Blog

Being recognized…

By |2019-03-16T10:21:01-04:00December 19th, 2018|Reflection, School Redesign|

"The goal is personalized pathways where student strengths and interests shape a journey through foundational skills to college and career readiness." Tom Vander Ark Earlier this month, Building 21 was featured on the Getting Smart blog. We are honored and excited that our work is being shared on a national level. With transparency [...]

Learning through “Challenges”

By |2019-03-16T10:22:16-04:00November 21st, 2018|Personalized Learning, Reflection|

Career exposure through real-world problem solving and team challenge - that was the concept for “Challenge Week” at Building 21 Philadelphia last Spring. What if we identify real-world Students present their proposal for an outdoor redesign of our school courtyard. problems and challenge teams of students to propose solutions? What if we create [...]

Building 21: Designing a Network for Competency-Based Education

By |2019-03-16T10:23:00-04:00September 12th, 2018|Competency-based Education, Personalized Learning, Resource, School Redesign|

This post originally appeared at GETTINGSMART on July 8, 2018.  By Chip Linehan Our current system’s narrow definitions of student success value content knowledge over the skills and mindsets needed for students to thrive in today’s rapidly changing world. On the other hand, next-generation graduation requirements that measure and credit a broader and deeper array [...]

Zen and the Art of Competency-Based Education

By |2019-03-16T10:24:06-04:00May 18th, 2018|Reflection|

I had the privilege of participating in a panel on Competency-Based Education at last week’s NewSchools Venture Fund Summit 2018.  Facilitated by my friend, Dr. Jeremiah Newell, the panel also included Chris Sturgis of CompetencyWorks and Nate McClennen of Teton Science Schools.  We had a terrific conversation about the challenges and opportunities of CBE, as [...]

To Overcome Poor Schools, Students Need to be Engaged by Karen Pittman

By |2019-03-16T10:42:40-04:00March 16th, 2015|Personalized Learning, School Redesign|

"There is, however, one thing that the twins' teachers, families and communities can do to improve their odds, no matter where they go to school: Make sure they are engaged in learning something important with someone who cares about them." To Overcome Poor Schools, Students Need to be Engaged by Karen Pittman   Early in [...]

Call for Creative Educators!

By |2015-02-18T20:35:24-04:00February 18th, 2015|Uncategorized|

Do YOU BELIEVE in US?? Then we need YOU at Building 21! Building 21 is now hiring for Fall 2015! Are you a creative teacher who is passionate about learning and wants to rethink what is possible in high school -- or do you know someone who is?  Then Building 21 may be [...]

Π Day Epiphanies

By |2014-06-02T20:47:32-04:00June 2nd, 2014|Uncategorized|

On 3.14 this year, I sent an email to the team wishing everyone a Happy Pi Day. For fun, I threw in a little brain teaser: what other day of the year could stand in and serve as Pi Day and why? I’m so glad I chose to do that. What a delight! I didn't [...]

Competency-Based Grading

By |2017-04-06T00:05:01-04:00May 22nd, 2014|Uncategorized|

We recently revisited the question, "Why competency-based education?" as a way to step back from our work. As Chip puts it, "Nothing is sacred." We believe that what we are doing transcends any model or method. They are just vehicles to realize our vision. Currently, I am neck deep in the process of envisioning a [...]

Learning Through Doing: Grammar

By |2014-03-06T02:59:16-04:00March 6th, 2014|Uncategorized|

The Wrong Way to Teach Grammar Boston Public Library/Wikimedia Commons This recent piece in The Atlantic makes a compelling case for interest-based learning. Instead of forcing students to master a set of mundane grammatical rules before getting to the "fun" part of writing about things they are interested in, we should throw them [...]