The U School is based on a competency model.
We have subject specific competencies, and more global ones, with performance indicators like
“I can monitor my progress, set and track my goals, and create a post-secondary plan to ensure that I am college and career ready.”
There are a set of relevant, but inadequate Next Generation Essentials competencies, that we are currently working to make more robust, in the interest of Target 4.7 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) education for sustainable development and global citizenship.
Since the inception of the U School, we have had a Senior Project in the curriculum, which is intended to address a wicked problem, which according to Wikipedia, is a problem that is difficult or impossible to solve because of incomplete, contradictory, and changing requirements that are often difficult to recognize. For myself, I think of it as a problem that if it had a simple, complete solution, it would have been solved long-since.
Solutions-based learning is really sticky, and risky to undertake, for facilitators and for participants. It takes tolerance for frustration and perseverance beyond anything we learned in school.
We have a couple of courses where students study activism, and undertake collaborative action. It’s impossible to plan out the action in advance, if it is to be genuinely student-centered. In this context, we have learned that we have a need for a set of criteria for students to evaluate potential local partners, before we begin to network with community groups with common concerns related to social justice issues.
Looking forward, at each grade level, 9-12, students will create and implement social justice action, such that when the time comes for the new, Act 158 Statewide High School Graduation Requirement of implementing an (ill defined) service learning project, they will be equipt to envision, implement and evaluate a meaningful learning experience, Inventing and Affecting the Future.