Dreamworks... Improving Our School
Dreams require prayer and hard work, not just wishing and hoping.
By Bobby Scott
Headmaster of Perimeter School
In our unique approach to education, even our tried and true approaches over time can become ho-hum. Though the heart of why they work remains, mixing up the presentation can bring new life! Cake can still be cake, but a variety of flavors, icings and toppings increases love of learning.
Over the last several years, we have “mixed it up” by trying to broaden our dream to serve a larger slice of covenant children. Rather than send them away, we set more places at the table, encouraging our teachers to expand their training and knowledge. A remarkable number responded, and the feast of skills and methods laid before our students of all learning styles advanced our dream. Our total faith venture of the 1:17 classes was one centerpiece of that vision. All grades benefitted.
The Need for Change AND Preservation
We found that dreams require prayer and hard work, not just wishing and hoping. They require prayer because we tend to hunker down in our methods and routines, especially if they seem to have worked fine for a long time. But head-in-the-sand or not, the so-called advancements in our culture, the distraction and pace of life, and the access to entertaining devices find a much different child emerging from the oven. So, Perimeter School now faces the challenge of determining to what degree we modify or accommodate our schooling without losing who we are. Will our cake continue to delight or become stuck in the pan?
The good, no… great news is that our core curriculum and expanding methodology are child-focused and empirically verified. Take one example: Nature Study. Have you ever examined how many critical elements of learning emerge from that activity? Observation, awe, discovery, fine-motor skills, design, color-mixing, appreciation of beauty, patience, creativity… and the list goes on. These educational practices are tried and true and avoid the ho-hum. But there are other foundations we are dead set to improve.
Building the Dream
One of our long-time dreams is to develop students who are fully prepared to communicate boldly and confidently – both with the written word and verbally – to their community and beyond. To accomplish this, our new dream is five-fold:
Improve our writing and grammar emphasis and structure, using components of Shurley English and Institute for Excellence in Writing (IEW), plus increased teacher training.
Raise the level of delight and imagination of our students and teachers by the provision and increasing use of new Living Books in all our grades and subjects.
Create a student broadcast studio to create live and video productions.
Improve and expand the quality of oral presentations in our current poetry recitals, debates and any areas where students express themselves.
Explore more ways to deploy our students into the surrounding community to serve, entertain, and creatively communicate to adults and peers.
These are indeed dreamworks… a large vision that will take a lot of effort from the entire covenant community. As some details of the dream are still being built, we welcome our parents to help us work out the dream!
Focus, wisdom, humility, collaboration, funding, and perseverance will be necessary. In our school and our homes, may Jesus give convictions and insight as to when to stand fast and when to move forward.