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Personalized Education While Changing Places of Learning

June 18, 2014 in Economics

By Nat Hentoff

Nat Hentoff

A key demonstrator of part of the potential future of American education is Brent Wise, Director of Innovation and Extended Learning for the Hilliard City School District, located in a suburb of Columbus, Ohio. The district includes 16,000 students from pre-kindergarten to 12th grade.

He currently presides at the McVey Innovative Learning Center (ILC), named for former Hilliard City Schools Superintendent Dale McVey.

As I have long believed, Wise argues that schools should no longer take “a one-size-fits-all approach.”

And he explains via email, “Four years ago, a group of Hilliard City School educators came together to develop a plan for what (high) schools should look and feel like (here) in the year 2020.”

The genesis of the ILC, he says, came from educators’ desire “for a design of a high school of the future. One that personalizes education for each student in a way that allows them to pursue their passion.”

Last fall, the ILC opened its doors to more than 800 students.

“This next fall,” Wise says, “we have had over 1,200 requests to come to the Innovative Learning Center.”

Wise, who is a former classroom teacher, describes the diverse adventures in learning at the ILC:

“We have talented music students … so we offer a sound engineering course … Students learn how to make professional recordings while writing and performing their own music.

“For the students interested in the world of television journalism and movie production, we offer courses that allow for creative production.”

I’m already fantasizing. At my public high school, Boston Latin School, I would have rushed into a course on reporting — with guest professional journalists — in all forms of communication.

Wise continues: “For the students that are not successful in the typical classroom, we offer a personalized route of taking classes online and preparing an individual plan.

“Students can come here and work in the relaxed atmosphere with their learning coach, at their pace and comfort zone.

“We offered a jumpstart on college that provided our students with up to 32 credit hours of college, while they are in high school.”

What especially surprised me is the way the ILC builds student confidence by allowing the kids to share their rising skills, which can benefit other learners.

Says Wise: “Students could also come here for authentic learning experiences such as our Career Mentorship program, which allows students to go out and mentor in a field of their choice during their class …read more

Source: OP-EDS

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