Wednesday, April 27, 2016

#XQAmerica: Future School #RethinksHighschool

        Fort Smith Future School has students, parents and business owners excited and engaged as our community rethinks high school. It's a concept that has created a sizable media stir. A high school designed by students...for students? What does that look like? 

      It begins with community participation - from students, parents, neighbors and business people. When you go to one of the Thursday night Create-a-thon meetings, you'll see a community of adults and students enthusiastically engaged in designing a school that provides students with an opportunity to learn in an environment that fosters real learning.         

       Future School doesn't look like my high school...and probably not yours. It takes
shape as students identify interests, as parents cut the apron strings, as educators listen, and as business owners become participants. It is no secret that today's students have different interests, new technologies at their disposal, and actively seek new learning experiences. And now, hi-tech business leaders are opening the checkbook to invest in tomorrow's young people as we #rethinkhighschool.

       America's educational system has not undergone a major transformation in nigh 100 years. Yet, our society has changed at an incredible speed. Recognizing the need for educational reform, Lauren Powell Jobs, widow of Apples Steve Jobs has committed $50,000,000 to seed the XQ Super School Project. Our very own Ft. Smith Future School is in the running to win $10,000,000 (yes, million) to seed the city's first, free public charter school. 

     So, how does a school go about winning one of the 5 awards that will be announced come August 2016? First applicants have to design their school to meet government standards and legal requirements. After that...the sky is the limit. 

     Ft. Smith Future School students are teaming with parents, educators and business leaders to define what their school looks like, the programs offered,and how they present these ideas. Students then go through a process to discover for themselves how they can accomplish their goals. What resources are required (people, money, money, equipment, etc); and what are the obstacles that will need to be overcome.

     One might rightfully ask, "How is this process working out?" Well, if you want to experience the project first hand, message Trish Flanagan on FaceBook and ask to be included in event reminders. If you're not quite ready to get involved, check out this video and share this story with others.

     Together, we can #rethinkhighschool and help our Ft. Smith win a $10,000,000 educational award!