Today’s post is going to focus on a new concept in public school education that, actually in many ways, reflects much of what we have been advocating for almost a decade. 

Burying the old “lecture/reading/testing” model will liberate many more learning possibilities.  Emphasizing collaborative learning and project-based learning will open doors for so many of our young people.

And, while I have also emphasized multi-media instruction as well as bite-sized learning on-demand, the newly opened program at Arlington Tech is the most exciting new public education concept I have yet seen.

Their website succinctly lays out their plan:  “Learning at Arlington Tech is active (through inquiry), authentic (through projects), and motivated by the students’ interest.”

Here are excerpts from a recent Washington Post article about the new program:

“ .  .  . The proposed program would put career and technical education at the center of the school’s curriculum, allowing students to take all of their classes — including core academic subjects such as English and history — at the Arlington Career Center. The program would integrate academic lessons through projects and would cater to students who want to pursue higher education as well as those with plans to start working immediately after high school graduation.

 “It’s project-based learning, and the academics are anchored in career-technical education,” said Margaret Chung, principal of the career center.

 The program is designed to give students a taste of various career and technical education programs during their first year in high school — they would take classes in sustainable technology, engineering, auto collision repair and video production. By their junior year, Chung said, she hopes to have most students taking courses that confer college credit in high school.

 Students also would take all their core academic courses at the school, including English and history, but Chung is urging teachers to collaborate and formulate lessons that reach across all disciplines.

 The career center already specializes in project-based learning, with students receiving hands-on training to learn the skills they’ll need for the workforce. Students work on totaled cars to learn about collision repair, learn about cyber-security through simulated cyber-attacks and work with 3-D printers to learn about engineering.

 Chung said she’s still battling the perception that her programs cater to the less academically inclined or to those uninterested in higher education. Some of the students will go on to engineering programs in college or will use the trades they learned to finance their college education. Others are able to get good-paying jobs straight out of high school. Arlington Tech is designed for college-bound ­students.

“It’s for students who are above and beyond and understand that the work is important,” Chung said. “They’re not trying to follow a particular pattern. They’re trying to find their own passion.”

 Cassidy Nolen, who will be the coordinator of Arlington Tech, said the school’s program will try to encourage alternatives to traditional textbook instruction; he and Chung are hoping to focus on project-based learning, conveying lessons through experiments, projects and simulations. The method has become more popular in an era when some are concerned that school is too test-driven and is not effectively preparing students for the real world.  .  .  . “

 I hope Arlington Tech is a big success — and, I’m betting it will be.

 More on Monday  –  –  –

   — Bill Walton, co-Founder, ITC Learning

       November 15, 2017  (Mondays & Wednesdays)


 (This is a personal blog.  Any views or opinions represented in this blog are personal and belong solely to the blog owner,, an independent consultant.  They do not represent those of people, institutions or organizations that the owner may or may not be associated with in a professional or personal capacity.)