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Creating Kid-Centered Public Schools

Making the public schools a “culture of success”

Every kid is different — not because of a weakness or problem.  Every kid is different because of their natural talents.  Let’s advocate for talents and strengths and make the public schools a culture of success. Here are a few advantages to kid-centered learning. 

Making talents a priority in the public schools

Every day kids worry about making a mistake, getting the wrong answer, or receiving a failing grade, not to mention school violence, drugs, and boring subjects.  When school is based on standards and outcomes learning is not connected to kids’ talents or interests.  Simply put, the talents of kids take a backseat to the curriculum taught in the public schools. 

But there is good news if we put kids first and create a public education system where the talents and interests of kids are a priority, we can create a culture of successful opportunities for all kids.  

To do this, we must create student-centered public schools where kids, parents, and teachers join together to emphasize talents over deficits and opportunities over obstacles.  In student-centered public schools, the curriculum is driven by student talents and not what politicians, bureaucrats, or college professors think kids should master.  

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Strength-based parent, student, teacher teams

  • When we make kids first, we are really talking about making kids’ talent central to learning.  We use the talents of kids to create an innovative, challenging, and energizing learning environment. 
  • To make this happen parents must get involved.  What we need to do is change the relationships among parents, kids, and teachers and create Strength-Based Parent, Student, Teacher Teams in the public schools.  
  • One important place where this change can occur is parent-teacher conferencing.  Unlike most parent-teacher conferences and meetings, which take place once or twice a year,  Strength-Based Parent, Student, Teacher Teams are in constant communication and working together to emphasize kid’s talents.  
  • With communication apps and various tech programs, parents, students, and teachers can work together to create a strength-based learning culture where kids’ talents drive learning.  The result is a curriculum that engages kids around their natural talents.   

Picture this

Hoards of parents line the hallway, waiting for their five precious minutes with you, their child’s teacher. Inside the classrooms, you go over grades and discuss how their child is doing as quickly as you can, and are disappointed by the no-shows. On Back-to-School Night, you try to make connections but time flies by, and again, you wonder if you’ll get to meet the parents who cannot attend. Surely, there’s a better way.

Isn’t it time we shake up how we engage with parents? Let’s form real and lasting partnerships with teachers, students, and families. Here are seven ways to make a change in your learning community.  Continue reading

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Why kids are successful

Most kids are successful because they have applied their natural talents with hard work, passion, and an unwavering commitment to excellence.  With this in mind, all kids would have greater opportunities for success if the public schools encouraged kids to explore their natural talents and areas of interest.  Continue reading

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Parents must be the driving force for change

There are many reasons why our schools will stay the same and not change.  Certainly, we will reform the schools by making adjustments in how teachers teach and how the school day is structured and organized.  Changes will also take place on what is expected from kids, grading procedures, and various class size configurations.  But these and similar efforts to fix public education will do little to make our schools a place where all kids have the opportunity to apply their talents and produce their own success. Here are some ideas for real change.

Through Strength-Based Parent, Student, Teacher Teams kids are valued for the talents they bring to school.  This is just the opposite of how schools are organized today and represents a completely unique approach to student learning.   Instead of a place where kids are viewed in deficit terms, a school is a place where student talents are valued and enriched through parent and teacher engagement.  

But this shift in thinking will not occur on its own. It requires parents, kids, teachers, and school administrators to take a leap of faith by believing in the natural talents of our kids and young adults.   

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