Perspectives on School Purpose

One useful framework for thinking about the purpose of school is what Professors Damian Bebell and Steven Stemler call the MIA Model. This model suggests that schools should exhibit congruence between: 

Learn More About the MIA of these Aspects of School...

Featured School:
Woodward Academy, Georgia

Just six weeks after the sudden and unexpected closure of their large K12 campus near Atlanta, Georgia, Connie White (Director of Learning, Design, and Innovation) explains how the Woodward Academy addressed the challenge of maintaining academic rigor and re-thinking student assessment practices for emergency home learning. In this April 24, 2020 Zoom interview by Steve Stemler and Damian Bebell, Connie shares some of the formative, summative, and diagnostic assessment approaches and resources she has used to support nearly 400 K-12 teachers at Woodward. Click here to visit the Woodward Academy website

Featured School:
Foxcroft Academy, Maine

What is the purpose of school? How can schools assure their students are achieving all off the outcomes espoused by their school community and school mission statement? In this video, Professors Steven Stemler and Damian Bebell travel to the Foxcroft Academy high school in Dover-Foxcroft, Maine to learn more about their Mission Standard Portfolio. The Mission Standards portfolio is a simply, yet effective system to ensure that each and every Foxrcoft Academy graduate can demonstrate and personally apply each of five community/student standards: Clear and Effective Communicator, Creative and Practical Problem Solver, Self-Directed and Lifelong Learner, Responsible and Involved Citizen, and Integrative and Informed Thinker. Featuring interviews with school leadership Arnold Shorey and Jonathan Pratt, this video provides a short introduction on how one US high school is working to align their student assessment system with all aspects of their core values and school mission statement.  Click here to visit the Foxcroft Academy website

In the second video, just weeks after the sudden and unexpected closure of the Foxcroft Academy, Arnold Shorey and Jonathan Pratt share some of the approaches and tools used to connect families and support students at this 200-year old Maine high school. Through establishment of new wifi hotspots across the community, leveraging technology, and consolidated faculty support, Arnold and Jonathan describe how Foxcroft kept their rural high school community safe, connected, and supported during an unprecedented shut down in Spring 2020. Interview footage collected on April 23, 2020 by Damian Bebell and Steve Stemler.  Campus footage collected in-person November, 2019.

Featured School:
North Broward Prep, Florida

Weeks after the sudden and unexpected closure of their large K12 campus South Florida, leaders at North Broward Preparatory School discuss how they transitioned to home learning. This is a two part series based on an April 22, 2020 Zoom interview by Damian Bebell and Steve Stemler, 

In Part 1, Bruce Fawcett (Head of School) and Genevieve Hoppe (Assistant Head of School) share how weekly surveys of parents, teachers, and students provide a regular feedback loop to help North Broward better understand and serve their community in a challenging time. In addition, school leadership discuss how they regularly explore secondary analyses of data from their Learning Management System (LMS) along with weekly reports from Canvas, Zoom, and SeeSaw to monitor, reflect, and provide support across the many different stakeholders served by the school. 

In Part 2, Assistant Head of School Genevieve shares how reflecting on the school mission, supporting teachers to engage students through social media and TikTok, and using a variety of educational technology helped North Broward better serve their community in a challenging time. Click here to visit the North Broward Preparatory School website

In the News...

Measuring What Matters
In this YouTube Live event hosted by Escola Concept, Dr. Damian Bebell shares the challenges and opportunities for student assessment during emergency home learning. (in.Mind presentation and interview on June 22, 2020). 

Considering School's Purpose in an Educational Crisis
Dr. Damian Bebell and Dr. Steven Stemler reflect on how cognitive/academic, emotional, social, and civic purposes of schooling can be preserved when schooling from a distance.
(Invited article published in K12 Digest on May 8, 2020)

Learning from home and learning from school have a lot in common
Dr. Steven Stemler argues that core purposes of schooling continue to apply as schools move to online learning
(Op-Ed published in the Hartford Courant on April 10, 2020)

Beyond Academics: Success and the Purpose of School
Dr. Damian Bebell reflects on the purpose of school in the time of the coronavirus
(Op-Ed published by Silver Lining for Learning on April 1, 2020)