An article was released in an NAIS publication that addresses the shifts being experienced in education. The Executive Director of the Edward E. Ford Foundation, John Gulla, along with Grant Lichtman, a K-12 education consultant, researched the challenges independent schools face as we respond to change, and they identified five key findings. One key finding was how the learning experience is shifting. Lichtman writes, “We must shift to a model of learning that is more flexible, interdisciplinary, and focused on the interests, needs, and voices of the students. . . student-driven, student-centric learning, which is fundamentally different from the teaching-centric model of the past, is relevant today and … relevant in the future.”
I spoke at a Parents’ Association meeting about Brimmer’s response to the shifts in education. I focused on both student-centric learning and interdisciplinary curriculum. Since 1988 when we became a member of the Coalition of Essential Schools, Brimmer has focused on the student-centric learning model, has placed a high value on student voice, and has constructed curriculum to be interdisciplinary in nature.
Lichtman’s research confirms what Brimmer teachers have been practicing for over thirty years and why we were established as a Model School for 21st Century learning. Lichtman goes on to say, “Our culture of learning must unambiguously embrace risk, failure, and a growth mindset for both adults and students… [and] We must develop and use tools that assess what we actually value in student performance, which is not their ability to perform well on tests.” Brimmer practices this principle of authentic assessment as we employ exhibitions of knowledge, project-based assessment, thesis defenses, mock trials, debates, simulations, among others. With standardized testing and exams continuing to exist in the greater academic landscape, that form of assessment is also used.
How does this all add up? Brimmer, a mission driven school that strives to produce life-long learners, is on a successful path to educate students for a future of change.
As an inclusive community, Brimmer welcomes students who will increase the diversity of our school. We do not discriminate on the basis of race, religion, sex, gender, gender identity and expression, disability, sexual orientation, national origin, ancestry, or any other characteristic protected from discrimination under state or federal law, in the administration of our educational policies, admissions practices, financial aid decisions, and athletic and other school-administered programs.