The Purpose of School?
I have been thinking hard about the purpose of schools and about the nature of a school’s contributions to the local community and the world. The purpose of schools is multi-faceted. School must provide a nurturing place of learning for students of all ages, and, in doing so, inspire students to develop not only a life-long love of learning, but also the ability to grasp and express big ideas clearly.
ISA is a functioning democracy with all voices enabled to effect change in the school – teacher teams, student council, the PTA, the administration and Board voices collectively to create into the direction of the school. The importance of students experiencing a democracy cannot be underestimated.
Below is an excerpt from “Another Sputnik Moment: a Roundtable Discussion on the Role of Progressive Education in Pivotal Times.’ As a compendium of interviews, it is written in “I” statements that are not, but could be, mine.
I believe we need schools to function as democratic training grounds – I don’t think we can rely on the mainstream school community to lead us to true reform. If education is going to have another Sputnik moment, I think it will have to start in the tiny community of truly progressive schools – a third dimension if you will...with a clear view of the connection between education and true human progress.”
The democracy we create in school is not some academic exercise. I see what we do in school as a demonstration of what is possible in the world outside.
We need students to ask…
- Is all this global competition good for us?
- How can we begin to tackle the increasing environmental issues?
- What are the fundamental responsibilities of government?
The above quote shows our greater purpose as a school: develop leaders, in whatever capacity they chose – artists, teachers, doctors, architects, engineers, linguists, etc. – who can lead the future of the world as informed literate citizens in a democratic society.
A core purpose of ISA is to provide students the depth of literacy and numeracy skills needed to explore, define and express insights about the big issues facing the world today. Classroom dialogue around global issues will empower ISA students to reshape and improve the future both locally and globally.
The ISA Mission is a road to student empowerment.
The mission of International School of Aruba is to motivate and prepare students to achieve their academic and personal best within a U.S. accredited, English language, college/university preparatory program that embraces diversity while encouraging leadership, character, and community service. - Adopted September 2008
 Independent School. Fall 2011, pp. 72-74.
Monday September, 1, 2014 at 10:39
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