Launching a 21st Century School

For four years, I was a Principal within a school community that I loved.  I took a six month leave to spend time with my family and so had to leave my position at the school.  I recall commenting to the VP that I didn’t think I could get a school as exciting as the school I was leaving. Well, I definitely did!

I am now Principal of a school in the midst of being built minutes from the University of British Columbia. Norma Rose Point School will be our district’s first K-8 school, designed with 21st century learning design concepts and to Leed Gold Standard.  Most exciting is that I get to work with a staff to create a vision for this school.  Being an educational leader in this type of predicament is the experience of a lifetime.

As soon as I was posted to the school, I spent months scanning websites, reading and connecting with people that I knew would challenge my thinking.  My guiding question is how can we get from good to great?  Well, thank you to Linda Kaser and Judy Halbert — two of my mentors!  They introduced me to a book called The Nature of Learning which can be found here:

Here is the executive summary:

And this is the friendly 12 page document that I use with the staff:

We refer to the 7 Principles of Learning to guide the design of our new school’s learning environment and the 6 Building Blocks of Innovative Learning Environments (cooperative learning, inquiry based learning, formative assessment, service learning, home school partnerships and learning with technology) to challenge our growth.

In teams, the staff will devise an inquiry based on one of the six building blocks by using the Spirals of Inquiry model presented in this pdf:

If others out there have recommendations for our learning, please post!

3 Comments on “Launching a 21st Century School

  1. Hello Rosa,

    I think you will most certainly like to check us out:

    The brand new Pacific School of Innovation and Inquiry in Victoria. We are already putting into practice what others are theorizing about. I gotsta tell ya, it is a totally different ball game putting it into practice.

    I wish you luck.

    You can find out more about me here:

    Keep rocking it!

  2. Good luck finding your model for a 21st Century School. It’s been my experience that most educators attempt this using the 20th Century technology they are comfortable with. In doing so they fail to reach the students where THEY are at. I hope the following videos contribute This represents just the tip of the iceberg of what we are doing, but given that we are needing to increase our staff by one member a month to keep pace with student enrolment, I think we’re onto something. : ) Regards, Gord Holden

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