ERIC Number: EJ992831
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2012
Reference Count: N/A
Superintendent's Frustration: There Should Be More Takers for an Alternative School that Really Works
O'Leary, Brian P.
Education Canada, v52 n5 2012
Too much of students' high school experience is impersonal. It leaves them feeling alone, vulnerable, and alienated. Evidence from The Learning Bar's "Tell Them From Me," the widely subscribed Canadian student survey, tells that only half of the students in Canadian high schools find their learning interesting, enjoyable, and relevant and only a third report that they are interested and motivated in their learning. Three years ago the Seven Oaks School Division, where the author serves as superintendent, initiated the first Canadian high school modeled on the highly successful Met School, founded by Dennis Littky and Elliot Washor, believing that high school could be both fundamentally different and much better, that learning in high school could be built around students' interest and passion. The school faculty assumed that there was a substantial demand for doing high school differently and better, and that in the space of three years the Met School would be at capacity. However, many other students who might well benefit from an education that fosters their passion and self-knowledge opt for a more conventional high school education. This unanticipated challenge underlines the need for them to persist in building the Met School as a credible alternative to the conventional high school. Thanks to Adair Warren and the Met School teachers they have developed a wonderfully different kind of high school, one that has changed the course of students' lives in profound ways. Their goal here is not so much to innovate, to restructure or to reform high school; their goal is to improve the school experience and life prospects for their students and with the example of the Met they are doing so.
Descriptors: Nontraditional Education, Foreign Countries, Superintendents, High Schools, Family School Relationship, Educational Experience, Student Surveys, Student Interests, Educational Change, School Effectiveness
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: High Schools; Secondary Education
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Canada; Canada (Winnipeg)