This month I am sharing an article that is being published about St. Timothy’s in the Center for Urban Education’s February Newsletter (http://centerforurbaned.org).

 

“St. Timothy’s Lutheran School believes the efforts of a few students can one day inspire the acts of many. We see the future of the Church in the education of its children: that they are loved, demonstrate Christian faith, understand God’s will for their lives, and develop their talents for leading others” (St. Timothy’s vision statement). Through its 37-year history, St. Timothy’s has been focused on developing the whole child in a nurturing and faith based environment. St. Timothy’s has been known for small class sizes, understanding each child to be a unique, God created person and meeting each child’s individual learning needs. With those goals in mind, St. Timothy’s has embarked on a journey to find the best way to meet each child’s unique learning needs, develop their talents, all within a loving environment.

 

In April a team of teachers from St. Timothy’s attended a blended learning boot camp in Milwaukee, WI. The St. Timothy’s team spent time studying the mission of vision of St. Timothy’s. They identified several key values/goals for the school:

  • God created all students with unique gifts and learning styles.
  • Timothy’s strives to offer children grace and freedom to be who they are, celebrate differences, creatively learn through their own learning style, and embrace their calling while building Christian character.
  • Offer experiential learning opportunities where teacher guide students by asking questions.
  • Students are given opportunities to work together to solve problems, learn, and create projects.

The team developed a plan to implement a pilot program to develop these values and goals to begin in the 2015-2016 school year.

 

Each Thursday morning, all the classes participate in Project Based Learning (PBL). This pilot program is designed to encourage creativity, critical thinking, promote individual learning, and foster love of learning. Each week the students work in small groups within multi-age grade levels, JK and K, 1 – 2, and 3 – 5 to explore in depth monthly topics using various modalities. Technology is used to help student research and thus enhance student knowledge. Technology is also used as a presentation tool to communicate student learning. A YouTube channel (Project Based Learning At St. Timothy’s Lutheran School) was created to showcase what students are learning. Erica Valencia, St. Timothy’s 4th grade teacher and blended learning boot camp attendee shares, “PBL gives students an opportunity to present their ideas and brainstorm with others to collaboratively learn and develop a student led project. They truly enjoy the collaboration and using technology to creatively present a final product.”