Updated 04/26/2013 05:00 AM
State of Education: IGNITE
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Students from Brown School in Schenectady are participating in a individualized learning program known as IGNITE. The idea is to view each student as an individual, based on their strengths and weaknesses.
Head of Brown School Patti Vitale said, "So we have children working on areas where they need to further develop their skills, but we also have children that have talents and we want them to be able to come to school and be able to further develop them."
IGNITE stands for Individualized Goals Nurtured In a Team Environment. The program compliments the typical classes through inquiry bases learning and student mentoring.
Program Director Nina Benway said, "We're looking at it from across four domains, academics, social/emotional, wellness, and music/performing arts."
All while including life skills. For example, today, it's about organization.
Student Kelsey Brown said, "I've been really doing this program. I want to work on my organizational skills and organizing my portfolio and spreading out how I can work on it."
Another example of this individualized learning, parents, teachers, and students actually get together at the beginning of each school year to collaborate on their own IGNITE plan.
Benway said, "We're bringing these aspects into the curriculum, we're making them available for every student. It's a process, the process of collaboration, the goal making, bringing the parents in."
Vitale said, "You get the student to be part of their educational plan so they don't see themselves nearly as a recipient of their education but as an active participant."
And if this individualized program continues to be a success, educators can share the wealth by offering this to other schools
Vitale said, "But then they have to be able to take the things we are doing and implement it in a setting that works for them. Obviously every school has a different climate."
But sometimes it's easier said than done, especially when it comes to actually putting this into practice
Vitale said, "Am I going to get enough time in for this? I have a test perhaps coming up here. When educators are stressed, parents are stressed. That delivers on to students as well, so we want to be able to model what we want our kids to achieve."
While working to "ignite" their future.