One of the most exciting parts of my job are the cool people I get to meet. Glen Lineberry is one of them. Glen is Principal at Miami Junior-Senior High School. He describes his school as a “small rural school on the move.” The first thing that strikes you when you meet Glen is his curiosity, energy and passion for ideas. He is widely and deeply read, and conversations with him are often peppered with connections he makes between literature, philosophy, history and art. He truly has an inter-disciplinary mind, one that sees the human endeavor as not being siloed by tradition but rather as being a rich interconnected whole.
It is not surprising then to see that the project he is passionate about is to completely rethink the 7th and 8th grade curriculum in his school. We on the community design lab team had an opportunity to spend a day on April 13 with the faculty at Miami Junior-Senior High facilitating their curriculum planning experience. The goal of the day was to look at the 7th-8th grade curriculum through an integrated lens. Students, Glen argues, often do not see the connection between their school subjects, and his goal is to create a new curriculum that foregrounds the connections between them and better engages students.
One framing that was discussed for a unit was around history – specifically the time period from the beginning of the first World War to the end of the second. The challenge for the teachers was to create activities and lessons for their particular subject areas (from language arts to STEM, from journalism to music) that would connect with that time in history. Also up for discussion were ways in which people and organizations outside of the school could be brought into the classroom.
The sessions were led by Ben Scragg (our lead design strategist) and it was exciting to see the teachers take on this challenge and explore new ways of thinking about curriculum, student engagement and much, much more with great engagement and creativity. This is ongoing work and we will provide updates as things progress. For now, we are just thrilled to part of one school’s attempt to reinvent teaching and learning.