We keep moving forward, opening new doors,
and doing new things because we're curious.
And curiosity keeps leading us down new paths.
As educators we change, we evolve and we are always in a state of becoming. Becoming implies a sense of movement, growth and constant learning which is an essential part of being an educator. Staff at Renaissance are on a never ending quest to keep learning experiences innovative, modern, challenging and relevant. EL Education, Outward Bound, The Institute for Humane Education, STEM, DESIGN THINKING and other models are intertwined to attain this goal.
When students have completed their academic career and entered adult life, they’ll be judged not by performance on basic skills tests—but rather, by the quality of their work and the quality of their character. This premise serves as the foundation for EL Education’s overarching vision of increasing student engagement and elevating and expanding student achievement. To realize that vision, we focus on student excellence in three core areas:
Mastery of Knowledge and Skills, Character and High Quality Student Work
MASTERY OF KNOWLEDGE AND SKILLS
Demonstrate proficiency and deeper understanding:
Show mastery in a body of knowledge and skills within each discipline.
Apply their learning:
Transfer knowledge and skills to novel, meaningful tasks. Think critically: analyze, evaluate, and synthesize complex ideas and consider multiple perspectives.
Write, speak, and present ideas effectively in a variety of media within and across disciplines.
Work to become effective learners: Develop the mindsets and skills for success in college, career, and life (e.g., initiative, responsibility, perseverance, collaboration).
Work to become ethical people: Treat others well and stand up for what is right (e.g., empathy, integrity, respect, compassion).
Contribute to a better world:
Put their learning to use to improve communities (e.g., citizenship, service).
Create complex work:
Demonstrate higher-order thinking, multiple perspectives and transfer of understanding.
Create work that is accurate and beautiful in conception and execution.
Create authentic work:
Demonstrate original thinking and voice, connect to real-world issues and formats, and when possible, create work that is meaningful to the community beyond the school.
“We seek nothing less than to help every individual we serve, discover and tap into their best selves as students, as workers, and as family and community members.”
Outward Bound founder, Kurt Hahn’s, goal 75 years ago was to integrate intensive experience and skill-building into the fabric of education. His approach to teaching and learning was centered on the belief that education should place equal emphasis on development of character and the intellect.
Renaissance Outward Bound experiences, called Voyages, are designed true to Hahn's original beliefs and goal: to prepare students with the strength of character and determination they need to thrive – in the classroom, in the family and in the world by bringing an equally high level of emphasis and performance to teaching for the outcomes of character, leadership and service and the values of compassion, integrity, excellence and inclusion and diversity.
These transformative learning experiences, where students develop new technical skills as well as a sense of teamwork, self-confidence and a desire to make a difference are designed and delivered by skilled and dedicated educators and Instructors.
Character: Demonstrating increased self-awareness and self-confidence while demonstrating understanding and compassion toward others.
Leadership: Demonstrating the ability to set goals, inspire and guide others to achieve them; the ability to collaborate, communicate, solve problems and resolve conflicts effectively.
Service: Demonstrating social and environmental responsibility and a desire to actively engage in service to others.
Compassion: Demonstrating concern and acting with a spirit of respect and generosity in service to others.
Integrity: Acting with honesty, being accountable for your decisions and actions.
Excellence: Being your best self, pursuing craftsmanship in your actions, and living a healthy and balanced life.
Inclusion and Diversity: Valuing and working to create communities representative of our society that support and respect differences.
THE INSTITUTE FOR HUMANE EDUCATION
The mission of the Institute for Humane Education is to educate people to create a world where all humans, animals, and nature may thrive.
Tnstitute for Humane Education (IHE) seeks to solve interconnected problems related to social justice, environmental ethics, and animal protection. We do this by addressing a fundamental system that impacts all r systems: education. We work to ensure that people are educated to be solutionaries who are able to bring critical, systems, strategic, and creative thinking to bear on local and global challenges, and who are motivated by compassion and justice to do so. By preparing educators to teach students how to be solutionaries, able to uncover and solvesystemic problems, we pave the way for the unfolding of a more just, sustainable, and peaceful world. By bringing solutionary thinking and action to schools and communities, we set the stage for positive change.
The Solutionary Process begins with the belief that even our most intractable problems can be solved, and that schools are the perfect places for students to practice solving them.
A SOLUTIONARY IS SOMEONE WHO...
makes compassionate and responsible choices
identifies unsustainable, inhumane, and unjust system
brings critical, systems, strategic, and creative thinking to bear on solving problems
develops systems-based solutions that do the most good and least harm to people, animals, and the environment
At its heart, the Solutionary Process
is a simple framework that can be brought to life through these steps
identify a problem to solve
work in groups or individually to research the causes and manifestations of the problem
apply critical, systems, strategic, and creative thinking in an effort to come up with a “solutionary solution” to the problem
design an action plan to implement the solution
implement the solution
share the solution in a public forum
assess both achievements and challenges in order to learn from them and improve solutionary skills and actions
With realistic hope and a healthy motivation to make a difference,
students of all ages who are educated to be solutionaries have the potential to use the
knowledge, confidence, and skills they gain to:
Accomplish meaningful goals that are personally rewarding and empowering; gain solutionary competencies that will serve them throughout their lives; and develop a portfolio of value for colleges and/or potential employers (good for young people)
Apply academic skills and knowledge to real-world issues; bring critical, systems, strategic, and creative thinking to solving problems; and see the relevance of school to living a life of meaning and purpose (good for students, teachers, schools)
Solve real-world problems (good for communities and the world)
STEM is a curriculum based on the idea of educating students in four specific disciplines — science, technology, engineering and mathematics — in an interdisciplinary and applied approach. Rather than teach the four disciplines as separate and discrete subjects, STEM integrates them into a cohesive learning paradigm based on real-world applications to prepare our students for an ever-changing, increasingly complex world.
Design Thinking is a design methodology developed by the Stanford D School that provides a solution-based approach to solving problems. It’s extremely useful in tackling complex problems that are ill-defined or unknown, by understanding the human needs involved, by re-framing the problem in human-centric ways, by creating many ideas in brainstorming sessions, and by adopting a hands-on approach in prototyping and testing.
FIVE STAGES OF DESIGN THINKING
Conduct research to develop an understanding of your users and their needs.
DEFINE (THE PROBLEM):
Combine the research and observe where the user’s problems exist
Generate a range of crazy, creative ideas
Build real, tactile representations for a range of your ideas
Return to your users for feedback
Put the vision into effect