School’s Out: Engaging Family and the Community

Education Reimagined recently released a paper entitled, “School’s Out,” which set out to explore how we could alter our perspective on the meaning, feel, and delivery of learning. Tom had the opportunity to sit down with the education leaders who authored “School’s Out,” and over the next three podcast episodes, he will be digging deeper into what the future of learning may look like for students.

In this episode, Tom interviews Amy Anderson, Executive Director of ReSchool Colorado; and Scott Van Beck, former Executive Director for the educational non-profit, Houston A+ Challenge. Tom and Amy talk about family participation in learner advocate networks, flexibility within the learner’s day, and what a reimagined model for education may look like for rural students; Tom and Scott Van Beck discuss the expanded role the community could play in offering learning opportunities for students, how teachers and community members could shift into the role of learning designers, and how parents could use their expertise to design learning experiences.

Be sure to check out the position papers by Amy and Scott. Amy’s paper, School’s Out: Exploring a Family-Anchored Strategy to Transform Education explores family engagement and agency. The paper also describes some of the lessons learned, including success with Learner Advocate Networks, from ReSchool. Scott paper, School’s Out: How This Learner-Centered Society Would Liberate Parents explores the idea of community hubs of learning where communities, parents, and teachers play an active role in the education of students.

Key Takeaways:

[:15] Caroline and Jessica introduce today’s topics and guests.
[1:01] Tom welcomes Amy Anderson to the podcast, and she talks about her early education.
[2:05] Amy’s past roles in education, and about her current role with ReSchool Colorado.
[3:01] How the idea that ‘learning occurs everywhere’ became a core part of ReSchool Colorado.
[4:39] Amy’s ideas on what is central to education and how she’d rethink schools.
[5:43] How and why guidance is so crucial in education.
[7:38] What a learning week might look like in Amy’s reimagined school.
[9:55] What might this reimagined education look like in a rural environment?
[11:05] Amy’s ideas on how schools can better equip students to show/demonstrate their expanded skills (i.e. an alternative to report cards.)
[13:40] How Amy invites educators to be a part of the conversation of reimagining school.
[16:41] An introduction to this week’s next guest: Scott Van Beck.
[17:24] Tom welcomes Scott to the podcast.
[17:33] How and why Scott originally became a teacher.
[19:14] Scott summarizes his insights in his “School’s Out” paper.
[21:30] What Scott sees as the new backbone to learning.
[23:22] How learning coaches would work and develop.
[28:13] Scott’s take on how we should think about career preparation now.
[34:29] The importance of getting to know kids, connect them to community opportunities, and how those outcomes can become more important than the traditional skills schools currently teach.

Mentioned in This Episode:

Education Reimagined
ReSchool Colorado
Houston A+ Challenge
School’s Out: What if Schools, As We Know Them, Didn’t Exist?
School’s Out: What if School Didn’t Exist?
School’s Out: Exploring a Family-Anchored Strategy to Transform Education (Amy’s paper)
School’s Out: How This Learner-Centered Society Would Liberate Parents (Scott’s paper)
Teton Science Schools
Donnell-Kay Foundation
Who You Know: Unlocking Innovations That Expand Students’ Networks, by Julia Freeland Fisher

For more, see:

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