Learning how to learn | November 14, 2012 | Almanac | Almanac Online |



Cover Story - November 14, 2012

Learning how to learn

Small school in Portola Valley is lab for innovative education

by Barbara Wood

The tiny school, tucked into a ramshackle former insurance office at the back of the Portola Valley Village Square shopping complex, doesn't look from the outside like a showcase for state-of-the-art 21st century education.

This story contains 1494 words.

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Posted by Richard
a resident of Portola Valley: Central Portola Valley
on Nov 14, 2012 at 12:48 pm

How can you publish this fawning puff piece? Did you ask a single hard question? Is the school acredited? Do they comply with the state's standards for 5th grade? Is there any research suggesting this is a better way to learn? Why are they not working through the public schools to impliment these ideas? What is the financial effect on their home public schools?

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Posted by Choice in education!
a resident of Woodside: other
on Nov 14, 2012 at 8:39 pm

The posingt above apparently didn't read the entire article. Please, before being so critical and negative, see that the article says" does not lose any funding". In fact, because the district enjoys basic aid, the district BENEFITS financially from these kids leaving the district school who no longer has the expense of educating them, but gets to keep all the basic aid money.
The teachers can innovate, pick the texts and materials instead of the cookie cutter curriculum that teavhes to the test. these children are so fortunate to have innovation, and no unionized and Ed Code restrictions that are drowning public schools across the state and nation. I applaude these parents for taking positive and effective action to better the education of their students-- they should be an example to all schools of what is possible -- at least what is possible without the unions owning and cannibalizing our public schools. BTW, I have no interest, students or even know the people involved in this school. I just pore the community to embrace their existence and read and check facts before being so negative.

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Posted by Educator
a resident of Woodside: Woodside Heights
on Nov 15, 2012 at 12:30 pm

Educator is a registered user.

The California public K-12 education system is based on an 1850 model designed to train factory workers, and has changed very little in the past century and a half. In general, public schools are not interested in making broad changes to teaching and learning...especially changes that include technology, blended learning, or flipped classroom models....they are either too scary, too costly, or too much work. Having a school like Creekside step up and show parents, students, and educators how well these new 21st century teaching and learning techniques can actually transform learning, is an asset to our community and to our nation. Take a look at the changes being integrated into higher education (university) and you will see that the Creekside model IS the future and IS what colleges are looking for. As indicated by Choice in education, the cost is a net positive to the PV school district. It appears that this school is based on significant research data developed by a broad range of educators and higher learning organizations. To develop a better grasp of where education is and could be, check out Tony Wagner's "Global Achievement Gap". It is a fascinating read. As a matter of disclosure, I have no affiliation with Creekside.

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Posted by Larry Tesler
a resident of Portola Valley: Central Portola Valley
on Nov 18, 2012 at 10:31 am

Richard, you asked whether Creekside's fifth grade program is accredited. I am not aware of a middle school, high school, college or employer that would turn down an applicant on the grounds that the fifth grade program they attended was not accredited.

You asked whether Creekside complies with the state's standards for fifth grade education. Ms. Barton's curriculum planning methodology ensures that every standard required in public schools is covered during the year. I know because I assisted her with technical aspects of the methodology.

You asked why these parents and teachers are not working through the public schools to implement these ideas. They did that for several years and the results were positive. When Ms. Barton announced her retirement last year, several parents who had hoped their fourth graders would have an opportunity to experience her fifth grade program this year joined together to fund the experiment.

Finally, you asked whether any research suggests that this is a better way to learn. You can find research citations in Ms. Barton's book (see the article), in "The One World Schoolhouse: Education Reimagined" by Salman Khan (founder of Khan Academy), and many other places.