For decades, the US has largely relied on a one-size-fits-all approach to schooling. Highly varied kids go to school at a fixed age, for a fixed number of hours and days; far too have varied gaps and learning that their schools cannot accommodate. Students advance—or not—after a fixed, but increasingly arbitrary, number of days and years. Teachers still use uniform methods of instruction and assessment. We continue to see that our students aren’t prepared. It isn’t working.
In response to this, a number of promising models are beginning to recognize the significant teaching, learning and context shifts required to develop a new generation of thoughtful, productive and engaged citizens. But without the proper capacity, structures and incentives, these new models will not spread quickly enough.
That’s why the “Open Call for Education Innovators” from Chicago International Charter School (CICS) is so exciting. The Open Call is an opportunity for school leaders and teachers to test, refine and implement new approaches to teaching and learning. CICS will provide administrative and financial support so the educators can do what they do best: design and execute a set of high-impact learning experiences to prepare students for the demands of the 21st century.
There are a range of opportunities available for education innovators, including:
- Designing and launching new classroom models
- Designing and launching “fresh start” schools
- Leading the transformation of an existing school
- Leading the transformation of multiple schools
Though many organizations acknowledge the importance of education innovation, there aren’t nearly enough opportunities for educators to put their ideas in to action. CICS, which already operates 14 campuses serving over 8,000 students in Chicago from kindergarten through high school, clearly understands that those opportunities are crucial for moving our education system forward. Hopefully other school operators and districts follow their example.