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

Common Sense Standard (CSS) # 1

Katy BurkeUncategorized

Jedi Training Academy by Loren Javier

(See the first post in this series – Common Sense Learning.) Education is training; not a performance, game or race to the top.  It shouldn’t make or break anyone, but it should shape and build everyone. The way I see it, no one passes or fails in training. They simply get more or less out of it. Training equips, but … Read More

Common Sense Learning

Katy BurkeUncategorized

Many different cutouts to represent our kids, one square cut out to represent common core

“Common Core-aligned” has become the quality control test by which we measure a legitimate education. A quick Google search will reveal droves of businesses selling academic resources and programs on the basis of their “alignment.” Teachers are feeling constant pressure to “hit the standards,” standards that are meant to get everyone on the same page. And yet, I think the … Read More

It’s Not a Mystery

Joel HammonUncategorized

teenager saying thank you to volunteers

Let me start with a simple fact: a lot of teenagers don’t like school. (Shocking, I know.) There are a lot of reasons for this, but one of the big ones is that many teens don’t feel like they have much say in their day-to-day lives — the work they do, who they interact with, their schedule. This lack of control … 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

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