Teacher explains difference between thermal and kinetic energies and compliments student—“great answer, Michael.” After finishing the Bell Work questions, teacher says: “I am going to segue into our storyboard conversation—I checked off your storyboards—you need to double-check—look at your rubrics that I passed out on your tables” Goldsworthy and her next-door colleague have teamed up in designing a “Phase Change Project” to understand how a solid changes into a liquid and then into a gas (e.g., ice, water, vapor).Concepts of thermal and kinetic energy are central in explaining how solids go to liquids and then gases (see here for slides that elaborate on the project).I spoke briefly with two of the three teachers whose lessons I observed and got a flavor of their enthusiasm for their students and the school.For readers who want a larger slice of what this private school seeks to do (tuition runs around ,0-2016) can see video clips and read text about the philosophy, program, teaching staff, and the close linkages between technology in this and sister “micro-schools” (see Alt/school materials here) Since I parachuted in for a few hours–I plan to see another “micro-school” soon–I cannot describe full lessons, the entire program, teaching staff or even offer an informed opinion of Yerba Buena.Efficiency and effectiveness are married to progressive principles in practice.That is the dream that I heard from Max Ventilla one October morning.[Progressive schools] as compared with traditional schools [display] a common emphasis upon respect for individuality and for increased freedom; a common disposition to build upon the nature and experience of the boys and girls common to them, instead of imposing from without external subject-matter and standards.They all display a certain atmosphere of informality, because experience has proved that formalization is hostile to genuine mental activity and to sincere emotional expression and growth.
Alt/Schools There are five “micro-schools” in San Francisco.
“We weren’t seeing,” he said, “the kind of experiences that we thought would really prepare her for a lifetime of change.” He decided to build a school that would be customized for individual students, like their daughter, where children could further their intellectual passions while nourishing all that makes a kid, a kid.
In listening to Ventilla, that story was repeated but far more important I got a clearer sense of what he has in mind for Altschool in the upcoming years.
The Alt School embodies many of the principles of progressive education from nearly a century ago–as do other schools in the U. Just as Dewey’s Lab School at the University of Chicago (1896-1904) became a hothouse experiment as a private school, so has the Alt School and its network of “micro-schools” in the Bay area and New York City over the past five years (see here, here, here, and here).
Progressive schools, then and now, varied greatly yet champions of such schools from Dewey to Francis Parker to Jesse Newlon to Alt/School’s Max Ventilla believed they were already or about to become “good” schools.