February 21, 2014
I had been eagerly awaiting an opportunity to tour the Grand Island Public School’s Career Pathways Institute for months and enjoyed every last minute of my time spent in that amazing building in December! Wow! Seeing the vision and plans for this program come to fruition is a testament to the wonderful things that can happen when a community and it’s school come together to provide opportunities for students, all the while growing the economic potential of the region.
I believe that the key difference between the Career Pathways Institute (CPI) and the traditional school mental models is the fact that CPI is a learning/student-centered program, unlike the traditional teacher-centered school model. The learning-centered model of CPI focuses on project and problem-based experiences where core content is integrated as required. This model maximizes on the whole notion of making learning relevant as teachers become the guide and support as students “learn by doing”.
After seeing such a successful program, many questions emerged as I reflected on my beliefs about what education should look like in schools:
•Can we afford to continue to affirm the traditional model of the teacher serving as the deliverer of predetermined knowledge, where learning is only assessed by the facts that students can retain long enough to pass a test and pass or fail accordingly?
•As educators, are we being neglectful when we know what kind of student success results from this type of learning, yet continue to function with the one size fits all approach because it is orderly and convenient for the adults involved?
•How do we engage the educational stakeholders of our region and state to begin the dialogue about how we can provide these types of opportunities for all students?
I encourage you to read more about the GIPS Career Pathways Institute by accessing their web page http://www.careerpathwaysinstitute.org/.
by Kelly Clapp, Professional Development Coordinator