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  • Writer's pictureTodd R. Hepworth

This is not our schedule!

Why is this not our schedule? Because children didn't help create it. Teachers didn't help create it. Administrators created this schedule and required teachers and students to comply with it. "But what if students are really engaged in a science project, and the schedule says we have to move on to math?" Exactly. Children are the primary stakeholders in their own education. And yet, from the moment children walk in through the school doors in the morning until they walk out through the school doors in the afternoon, every minute of their schedule has been planned for them by somebody else. We don't do things that way at Orchard STEM School.

"Choice" is one of our cornerstones. Students partner with teachers to plan how much time to invest in projects. Sure, we'll start and end school at the same time each day. We'll eat lunch at about the same time each day. If children are immersed in a science project, we're not going to stop because it's "time for math." We'll have a quick collaboration and continue the project, if that's where the desire to learn is. Our teachers are creative professionals who can integrate reading, writing, math, and social studies with the project in authentic ways. Planning and managing time is an essential life skill. Children will be learning and practicing that skill at Orchard STEM school. It's not going to magically happen when they graduate.

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