Community Connections – Nov 2

Nov 6, 2018

Ted Dintersmith, one of the country’s most successful venture capitalists, is also a leading advocate for innovation in education. In his book What School Could Be, Dintersmith seeks to “reimagine education to prepare students for a world marked by innovation.”  He asserts that students who connect their learning to the “real world” become increasingly creative and self-directed as they grow their knowledge and skills. [1] If he’d been at Summit School last week, Dintersmith would have observed exactly what he describes in his book in our first and fourth grades.

He would have seen first grade entrepreneurs researching business in communities, including concepts of budgeting, goods and services, saving and spending, bartering, and opportunity cost.  Applying their learning, first graders built their own businesses, taking into account their location, marketing and product pricing.  At the Ribbon Cutting and Business Expo, they presented their business plans to and physical models that integrated design thinking and urban planning to families and guests.

Also last week, fourth graders visited Junior Achievement’s BizTown as the culmination of an engaging economics curriculum focused on financial literacy and entrepreneurialism. Before their trip, fourth graders explored concepts like the circular flow of money and goods in a free enterprise economy.  Learning to write checks, the difference between debit and credit cards, and earning interest versus paying interest helped them be ready. After completing a job application and practicing their interviewing skills, each fourth grader was “hired,” and began collaborating with their “co-workers” to craft marketing campaigns, set product prices to drive profits, and analyze qualities of high-quality business. Once at BizTown, our fourth graders applied their learning to their “jobs,” and most of Summit’s young businesspeople achieved their goal of paying off their business loans and turning a profit.

These are just two examples of the “real world” learning that happens in all of Summit’s classrooms in every grade.  Summit strives for what Dintersmith and others describe as understanding the skills students will need in a world where change is constant and learning never stops, and building learning experiences that empower students to practice them.  At Summit,  students learn is important, and what they do with their learning in a real-world setting is equally vital. [2]

Go Sabrecats,

[1] Dintersmith, Ted. What School Could Be: Insights and Inspiration From Teachers Across America. Princeton University Press, 2018, p. xvi.
[2] Dintersmith, Ted and Tony Wagner. Most Likely to Succeed: Preparing Our Kids for the Innovation Era. Scribner, 2015, p. 196.

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