What was your Most Memorable Learning Experience in High School?

What was your most memorable learning experience in high school? Do you remember? Larry Rosenstock, Founder, and CEO of High Tech High has been asking this question to teachers and parents for years, and the answers he gets are almost always the same. 1. It was a project. 2. It involved the community. 3. It had a fear of failure and recognition of success. 4. It had a mentor. 5. It had a public display of student work. Were you thinking of something similar? Larry built his school around these factors, making student engagement the centerpiece of his learning model. On the flip-side, a 2017 Gallup Poll surveying one million U.S. students found that half of them were disengaged from school. It suggested that engagement drops as students age because older students feel less cared for by adults and see less value in their work. Does that sound about right, too? So, what can you do about it? Start a […]

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Casco Bay High School + SchoolSquare

I don’t know about you, but when I imagine schools of the future, I see students learning by being active participants in making their communities better. Currently, there are a small group of schools leading this change and a few of them can be found right here in Portland, Maine! SchoolSquare is thrilled to be partnering with one of these schools, Casco Bay High School, to help them better connect their teachers and students with the caring adults of the Greater Portland community! Casco Bay High School is an Expeditionary Learning School So, what is an Expeditionary Learning School? An E.L. School and its curriculum are rooted in project-based learning expeditions, where students engage in collaborative, rigorous study of captivating topics. Students work in groups, frequently out in their community with assessment coming through cumulative products, public presentations, and portfolios. As they put it- “When students and teachers are engaged in work that is challenging, adventurous and meaningful, learning and […]

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Helping Students See Themselves as Artists!

Last time we connected we were about to put our platform in the hands of a small group of teachers at Longfellow Elementary School in Portland, Maine with the goal of saving them time while finding the perfect volunteer to support their classroom needs. So, what happened? Well, to make a long story short, it worked! Here’s an example! Emily Serway, Longfellow’s amazing art teacher needed a helping hand (literally) hanging student artwork throughout the school. So, this is what she did: She logged onto her SchoolSquare profile and filled out a Volunteer Request Form. Then, with a simple click of a button, she sent the “request” to the email addresses of her students’ parents. Within a day, six parents notified her via ScholSquare of their interest and before she knew it had the assistance needed in helping her students’ artwork shine! Emily put it perfectly- “when students see their art in the halls, they see themselves as artists”. We […]

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Touch, See, & Do! How to Prepare an Amazing Elementary School Presentation!

You said…“Yes”! That’s wonderful news! Having a caring adult like you come into your neighborhood school and share your interests, passions, and profession can be such a meaningful experience for the students you visit, and it’s super fun too!

 Now, how do you prepare for your classroom visit? Yes, you might know how to keep your children engaged at home, or High-5 the neighborhood kid, but how do you capture and hold the attention of 20 squirmy kiddos?

 Well, we’ve got a few tips to point you in the right direction!

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One Big Family

Polina had been the school’s principal and math teacher for forty years. She was known for her discipline; the kids feared her, as did the adults. She was an intimidating woman. She was also my “girlfriend”: Moya Padrooha.

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Kickstarter Launch – November 14th!

For the past ten years it’s been my mission to help kids succeed – it’s taken me from the baseball field to the Kindergarten classroom – from Portland, Maine to Ukraine – from Bowdoin College to Portland Public Schools. 

And this is what I’ve come to believe-

Schools should be at the centers of our communities- where kids develop strong relationships with caring adults; where their talents are discovered; and where they learn about the world around them!

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Playing Ball in the Peace Corps

I climbed the big concrete steps one after another, dripping sweat, unsure of what I’d find at the top. I’d been walking for a while and my mind was racing. It felt like the first day of school, like the first day of anything. It was a blazing hot day, but the heat was familiar. I had played ball many times in weather like this, especially in Iowa. But I was far from the cornfields of the Midwest now. I was in a place I’d never been before, a place I’d never dreamed I’d be. I was in Ukraine.

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Left, Right, Left, Right,…

The crowd of a few thousand erupt with cheer. I mutter to myself and begin the long walk back to the dugout. As I walk, they narrate my stride. Right, left, right, left! In sync with my every step. Finally, I reach the lip of the dugout after the longest thirty seconds of my life. And for their final, miserable act? I know what’s coming-, “Sit down!” they scream.

Striking out was never fun, but in Bluefield, West Virginia, it was a whole new level of humiliation.

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Baseball Was Everything

Baseball was everything, my identity was defined by it – it is what I did. When I wasn’t playing, I was training for it. Everyday of the week it was baseball, and now it was gone.

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