The first of the AIER Learning Journey adventures took place on November 2, 2016 when AIER sponsored a group of 16 educators, parents, students and other interested folks on a tour of Mead Schools, Riverpoint Academy (RA).
The visit included a tour of the facility led by RA students, where we were oriented to the school and its mission.
We then had some time to wander around RA checking in with students and asking them questions about what they were working on and what they liked/disliked about the school.
Later we gathered for a student-panel discussion. The guests sat around the conference type room with the students and were able to ask questions about how RA worked, why the students chose to go to school there and what advantages or disadvantages they saw to attending school at RA.
To finish the day we gathered for a Teacher-led-panel discussion, where we heard from RA faculty and the school Director about the goals, hopes and dreams of this innovative school. The conversation was similar to the student panel where guests offered questions about the RA system…what makes it different, similar, and what challenges do you face day-to-day. The conversation also focused on what the teachers loved about RA and how they lived out RA’s mission.
The day was very successful and we received excellent reviews for the event from all involved. AIER really appreciates the warm hospitality and great information provided by all the RA students, faculty and staff – we particularly want to thank Moleena Harris for her great organization of the event. RA is a great place doing amazing work for our kids.
Here are some thoughts from participants:
"Allow students to fail – all assessments are formative here – we are always striving to learn more and do better work”
“Unconditional positive regard is the basis of what we do – we seek to make learning personal, not necessarily personalized”
"Colleagues are committed together to the “human business” to help activate students"
"Physical Space Design – Flexibility, Transform, Sound management, not designed for lecture, teachers have to talk to individual students"
"Staff is willing to be open and vulnerable to the question: 'Was there anything you believe that we should have provided you that kept you from being successful?”'"