Let’s Inspire Innovation ‘N Kids
Do something different rather than more rigor of the same – this approach is working in other countries & some of these ideas have been adopted in charter schools in the U.S.
Students in the United States have achieved progressively lower scores in reading, math, and science for the past 20 years, and the country presently muddles along in the middle of the pack on national and global assessments1, even though legislators continue to throw more money at schools and teachers are required to teach more and more to specific test standards.
As a result of this mindset, participation in physical education has declined across U.S. schools, due to the belief that if students are in class for more hours, teacher competencies are measured competitively, and teachers teach to a test, students will ultimately become better learners/scholars. There is strong research that shows that children who engage in more physical activity and play and less academic content daily will do better academically than children who are sedentary, less creative and active, and pressured with more academic content daily.
The LiiNK Project is based on research in the U.S. and other countries to incorporate a much more inclusive model than traditional public schools have adopted over the past 20 years. Two private schools and two public school districts (four elementary schools) in the DFW area are participating in this project (see list of schools on front page). LiiNK Project consists of four steps (see below): Training takes place each spring for a new cohort of LiiNK project schools and the launch begins the following fall for each cohort. We are in our first Cohort of Schools.
- Increase the amount of physical activity/recess in the schools
- Create equality across content areas; add ethics/character development as a content area
- Assess students differently (assess with developmental tracking instead of grades twice a semester); less standardized testing – more local control
- Restructure the school day (less hours in classroom for K-6 students; extra time in play/creativity)
This plan has the potential to strengthen the public school system through better health (less obesity, less type II diabetes, increased energy), higher expectations of social responsibility (emphasizing ethical behaviors); more time to be playful and creative in order to learn more effectively when in the classroom; fewer standardized tests, which will develop more student confidence and self-esteem to learn, because a student will no longer be labeled by a score; and less time in a classroom setting (although no less rigor of content), which will create more passion in students to learn and less burnout as a result of too much time in school.