#61 – Creating a Different School Experience

Is it possible to create a different school experience? Given the chance to do things really differently in your school, what would you do?

That’s the opportunity that Peter Wieczorek has as the director of Northwest Passage High School in Coon Rapids, MN, a public charter school that is pushing the envelope when it comes to carving our new ways of preparing students for the world today. They are creating a different school experience!

While a lot of schools are doing project-based learning, as you’ll hear in this podcast Peter stresses that at Northwest Passage projects are chosen by students, based on their interests, and supported by a staff of educators that is adept at making sure students learn deeply and navigate all of the expectations of the state standards and assessments.

But what might be most out of the box for the school is that they offer students over 20 “expeditions” which are overnight excursions of up to two weeks into the real world. The emphasis is on building relationships between students and adults and create learning opportunities that simply can’t happen inside the four walls of the school.

If you’re looking for a story of school that is driven by student agency and autonomy, you’ll enjoy this interview immensely. When you finish listening to this, please check out our podcast with Megan Power. She discusses Design39campus which is another public school doing great things.

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Will Richardson

Co-founder of Modernlearners.com and Change School. Author, speaker, instigator, surfcaster, husband, and father to two amazing young adults.

Comments

  1. I love the sound of this school!
    Forest School in the UK is doing this very thing. Agency. Freedom. Risk. Nature connection. Holistic development. Ancient wisdom with innovation.

  2. Great interview Peter! I want to really visit Northwest Passage School and see all the good work that is being done with students.

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