our students appreciate so much and our teachers do as well.” Niss said.
If this program end up being a success, School is going to look like a very different place in ten years.