Throughout the semester, we have looked at issues of access, diversity, equality/equity, individualism, choice, integration, curriculum, identity, ethnicity, race, socioeconomics, globalization, short and long-term goals, assessment, mental health/well-being/belonging and more in relation to education in the U.S. All of these have been documented on presentation slides, on Padlets, in post-discussion reflections, and in research projects.
This project requires that you synthesize information from our discussions to design “the ideal school” and the “ideal school system.” This school is not “ideal” because it has tons and tons of money – though equitable funding should be a concern. It is ideal because it attempts to achieve the many goals and address the many concerns we have examined in class:
overcoming/lessening social reproduction
dismantling the school to prison pipeline
a democratic / liberal arts education
preparation for a wide variety of jobs and job requirements,
preparation for college and a holistic college admissions process
meeting the needs of a diverse group of students with different strengths, challenges, preferences, and needs (counseling, curriculum choices, etc.)
achieving diverse student and faculty bodies (reasons it is good for all – or why you feel a degree of separation in some schools might be good for all)
creating charter, magnet, and other types of school “choice” (or not)
using standardized testing (and/or other forms of) assessment / accountability
attracting, retaining, and assessing quality teachers and counselors
using ethnic studies curricula (why, how, why not)
creating conditions for success for all students.
Your school and system need to be able to support the needs of a diverse population of students in terms of socioeconomics, race and ethnicity, and gender. If you choose to focus on a specific group for a school you design, please show how all groups would be catered to within a district, city, or state.
Projects should focus on secondary (not primary) schools, unless you have background in literacy training.
You are allowed to “change” how funding works, how zoning works, how curricula and assessment are designed, etc. But be ready to deal with the consequences of integration and other changes you might make.
0.Mission Statement
School mission statements indicate the priorities and goals of a school community.
School mission statements are documents that define where your school is going and drive decisions accordingly. They lay out educational goals, community priorities and the purpose of your school.
Currently, public schools (charters differ) are funded mainly from state and local taxes, with federal funding comprising less than 10%. What would be the sources of funding for your ideal school? How would funding be distributed? Please provide your rationale.
Student Distribution:
Integration, Zoning, controlled choice, etc.? How would students be assigned in your school? Would you aim for neighborhood schools? For a charter school system? For the current or a different zoning system? For another outside-the-box option? Please explain your choice and its rationale.
Curriculum and Pedagogy:
Activity types, foci, special programs, etc. Please include an overall discussion of what you think is the most appropriate overall pedagogical approach for your school (and the rationale) given all the issues we have talked about in urban public schools — and the need for engagement, belonging, and trust/respect. If possible, also list some specifics activities you might incorporate. And maybe give me a glimpse into what your classrooms might look like.
Assessment Procedures
How would students be assessed in your school? What role would standardized testing play (this might also mean you have to talk about how ideal college admissions might look)? Please describe what your assessment would look like and why.
Given your overall mission and goals in your ideal school that services at least some students from low-income backgrounds, what qualifications would you require of your instructors (education, specialized training etc)? what expectations would you have regarding their approach to teaching and their beliefs about education and the students your school would serve? What ongoing professional development would you require? And how would you assess instructors?
Extracurriculars/ Special Projects
Given the varying needs and interests of students in your school, what extracurricular projects or special programs might you include to increase engagement, provide after-school support for students? These projects could be solely within the school or involve outside groups (businesses, community. parents, etc). Please explain your choices.
Advising/ Counseling
Given your discussions of the model minority myth, the school-to-prison pipeline, and mental health in schools, what type of counseling would be available at your school? And what type of academic support programs? College counseling? Please describe the options and explain their significance.
Heere’s what you want to say
OK — here is your chance. What did you not get a chance to say under the other categories? What aspect of your school has not been outlined in the static categories given? What issue that we have discussed is most important to you — and how will your approach to it be highlighted in your school? what is your school’s overall mission in terms of addressing social reproduction or addressing trauma or addressing the needs of the 21st century or….? You can elaborate on anything you want to here.