• To create the conditions to generate, enhance, and scale dynamic, innovative approaches to education in the region.
  • To create the conditions for collaborative inquiry, design, and reflection that expands beyond the scope of this two-year project.

Scope of the project: Two Years (July 2017 - June 2019)

The Learning Journey project is intended to inspire, enhance, and sustain local education innovation. Educators from seven districts in Northwest Arkansas will work collaboratively throughout the two-year project to develop a dynamic network of professionals participating in an inquiry process to design and share innovative practices that enhance learning for students and educators.

A study tour of New Zealand's educational system and selected innovative schools will serve as a catalyst for the inquiry, design, and reflection process. Efforts will then turn to transforming ideas learned during the study tour into action. Delegates will convene as a community of practice five times throughout the two-year project to engage in collaborative design of innovative ideas. Between convenings delegates will use rapid inquiry cycles within their school settings to implement their ideas and collect data and feedback on the impact of their ideas.

Through individual and collaborative reflection, delegates will share their learning, their successes and their challenges within this community of practice as well as with global partners in New Zealand. Through iteration, the community of practice becomes an engine for innovation and expansion as delegates involve their colleagues in the rapid inquiry cycles. A network of innovators will emerge as delegates share their efforts and results with other schools in their districts, their local boards of education, and at regional, state and national conferences. This engine for innovative education practices will expand across the region as other districts engage with the network to impact schools and communities beyond the scope of the project.

Why New Zealand?

They are a global leader in innovating school culture. Their efforts are driven by future-focused priorities which include an intentional focus on every child excelling to reach their fullest potential.

  • New Zealand leads the way in competency-based education where every child is expected to "reach mastery of the same high standards and develop competencies for future success". Schools use an integrated approach to learning across multiple disciplines. This approach uses personalization, inquiry, and deeper learning strategies. Students have autonomy to decide how they learn and demonstrate mastery (personalized) and advance through content based on demonstrated proficiency of essential concepts and skills (competency).
  • Teaching and the role of educators in this process are reimagined. Teachers see themselves as learning engineers, designers, facilitators, coaches, and researchers who create environments to empower students to own and advocate for their learning and success.
  • Power of Connected Communities-The unique context and needs of each school community are incorporated into the design of learning. Families and their children are empowered to explore potential pathways through inter- and intra-district agreements that enhance community relationships and increase ownership for student excellence and success.

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