A NEW MODEL for "SCHOOL"
A valid and vital student-education model (discover, develop, deploy) must be based in the actual community needs, borne (or understood/cultivated) of actual connection WITH the students.
The community's "role" must be redefined to involve CONNECTION, and focus more on sharing of tradition and encouraging of creativity. This will occur as the TRADES become revalued within a society: value comes from exchange - not only of product or service, but in the teaching-learning relationship, as well.
We are redefining "school" as a PORTAL for Connection, Exchange and Community Development.
BrainStorm for Education (B4E ) is a dynamic learning environment, with students co-creating their own curricula.
B4E was founded in the spring of 2011. The ten original students began meeting every week with a clear goal: to create a new paradigm for high school education, where each student could participate with their own skills, follow their own passions, and pursue their own educational goals. We also wanted to create a "mentorship bridge" where members of the community could work with students to share their creative and academic expertise.
To cultivate a flow of ideas between the students and the community leaders, we produced student presentations with The Chamber of Commerce and Local 20/20 (a local sustainability network). Connections were developed with local farmers by inviting them to participate as food sponsors for the events. Our slogan: Local Food; Fresh Ideas.
The Field Course (read more here) launched in the summer of 2011 with ten students, six primary instructors, and the participation of dozens of regional organizations who provided field lecturers and participatory workshops. Local businesses hosted the group for on-site tours and hands-on experiences.
New alliances are leading to exciting opportunities for the BrainStorm group, such as brainstorming with food activist Will Allen at the Northwest Earth Institute conference, and producing a short film about the Port Townsend Film Festival as an educational opportunity.
Mentor, Producer, Creative Director
Chimacum School District
WSU/Jefferson County 4-H
North Olympic Salmon Coalition (NOSC)
Jefferson Land Trust
Jefferson Conservation District
Northwest Earth Institute (NWEI)
Jefferson County Chamber of Commerce
Port Townsend Film Festival
Port Townsend Food Co-op
Julie Marston, community educator
Heather Flanagan, business development coach
Carol Steinel, communications facilitator
Judy Alexander, environmental leader
Nora Porter, educator and activist
Robert Greenway, farmer and educator
Matt Sircely, environmental journalist, audio producer, and musician
Katherine Baril, former WSU president, and member of Jefferson County EDC
Pamela Roberts, 4-H director of youth programs
Heather Dudley Nolette, president of the board of the Port Townsend Main Street Program
Teresa Verraes, Executive Director of the Jefferson County Chamber of Commerce