Above: Peter and Jim, two of my former co-workers at MNCS, working on preparing for presentation night.
For the National Public Radio story and audio, click here.
I got news that Minnesota New Country would be featured on "All Things Considered" today at approximately 4:37 p.m. Yes, thanks to my former co-worker Jim, I was anxiously awaiting the story about my former school. For me, this environment caused me to look at who I am and become a better person, along with becoming a better teacher.
As Larry Abramson of NPR points out, advocates for project based learning and different educational environments aren't claiming to be the sole answer to America's educational crisis. Rather, New Country offers and choice option for students in that vicinity that may have lost hope in their former educational environment.
One of the luckiest days in my life is when I walked into New Country for a clinical at MSU, Mankato. It felt like home. I still feel welcome every time I go back to visit. I am a bit nostalgic looking back on all of the stories that have driven me towards my goal in life as a kid; which was to make a difference in the lives of others. I have tremendous respect for the staff and students at Minnesota New Country. As a staff member at MNCS, we often laughed about the fact that people traveled so far to see us in action, when we had the same struggles that many organizations face. People are looking for answers and stories of success. The lesson here is that it is a fight to change convention.
I miss working at MNCS because we truly were a team (as is the staff I work with now). I hope that staff and students at the school realize how special the community is. I can't even count on two hands the number of inspiring people that I had the pleasure to call colleagues in this special environment.
The coolest thing that project based learning has to teach is that motivation and self awareness comes from within, for both students and teachers. Their is no secret formula to unlock what motivates all individuals.
Bless the innovators (including those who dreamed of MNCS and its new way of embracing learning). I believe in educational experimentation and MNCS' modo: "Learning by doing."