Saturday, December 10, 2022
rural schools are taking more than small steps - YES!
This is actually wonderful and needs to engage the community. Imagination can not be left to one or two indivbiduals.
Certainly all rural schools need to follow this path. Living on a farm always engages a child in some tyupe of effort and practise nicely preparing that child for a full live.
Urban schools have a far harder time doing this as it is harder to fold in useful physical skill development.
Growing up on a farm, I developed rough carpentry skills as a matter of course and applied school taught elctrical and mechanical knowledge. This turned out to be almost impossible to pass on in the city. This is anotherr reason that ending global poverty must be tied directly to rural land management as well.
Keeping bees, rain barrels and baking bread: rural schools are taking more than small steps - they’re taking ‘moonshots' to transform school
People around the United States, from leaders to parents, agree that education needs a healthy dose of change. But where does innovation come from? You might think of university labs and sophisticated tech hubs located in dynamic global cities.
In southwestern Pennsylvania, education innovation is coming from somewhere else: rural school districts.
(that's a really good thing for the future of U.S. food supply)
Recent education innovations have enabled schools to take small steps toward innovation, like moving students from textbooks to tablets. Educators in California Area School District and Butler Area School District want more than small steps—they’re taking “Moonshots” instead, aiming for the kind of changes that transform school for students.
California Area School District (CASD), a small school district in Coal Center, Washington County, Pennsylvania, is piloting a program that gives youth and families a voice in education by developing individualized programs for each and every student. Each student’s “path” is different, based on their interests, and highly experiential. This means that school looks different for each CASD student: some are keeping bees, others are baking bread for neighbors, and still others are building rain barrels.
Butler Area School District (BASD) in Butler County, Pennsylvania, is building a program that helps develop the skills that are needed in their region: entrepreneurship, environmental science, agriculture, and community involvement. Students are growing fresh produce on the acreage of one of Butler’s rural elementary schools, and practicing business skills as they sell the food in the community of one of Butler's urban elementary schools.
Building rain barrels and growing food may not look like what we imagine when we think of “school,” and that’s the point—what these programs look like is “learning,” updated for 2022.
The innovations developed by these two rural school districts have already started to spread: next week, CASD will welcome a group of administrators from nearby urban and suburban districts at a site visit as they share their program and how it can be implemented elsewhere. This event is an opportunity to cover this “Moonshot” innovation just as it reaches altitude and starts to create the kind of transformation that education needs.