Why Are Our Kids So Worried?

Joel HammonUncategorized

The word Anxiety spelled out with Scrabble tiles

Ask any educator, guidance counselor, local therapist or parent and they will tell you the same thing – the rise in anxiety and depression among young people is alarming.

Common Sense Standard (CSS) #3

Katy BurkeUncategorized

Group of PLCers having fun together in the music room

Education should be shaped around the students, not the other way around. I deeply, firmly, believe that “everybody [has] their something,” at least one special something to offer.

Jumping Off A Cliff! But, Not Really…

Joel HammonUncategorized

Sitting on top of a mountain, looking out and taking in the view

Princeton Learning Cooperative has been supporting young people and their families to be in charge of their life and education for the past 8 years. We’ve seen that providing a flexible, interest-based education in a welcoming community with caring adults can be a LIFE-CHANGING idea for young people. In order to get this flexibility to really do what is in … Read More

Common Sense Standard (CSS) #2

Katy BurkeUncategorized

Image still from Ferris Buellers Day off, in front of Picasso exhibit

(See the first post in this series – Common Sense Learning.) Children want more autonomy as they grow…and that’s a good thing. One of the greatest struggles I felt as a public high school teacher was working with kids who didn’t want to do what I was asking them to do.  Often times, I couldn’t justify why my task list for … Read More

Self-Directed Education is a Really Good Idea: A TEDx Talk

Joel HammonUncategorized

Joel Hammon on stage at TEDxCarngieLake

There is a lot of talk about how traditional education is not always a good fit for every young person. What’s not talked about as much, but is absolutely true from my experience in the system, is that traditional education is not a good fit for many of the adults working there as well. Here’s the video of the TEDx … Read More

Letting Go and Listening

Scott GallagherUncategorized

The traditional school system structure is top down with teachers somewhere in the middle. Everyone knows their role, and can choose to submit or rebel as it suits them.  At The Learning Cooperatives we replace the top down model with a collaborative approach where the teens have much more agency. Not being told what to do can create some culture … Read More

Giving Grades the Deep Six

Eileen SmythUncategorized

At The Learning Cooperatives, we view liberation from grading as a cornerstone of our approach. This decision isn’t only based in ideology, but experience. I’ve taught for over twenty years in various types of institutions including some that used grades and some that didn’t. I’ve observed that grades often do a lot less good than we hope and often more … Read More

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

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