Serious School Redesign: ERC Efforts Moving Forward

We’re proud to announce that an ERC-led team has been selected to participate in the upcoming Mass Ideas Summer School Design Studio, a three-day working session for teams that want help to create innovative school models (whole-school redesign or new school design). The experience is intended to support teams to apply key levers for high-quality, innovative learning design and develop action plans for continued work following the event.  According to their website, Mass IDEAS “supports bold education thinkers across the Commonwealth to turn their ideas for reimagining school into reality, and with interest in any Massachusetts public school governance options”.

The team consists of ERC Co-Founders Wayne Ogden and Larry Myatt  joined by community partner Michael Dawson of Innovators for Purpose (iFp), strategy advisor Sharon Lloyd Clark, and Kristina Lamour Sansone of Lesley University, College of Art and Design who brings graphic design for learning expertise. Dr. Katrina Kennett, ERC Consulting Practitioner for Technology and Professional Learning, will join the team as needed moving forward.

Many of the ERC team’s ideas are guided by redesign and inquiry efforts well under way at White Mountains Regional High School and Manchester’s McLaughlin Middle School, through a STEM partnership with STEAM-Ahead NH. Both schools are moving ahead with a strikingly different approach to organizing for learning, adopting a novel framework and practices that the ERC Design Team will seek to refine in the Summer Design Studio. ERC in particular is looking for community collaborators seeking more inclusive, high-performing STEM programming and who are excited about new designs to achieve that.

Beginning in 2020, Mass Ideas will offer implementation grants for school teams who are ready to launch their designs. Mass IDEAS is part of an initiative launched by Next Generation Learning Challenges (NGLC). Since its founding, NGLC has grown to include a burgeoning group of organizational and philanthropic partners who are actively expanding the adoption of innovations that completely reimagine K–12 in their regional communities and nationally. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, the Broad Foundation, Michael and Susan Dell Foundation, Oak Foundation, and the Barr Foundation are among the key funders.

The ERC group has built its approach around “six big ideas”:

1-the equity challenge: high-quality opportunities for learning are distributed unevenly in Massachusetts (and elsewhere); achievement is unacceptably low in many schools

2-a core challenge in secondary schools is student disinterest in classroom learning; loss of curiosity, choice and engagement explain flat achievement

3-the traditional curriculum is increasingly problematic; the allotment of time, adult roles, assessment schema, student groupings and pedagogy that accommodate it prevent and undermine truly “student-centered”, personalized learning

4-a more engaging curriculum framework is available

5-re-ordering key elements of learning will yield greater student engagement and achievement

  • start with curiosity and thrill
  • hands-on, experiential activities and multiple simultaneous inquiry efforts propel inquiry
  • learning with generative, big questions, and the uninhibited pursuit of learners’ “mysteries"
  • emphasize skills in a “learning team” context
  • unpack and negotiate a more suitable and generative place for standards

6- a new, comprehensive learning management framework is required and is part of our design

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For more information on the ERC Redesign and Grand Challenges efforts, please email wayne.ogden@gmail.com.