Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Architects of “Student-Based” Classrooms to Speak at Summit

The architects of Detroit and Kansas City student-based classrooms will speak at the Innovation Summit.
John Covington, the newly anointed Education Achievement Authority Chancellor, and Mary Esselman, the chief officer for accountability, equity and innovation, will present their “student-based’ classrooms at the School Improvement Innovation Summit.

Covington reportedly says, “We owe it to our young people. We need to bring hope to children whom the vast majority of people, in many cases, our country, have long-since given up on.”

A student-based classroom, according to Covington and Esselman’s model, is stripped of grade levels. Instead of determining that all students of one age must learn at the same rate on the same topics, Detroit’s new chancellor is implementing a skills-based classroom. In a student-based classroom, students demonstrate proficiency in certain skills before moving on to the next classroom.

“Student-based classrooms are fundamentally changing the way we think about learning and education,” says Curtis Linton, vice president of School Improvement Network and presenter at this summer’s Innovation Summit. “Students can personalize their own classroom experience.” When asked if he thought the move toward this model is too bold or difficult to implement, Linton said that the idea is “bold, and absolutely worth it.”

Detroit is not the first city to receive this new classroom model. Covington and Esselman began implementing this classroom model in Kansas City—but some say they didn’t finish.

Covington and Esselman had battled for years to implement the student-based classroom, and they left a framework behind for the new administration to follow. But for some, it was too much too fast. However, Steve Green, the new Kansas City superintendent, says, “I’m not letting loose of the notion. It’s still in the strategic plan.”

Covington and Esselman are not the first to implement the student-based classroom, but they are numbered among the few. Every district that has implemented this new classroom model has had success, though the road has often been difficult.

Difficult or not, however, educators say that they owe their best efforts to the students.

“The kids can do it if we expect them to do it,” she said. “We need to assume that they can learn, rather than that they can’t even though some of them come with unbelievable challenges.”


Join us at the School Improvement Innovation Summit and Common Core Institute July 16-19. Register 3 or more people for both events and save $100! Visit www.siis2012.com for more information.

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