Education is a moving target. Think back to when most of us were young. There was books, homework, a movie once in a while and a speaker or two a year. Today, the challenge is a bit more for educators who face the mountain of distractions and living life in the 20 somethings. The level of information available to kids has never been higher. The level of input to kids, good and bad has never been more. The pressures of society continue to increase and to grab young minds and get them to focus.....ever hear of Mt. Everest? It's that kind of climb. Innovation is happening at Reeths-Puffer Schools however, in a very big way. On August 1st they had the Summer Acceleration Celebration and if "Summer School" is what comes to mind.....it's time for a rethink.
Imagine hundreds of kids WANTING to explore something educational in the summer? Reeths_Puffer unlocked the way to do it and the party was underway Monday for the participants in the Summer Acceleration program. Superintendent Steve Edwards and Nate Smith who is the Director of Instruction and Learning joined me to talk about how they have crafted a way to engage young people with hands on experience based learning in the months usually reserved for a little "down time". While it's true a break is needed for anyone, it's in the remolding of how education is delivered that the balance is found and how the courses were offered is a new way of thinking all together too.
Students were asked what inspires them. The were asked what would they get out of bed at 8am all summer to do and learn more about. From there, they found ways to engage local places in the community that could add in activity along with the "books and stuff" to show just how essential what it learned is put to work in every day applications. Would you stop and think physics on a visit to the Muskegon Sports Park where the luge run is? They did, and in partnering with the school. the park helped with access to their grounds so kids could see first hand "how it works". It's in the idea of giving an opportunity to bring something inspiring to life and when young minds are inspired instead of forced....it's a teaspoon of sugar on top of the learning as opposed to "the job" of getting an education.
As the new school year approaches, we wish all of our schools the very best and our thanks to Steve and Nate for taking a couple moments out of the day to share this incredible learning innovation. Let's hope it spreads. You can learn more about Reeths-Puffer Schools by clicking on their logo below.