Schools Showcase Innovative Instruction

May 15th, 2013

Category: News, Policy and Practice

Earlier this month, I had the opportunity to attend the Alliance of Model Schools’ Spring Dinner, and I was quite impressed by the innovative classroom projects and lessons that the teachers shared.

The dinner was a celebration of a year of hard work, innovation, and success. The program was jam-packed with content, featuring remarks by Ashley Biden, Associate Director of the Delaware Center for Justice, but the highlight of the evening was definitely the showcase of teacher projects, winners of the first annual Project Based Learning Competition.

Honorees included projects throughout the state by students of all ranges and subjects. In one classroom students used their knowledge about economics to create educational and promotional materials that are actually in use at Sussex County Federal Credit Union. In another, students at Penn High learned about human trafficking and conducted their own research to write letters to government officials and create a campaign against the practice.

My favorite submission, though, was from a Teach For America teacher educating 4- and 5-year olds at the Latin American Community Center. She incorporated science, social studies, and writing into a unit on grass. At one point students went exploring around the city of Wilmington, and after noticing how few public “green” areas there were, urged their teacher to let them write letters to the city council requesting more public parks. I can’t wait to see what these students do later in life!

I would have loved to have been a student in any one of these classes, and it sounds like there will be opportunities for more students to do so in upcoming years. At the dinner, Innovative Schools announced the second round of the Innovative School Model Initiative grant competition, which provides funding for schools or organizations looking to replicate deeper learning models. With more and more classrooms and schools teaching like this, it almost makes me wish I was a student again!


The Alliance of Model Schools is a consortium of schools that utilize deeper learning models, instructional designs that focus on deepening content knowledge and understanding, providing real-world learning experiences, and helping students develop 21st century skills. It is an initiative of Innovative Schools, a school support organization that focuses its efforts primarily in-state.

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Brian Yin



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