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What Does the Innovative School Look Like? Interview with Dr. Tom King

by guest blogger Shelly Terrell

cross posted at http://teacherbootcamp.edublogs.org/

I gather weekly with educators who envision the ideal school. We collaborate online for what we believe would be the environment students should learn. I believe we learn through models of schools that demonstrate innovative practices. In 1989 such an innovative school did exist, the Saturn School, and my guest this week, Dr. Tom King (@ProfTK) was the founder and Director.

How did the Saturn school differ from the norm?

  • was a magnet school serving students in grades 4 – 8, many at risk, and parents could choose to send their children there instead of the local public school
  • noted for its innovative uses with technology at a time technology not as highly developed
  • visited by the current president at the time, President George Bush Sr., who spoke with the children
  • used local resources such as the public library, the science and art museums, state and local government
  • established mentorships and apprenticeships with businesses and agencies
  • had differentiated staffing: a lead teacher, associate teachers for curriculum, generalist teachers, intern teachers
  • had a longer school year, ungraded, no report cards or textbooks, instead had student portfolios
  • had a school council of staff, parents and students

I recently interviewed Dr. Tom King about his success at getting such a school established. Listen to his interview below where he shares incredible insights about school reform and how we can make our dreams for education a reality.