The school built on inquiry has to be ready to ask questions, real questions about process, protocols, pathways-ask questions of the traditional methods, systems and structures that are so deeply embedded into the American schooling DNA. This school builds systems and structures that are responsive to the community it serves, reflective for changing circumstances and responsible for providing a meaningful and relevant experience for the individuals that inhabit its halls. Why would a community build a school based on inquiry? What kinds of support(s) do teachers need to do their work differently? What are the most challenging aspects of transforming a school?
A week from now we will all be gathered once again at The Franklin Institute for the Friday Night panel for EduCon 2.9. The weekend will be a foray into discussions of what is working, what isn't and how we might look for new and old ways to approach our challenges in education. The Inquiry Schools team will be well represented with a whole host of sessions - we are excited to support this all volunteer, no vendor conversation style conference.
Thrilled to be partnering with the fabulous staff of the SLA-Middle School to kick off their opening in September. Thanks to a grant we received from the Philadelphia Schools Partnership, we will be on a four year path to assist them in this new school start up project.
During a summer curriculum retreat, we were able to see the incredible potential of this team. Their founding principal, Tim Boyle, is at the end of the planning year and about ready to kick off the full time job as school leader – complete with 9 staff members, 90 students and a beautiful facility.
The article highlighted that the SLA model will be adapted for the middle school students. Inquiry Schools will be an integral partner in that process as it was on the SLA Beeber school start up.
In 2014, Henry County Schools (HCS) in Georgia won a grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation in order to support and expand the personalized learning initiatives in their 51 schools across the district.
Inquiry Schools has been working with HCS since June of 2014 to help them make both the systemic and curricular changes to achieve their goal of bringing innovation to every building.
The schools have been divided into several cohorts, which go through the planning and implementation phases in waves. According to Inquiry Schools Managing Director Diana Laufenberg, the first phase of the work “helps teachers and administrators investigate the different ways personalized learning can manifest itself in their schools, and help them rethink the school-based structures so as to assist the process instead of provide barriers.”
Inquiry Schools is pleased to announce the founding of a new learning environment: Science Leadership Academy Middle School (SLAMS).
The school is being founded in partnership with Drexel University and the School District of Philadelphia and will serve as a feeder middle school for Samuel Powel Elementary, serving the Powelton Village, West Powelton, and Mantua neighborhoods.
SLA Principal Lehmann is excited about the ongoing work with a university partner.
“Drexel has a deep commitment to its neighborhood, and believes in being a good neighbor,” he explained. “Bringing the resources and expertise to of Drexel for public schools will be a win for everyone — the students in this school, and the teachers and students at Drexel who will be able to bring their own knowledge and skills to the table.”
In the days between Christmas 2012 and New Year’s 2013, Chris Lehmann declared, “We are starting a new campus.” A statement that did not surprise me as we had talked about it many times, but this declaration seemed more certain. I started poking around the statement with some questions, as I am known to do, when it became clear that he was 100% serious. One of my questions was, so we are shooting for a fall 2014 opening? To which he responded, no, we are opening in the fall, fall of 2013. It was an ambitious plan and it would not have been possible without the immense support of the Science Leadership Academy community. The past 18 months have proven to be challenging, invigorating, exhausting and exciting. We will use this space to share the story of starting this second school and it all begins at the first school at the corner of 22nd and Arch in Center City Philadelphia.
Science Leadership Academy started in 2006 with a partnership between the School District of Philadelphia and The Franklin Institute. SLA spent eight years honing its craft as a school that focuses on inquiry-driven, project based learning in a 1:1 laptop environment.