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Tuesday, 10 March 2015

Trillium Creek - Reflection Three - Approach

As the Isle of Portland Aldridge Community Academy becomes closer to beginning work and ultimately moving into our multi-million pound Maritime House Campus, I am using this time to reflect. To reflect on our experiences, our shared beliefs and our vision for the future. This week, I am thinking particularly about my visit to America in October 2014 and my time in one school in particular, Trillium Creek Primary School. This is the third post in a series, for my first post about Trillium Creek Primary School, please click here and for my second please click here.

This evening, I want to focus on the approach at Trillium Creek Primary School which stood out to me as one which is truly child-centred. The school, which is part of the West Linn-Wilsonville School District clearly believed in a character driven approach. This approach was evident in the design of learning spaces, work on display and in the various conversations with learners and staff.

During my visit to Trillium Creek Primary School, it was great to hear from members of the West Linn-Wilsonville School District team who explained the process of reexamination it has been through in recent years to consider its strategic mission.

"Intelligence plus character - that is the goal of a true education."
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr

The team explained how several community Futures Conferences were conducted and brought together parents, Board members, citizens, business owners, students and school staff members to create a shared vision for a school learning community. The six district Vision Themes were identified for educating the next generation. Further defining the Educating the Whole Person vision theme, the Character Traits honesty, integrity, respect, responsibility, kindness, compassion, and courage emerged as core ethical values that their community believes their children should learn and that all should strive to exemplify. 

The team pointed to a comprehensive study of American high schools, conducted by Lickona and Davidson, which reported that "there is a national consensus regarding the need for character - doing our best work, doing the right thing, living a life of purpose." The concern for excellence and ethics evident in that statement is exemplified in West Linn-Wilsonville with the guiding question, "How do we create a school community for the greatest thinkers and most thoughtful people for the world?". I wonder how we would answer this same question at IPACA?