I spent several months observing and filming a senior composition class taught by English teacher Jenny Wellington, and with editor Shondra Burke put together a video called Inquiry-Based Learning at Pittsfield Middle High School. I learned so much from Ms. Wellington's masterful unit design, classroom setup, facilitation of student-moderated discussions, and supervising of meaningful student projects and presentations. It's wonderful to truly see students at the center of their own learning!
Last night I was up at Pittsfield Middle High School - where I've been producing a series of 6-7 in-depth videos about different aspects of the district's transformation - to film a lively celebration of Student-Centered Learning. The evening was sponsored by Nellie Mae Education Foundation, which has been a major funder of reform in this district (and of the documentation project we are undertaking there).
One of the highlights of the evening was hearing from students in the school's Site Council, a governing body made up of students, faculty, and comment members. Ryan, Quinn, Colby, Madison, and Jess (pictured above) shared personal stories of how their learning experiences changed for the better over the years that PMHS has moved toward student-centered learning.
After they spoke, Superintendent John Freeman introduced a panel of important guests, including Fred Bramante, president of the National Center for Competency-Based Learning; Paul Leather, Deputy Commissioner of the New Hampshire Department of Education; Tom Raffio, Chairperson of the New Hampshire State Board of Education, and Mike Wolfe, Chair of the Pittsfield School Board. Below, Tom Raffio is expressing how he was going to "fly, not drive home" after hearing the students' great presentations.