Have you ever heard someone say (or possibly thought yourself), "Why do we need to change school? It worked fine for me!"
I have uttered these words. Five years ago yesterday, my oldest son started kindergarten and my youngest started preschool. My Facebook memories reminded me. When it popped up in my feed, all I could think about was how much I've changed and grown since that day. (Okay, I also thought about how much they've changed and grown... so little and cute!)
Maybe you're getting ready to send one of your babies to school. Maybe you've heard about our school and wondered why anyone would pay money to send their child to a school where they "do school differently". Maybe you understand that school doesn't work for every child, but you're hoping it will work for yours (or maybe it already does). Or maybe you haven't ever thought much about it. I know I hadn't when these pictures were taken. My mindset was fixed in a traditional school setting, which I would argue was because of the traditional school setting I grew up in.
Five years ago, I was wondering why Bismarck Public Schools was grading my child based on "standards". What was wrong with the old way of doing things... As, Bs, Cs, etc? And four short years later, I started a school because the school district wasn't changing fast enough for its students. In fact one group I now follow on Facebook is called "Teachers Going Gradeless"! I am the director of the only school of it's kind in the state of North Dakota, I sit on the Governor Burgum's task force for Innovative Education, and I often speak publicly about innovation, change, and education reform. That is a pretty massive personal change in mindset. What happened between that first day of kindergarten and today? How was I able to undergo such a big mindset shift?
In my next few blog posts I would like to explore the idea of changing mindsets and share my story. My biggest hurdle with The Innovation School is helping people understand how necessary change is within education. If you are interested in learning more, please stay tuned. And if you haven't already, please read Carol Dweck's book, "Mindset: The New Psychology of Success". A wonderful LoS teacher within BPS recommended it to me (thanks Kim!) and it was one within a handful of life-changing books for me. If you are part of a public school trying to make changes within your local system, join the conversation! Without an unlearning and relearning about what educating students means, our communities will have a hard time getting on board with change. Look over and share the mindsets picture below, or contact me for the PDF.
If you or someone you know have already shifted out of the traditional, fixed mindset and are looking for an alternative to traditional school, please reach out. We have financial aid available for this school year for incoming students!
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Maggie Barth - Director and Founder of The Innovation School