To the editor:
We understand and appreciate the question posed by Kim Vangel in her letter to the editor in last week’s Call.
How do we ensure that all students are provided opportunities beyond STEM to engage in project-based learning, personalized learning and opportunities to address real-world challenges? It is a question discussed in the earliest conversations by the Implementation Team supporting the Choice School of Innovation. We’ve given the question much thought and would like to share the reasons why we are supporting the new Choice School of Innovation.
Change within an organization the size of the Mehlville School District requires a catalyst; it requires a spark. Make no mistake — great teachers staff every elementary school and great things are taking place in classrooms across our district. Such pockets of innovation headline our schools’ Facebook pages, whet the appetites of our students to imagine what is possible and have become a source of pride in each of our buildings.
However, these isolated pockets represent efforts that are moving in various directions. To build momentum as a district, we need all efforts moving in a deliberate, combined manner. A Choice School of Innovation presents this opportunity.
The school will offer a central location to pioneer innovative practices, refine instruction, offer professional development to other elementary schools in the district and bring new pedagogy to full scale. It will accelerate the innovation that continues to take place in each existing elementary school.
Our students and families also deserve choice. We know from research and our conversations with existing students that traditional classroom settings do not reach all students. While there are students who thrive in these settings, there are many who do not.
Many students crave ownership of their own learning and the pace of that learning even at the earliest age. These students should not have to explore options outside of the Mehlville School District.
The Choice School of Innovation will be uniquely prepared to embrace these students and offer them a new pathway for learning.
We encourage additional dialogue as we continue to explore the possibility of the new Choice School of Innovation. Members of the steering committee will be attending PTO meetings, conducting open forums, soliciting student and community voices and preparing for our January presentation to the Board of Education.
The Choice School can represent the sum of the district’s creativity, hopes, potential and future. Let’s make our efforts a reality.
The CSOI Implementation Team