Knowledge: Pay It Forward

Jack FirnenoUncategorized

Knowledge: pay it forward

During my mid-twenties, I played drums in a band where everyone else was ten years older than me. They were good players and songwriters; organized and well-resourced. I became a better player by osmosis, and learned a lot about managing bands and booking gigs. My bandmates also gave me plenty of insight and perspective about — for lack of a … Read More

The Mentoring Effect

Alison SnieckusUncategorized

Katy mentoring meeting

When PLC members move on from PLC, into college, work, and life generally, they nearly always express how much their mentoring relationship has helped and supported them as they forged their path through opportunities and offerings. Mentoring is without a doubt the part of the “PLC magic” that we most value. It’s more important than just about everything. The first … Read More

Pure and Simple

Katy BurkeUncategorized

You ever have one of those days when nothing seems to satisfy? Like you’re walking around wearing shades on a cloudy day? I was having a day like that about a week ago and was hungry for something pure and good, something free from the spoils of the modern world.  So I headed east.  Nothing, I thought, is more boundless … Read More

Well-Rounded?

Joel HammonUncategorized

Auroro studying a flower

In a blog post about misunderstandings, Seth Godin wrote this: And anyone who has been through high school has been reminded how important it is to be well-rounded. But Nobel Prize winners, successful NGO founders and just about everyone you admire didn’t get that way by being mediocre at a lot of things. It got me thinking. It’s nearly an … Read More

Bringing Joy to the Classroom

Eileen SmythUncategorized

I was on my way to work recently when it occurred to me I would be early again, and that I was in fact happy about it. Crossing over the bridge into Pennsylvania, I mused on how long it had been since I’d felt sad, pressured, daunted, ground down, or any of the tangle of difficult emotions I used to … Read More

Move Over, Rigor

Katy BurkeUncategorized

Vigor vs Rigor - sprout coming up out of crack in asphalt

Years ago, a good friend of mine said something that just stuck with me.  “I could care less about rigor”—surprising words from an honors-level high school teacher. “What I care about is vigor.” I realized that she had assumed a completely new intention for challenging students in their learning. Rather than trying to get them to work hard at hard … Read More

Teaching Character vs. Compliance

Katy BurkeUncategorized

ready for testing

Educating children can look and feel a lot like raising them.  It is certainly not the same as parenting—I say that as an educator and a parent. However, the purpose of parenting and educating are very much aligned. The word “educate” means “to lead out”—to lead out into the world, into adulthood, into a future. I think it’s important that … Read More

Outcomes for Alumni who Self-Directed their Learning

Alison SnieckusUncategorized

A teen who is interested in costume design, is marking out a pattern for a new design.

When Joel Hammon and Paul Scutt first conceived the idea to create Princeton Learning Cooperative, a number of design elements were modeled on a successful self-directed learning program in central Massachusetts, North Star: Self-Directed Learning for Teens–see our guiding principles. North Star is now in its 20th year and its director, Ken Danford, recently collected and published data exploring the … Read More

The Importance of Play

Scott GallagherUncategorized

two teens playing a game they made up, called ground stomp

As a writing teacher, I love helping writers free themselves of certain not-so-great writing habits. It’s easy to trap yourself as a writer, going down well-worn paths, following forms and ideas already been done. Once you believe a poem or story should look a certain way, if you’re not careful, all your poems look that way. And where did you … Read More

Freedom to Discover on MLK’s Holiday

Eileen SmythUncategorized

Teens at Bucks Learning Cooperative planning for MLK day program

Self-direction gives teens the chance to show they can make wise and loving choices, that they have a good sense of what’s important and what’s needed in the moment. It also lets them feel their effects on others, and understand both the joy and responsibility that comes with being in charge. This was on full display at Bucks Learning Cooperative … Read More