Today’s students are tomorrow’s global citizens, and they will be expected to think critically, problem solve, communicate with other individuals from diverse backgrounds, utilize technology responsibly, and live compassionately. Tomorrow’s global citizens must also be trainable, proactive thinkers with the ability to objectively recognize and address their individual strengths and weaknesses. Furthermore, they will be employed in careers that have not yet been invented and work with technologies that are currently nothing more than a sketch in an engineer’s research journal.
Preparing students for a future with so many unknowns is a daunting task for an educational entity, even for schools and districts with long-standing traditions of success and instructional methods that have worked for decades. Unfortunately, in some cases, the traditional school model is not effective in meeting the increasingly diverse needs of students. After all, today’s students each come to school with their own unique set of academic strengths, gaps, and weaknesses, as well as individual learning styles, interests, and life experiences.
Traditionally, students are moved through the same curriculum at the same pace while working on the same standards. Teachers are asked to differentiate their instruction based on students’ needs, but it all happens within the constraints of pacing guides and unit plans. Additionally, students who “get it” are often still tied to the limitations of the class while those who struggle must remediate and/or complete extra work in order to earn a passing grade. Some students never “get” certain concepts, but continue to be promoted because they were strong in other areas and/or their grade was high enough, leading to academic gaps. As students with gaps are promoted within the system, those gaps continue to expand as new learning requires mastery of content that was never achieved. Furthermore, parents are left without a way to support their children because they are unaware of the specific gaps that need attention. Ultimately, the traditional model does not account for the individual learning needs of the students it serves.
The Prominence Charter School Founding Committee firmly believes that the best way to prepare today’s students for the demands of tomorrow is through competency-based education, blended learning, and STEM opportunities. Students should have access to programs and instructional models that are student-centered, and schools should personalize educational programming to meet the needs of every learner. At Prominence, students will work toward demonstrating the mastery of specific skills, competencies, and standards rather than moving through a time-based curriculum. Furthermore, students learn best when engaged in activities at their instructional level, which can be accomplished through the strategic use of blended learning and small group instruction.
A focus on STEM education also prepares students for the demands of the future – regardless of whether or not students grow up to become scientists or engineers. By engaging in authentic, inquiry-based experiences, students learn to ask questions, think critically and problem solve. By working with other students in labs or simulations, students also gain the communication and teamwork skills that are necessary for them to exhibit as adults.
Students also need to build strong relationships with their teachers in order to fully support their social-emotional needs as well as their academic needs. Prominence will employ the looping stratefy, where teachers graduate and stay with their students over several school years. This leads to less disruption in a child’s education compared to the traditional environment where a new teacher has to “figure her kids out” every year. This strategy allows the teacher to connect with her students and their families as well as provide the student with a sense of security. This is especially effective with students who have difficulty with change.
Prominence Charter School also believes that students should be actively engaged in their community and develops relationships that will last a lifetime. Research has shown that when schools promote strong school, family, and community partnerships children succeed academically due to the activities and consistency between the home and school. By involving the community, our students will have the ability to learn inside and outside of the classroom and feel supported by the people who mean the most to them.
The Project FAQs
- Our school will be a tuition free charter school, which gives you an option other than a standard public school.
- An administration/teaching staff that care about not only your child’s learning but their well- being.
- Connections to the community to help your child discover more opportunities
- Opportunities to engage in STEM+S fields, along with ability to work with professionals.
- Prominence Charter School with open as K-8 in 2018-2019. A grade level will be added each year until year 5 when we will be K-12.
At this time we are actively exploring locations within our community.
Please also send any photos, links or video that you would like to be included on your project page. Please educate yourself about our vision by visiting us at http://www.prominencecharterschool.org.