In an effort to create a more challenging, robust, stimulating and interesting educational environment, Pivot Charter School is initiating several new programs in the 2016-2017 school year. Pivot is excited to bring these new and invigorating nontraditional enterprises to our students.
Project Based Learning
Project Based Learning will be implemented to either replace or supplement units of work in the student’s online curriculum. Project Based Learning (as described by the Buck Institute of Education) is a teaching method in which students gain knowledge and skills by working for an extended period of time to investigate and respond to an engaging and complex question, problem, or challenge. Essential Project Design Elements include:
Key Knowledge, Understanding, and Success Skills – The project is focused on student learning goals, including standards-based content and skills such as critical thinking/problem solving, collaboration, and self-management.
Challenging Problem or Question – The project is framed by a meaningful problem to solve or a question to answer, at the appropriate level of challenge.
Sustained Inquiry – Students engage in a rigorous, extended process of asking questions, finding resources, and applying information.
Authenticity – The project features real-world context, tasks and tools, quality standards, or impact – or speaks to students’ personal concerns, interests, and issues in their lives.
Student Voice & Choice – Students make some decisions about the project, including how they work and what they create.
Reflection – Students and teachers reflect on learning, the effectiveness of their inquiry and project activities, the quality of student work, obstacles and how to overcome them.
Critique & Revision – Students give, receive, and use feedback to improve their process and products.
Public Product – Students make their project work public by explaining, displaying and/or presenting it to people beyond the classroom.
An Emphasis on the 4 Cs
Collaboration Courses – Students working together with peers to complete a course while learning from one another and finding common ground and understanding. Students will complete a course or project (see below) with a small group of peers. In order to promote every student learning the material and doing their share of the work, all students must complete the cumulative exams individually.
Creativity – Students working on a project based learning activity (see below) either in small groups or individually. Projects can either replace units in a subject or multiple units. Students will develop the project with the guidance of a teacher who holds a credential in that subject who will ensure that Common Core Standards are promoted in the completion of the project.
Critical Thinking – Facilitated discussions led by teachers and peers to help students not just memorize facts but apply concepts, understand relevance, analyze significance and dig deeper to understanding why events happen. Critical thinking workshops will supplement the work students are doing in their online courses.
Communication – Through Project Based Learning and Collaborative Courses students will be required to defend their ideas and communicate their thoughts in writing and orally. One of the most important skills a person can attain is the ability to effectively communicate in writing and speech.
In addition to engaging in projects, Collaborative Courses and workshops, Pivot students will also be able to participate in additional programs that allow students to learn beyond the classroom, beyond the computer, and beyond the traditional.
Genius Hours – During genius hour students of all levels are empowered to explore their own passions. Students are challenged to explore something or to do a project on something they want to learn about. They spend several weeks researching the topic before they start creating a product that will be shared with the class/school/world. Throughout the process the teacher facilitates the student projects to ensure that they are on task.
Internships and School To Work will allow students to receive credit for working either in a structured internship setting or through their paid job. Benchmarks, assignments as well as evaluations of student performance will determine the student’s grade and credits earned.
Pathways will begin to be explored both at the resource centers and at places of business to allow students to delve in to career paths and employment that may be of interest to them. Pivot will work with local businesses to either come to the resource centers to bring their business, trade and skill to the students. Other Pathway Partnerships will bring students to the businesses where they can learn the skills of a trade such as hair design, auto mechanics, cooking and woodwork.