Wednesday, June 13, 2007

The Met School

Apparently there was some buzz about The Met school a couple of years ago, but I totally missed it. Sounds like a really cool learning model, emphasizing individualized programs for each student:
"No two students have the same curriculum. There are no bells, no 45-minute classes, and no one-size-fits-all curriculum. Rather than the ordinary top-down approach, where students learn everything in the order in which it's laid out in a textbook, we build a personalized learning plan around each student's needs, interests, and passions."
Many of the elements they've selected from the buffet table of methodologies and approaches are ones I've wished someone would assemble to see how it might all work together...and they've been doing it for years already: small schools, portfolio/presentation-based assessment, advisors who stay with the same small group of kids right through high school, community internships working on meaningful projects. The cool thing is that it's actually working, and other places are looking to emulate the best of what they're doing:
"Also in 2003, the Rhode Island Board of Regents issued new high school regulations declaring that by the spring of 2004 every public high school in the state would submit a plan to enact these policies. These new requirements come straight from The Met's design and include an advisory system, internships, individual learning plans, senior exhibitions and portfolios."
So there is hope that these ideas could lead to systemic change. Check out this list of articles about it from the mainstream media.

Update (July 17): Stephen links to Ewan McIntosh's post, which includes a video of a student talking about her experience at the school. The most interesting thing to me about The Met is that it's pretty radically different from traditional, but people respond well to it because it still looks like school -- it doesn't freak people out like the free-for-all approach of the Sudbury Schools. There's still a building kids go to, lots of paid grown-ups to help, and very specific (and stringent) standards to meet. Yet the pedagogical approach is revolutionary. So maybe this is a necessary half-step between old-school models and a new model with even more freedom, support and real learning.

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