Cindy Prescott, KEA Vice President, and Shirley Hickey, past KEA President and current KELA (Kent Educators for Legislative Accountability) Committee Chair, have teamed up to talk about innovative schools that already exist within the Kent School District:
Here in the Kent School District we have innovation all around us. Even as employees who knew about options available to students and parents, there are things we learned while researching the choices we offer in our school district.
The Kent Technology Academy (KTA) exists within Mill Creek Middle School. On their website, we read, “ . . . the heart of KTA is a group of creative, hard working teachers with a knowledgeable leader who have developed integrated lessons that allow more student choice, and encourage students to look more deeply and systematically at the topics in the curriculum. It works not only because of the teachers, but because the students also are expected to work harder than other students. Students are willing to do this because the learning is fun, the technology is fun and allows differentiation. . .”
Down the road, at the Kent Phoenix Academy (KPA), as members of the learning community, students are expected to “uphold the values of moral courage, honesty, integrity, respect, responsibility, and support the learning community.” KPA believes in a learning environment where “each student is known well, connections are made between learning and student goals. . .” This school offers five high school programs to students, each having a different focus and approach from the traditional high school. Project based learning, service learning, and work with colleges and employers are all part of the five programs offered.
Further along the journey you’ll come to the Kent Mountain View Academy (KMVA). The KMVA is a “community partnership including students, families and the Kent School District to provide educational options and flexibility. . .” Third through sixth graders are purposefully grouped together, as well as seventh through twelfth graders so that students can maintain contact with their siblings.
In fact, at each of our schools in Kent we could find innovation and action research. We teach our students to achieve to standards. Because our students are so diverse we design instruction and strategies for reaching them that may look and sound different in various schools. This is our practice. There are those, including Bill Gates through his Gates Foundation, who are hiring data specialists to work on what is “needed” to change our practices.
Charter schools? Who needs them! We have innovation all around us.