Did you catch the recent article in USA Today about a new concept in high schools? If not, stop reading this post immediately and read the article! (Go ahead, I’ll wait.)
I don’t want to get into a debate about public vs. private education here. I’m not an educator, so I can’t point to the official pros and cons of an idea like this. However, as a parent and a marketer fascinated by Gen Z, I can’t help but be intrigued by the idea of Powderhouse Studios, where students will go to “school” year-round and work on research projects in a setting that feels more like a real-life working experience than a typical high school.
Can you imagine? No grade levels or official classes. Going to school year-round and taking vacations based not on the school calendar but on their families’ schedules. A truly personalized learning environment tailored around meaningful project work. A new option for students who feel disengaged in the traditional high-school setting.
Powerhouse Studios, opening in September, will focus on community connection, flexible learning and problem-solving to inspire students to be original thinkers who value collaboration and life-long learning. Sounds perfect for Gen Z, a generation of entrepreneurial self-starters.
I love this! Why not try something new? As the article points out, the format of the American classroom hasn’t changed much in the last century. That seems nuts! With the entire world changing at the speed of technology, why not adapt the traditional education model to a changing world?
Something else about this that I really love is students will progress at the rate at which they demonstrate mastery of academic content, regardless of time. Rather than trying to force kids into a four-year education mold, they will set their own pace while doing challenging, real-world work.
I don’t talk about this much, but one of my kids processes information more slowly than most. They call it a “learning disability,” although I prefer to think he just learns differently than many of his peers. He’s just as smart. Once he learns something, he’s learned it for life. It just takes him longer to process and store information, and he’s terrible at taking tests. His brain doesn’t work well under the pressure of 50-minute time constraints.
But I could see him flourishing in a school like this. I wish I had the opportunity to send him to Powderhouse to finish out his high school years. Unfortunately, we’re in Kansas and Powderhouse is in Somerville, Massachusetts.
For now, I’ll just have to look forward to watching and learning what Powderhouse Studios is able to accomplish. Only time will tell if “schools” like this catch on.
I, for one, think it would be awesome. I also think colleges and universities would be wise to watch and learn.