Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Why Hope Matters!

Personalize Learning Webinar Series with Keven Kroehler 2/4/14

Guest Post by Keven Kroehler, EdVisions Schools

Most schools desire that their graduates go on to lead successful lives. For example, Minneapolis Public Schools has this mission, “We support [student] growth into knowledgeable, skilled and confident citizens capable of succeeding in their work, personal and family lives into the 21st century.”  Since the designing of the first EdVisions school in the early 1990’s, we have held to a mission of success in the future for our learners.

What does Hope Look Like?

As we consider reforming schools, it seems to me that we should ask, “What is a proven way to get this future success?”  We all have our own answers to this question, but EdVisions’ schools have built on the research that says learners that can set reasonable goals for themselves, make plans to meet those goals, and persist to actually achieve those goals are well positioned for success in the future. The late Dr. Rick Snyder out of the University of Kansas began this work, EdVisions has done research around this idea, and Dr. Shane Lopez now at the Gallup Student Poll continues with this work.

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So why does hope matter?  

That’s easy!  The late Dr. Rick Snyder defined hope as a learner’s ability:
  • to set reasonable goals,
  • make plans for those goals, and 
  • persist to achieve those goals.  

When we focus on hope, we are focusing on a disposition in learners that sets them up for future success. I do want to point out that this idea of hope is more than just a skill that can be taught in a class; it needs to grow inside a learner and become part of who s/he is.

The research that EdVisions has worked on regarding hope focuses on what needs to exist in schools to build this hope. In the end we have come up with a recipe that schools can use to increase hope.  Dr Mark Van Ryzin and Dr. Ron Newell have written about this recipe in their book Assessing What Really Matters in Schools. 

I have the opportunity to talk about this recipe and the EdVisions path to success in an upcoming webinar on February 4th.  During that webinar we will look at:
  • The nontraditional pathway to success for EdVisions students
  • The recipe that schools can follow to build that pathway
  • The school cultures we develop to make this pathway doable

Join us on February 4th in this free webinar at 5pm ET, 4pm CT, 3pm MT and 2pm PT in Personalize Learning's Blackboard Collaborate room. Join us to learn more about a recipe for Chocolate Chip Cookies and how that recipe serves as an example of the recipe for hope. 

About Keven

After graduating from South Dakota State University with degrees in Math and Physics, Keven Kroehler began his teaching career in Eagle County School District in Colorado. Keven taught and coached in that traditional district for 12 years. He started his experience with the personalized project based pedagogy of EdVisions in 1997 when he took an advisor (teacher) position at the Minnesota New Country School (MNCS). Keven had the opportunity to help MNCS grow and flourish until 2005 when he joined a team to open EdVisions Off-Campus Charter School (EOC is an online version of MNCS). Keven remained at EOC as an advisor (teacher)/co-director until 2010 when he began working at EdVisions Schools.  

EdVisions Schools provides startup and support services to personalized project based schools worldwide.  Moving away from direct contact with students was a dramatic change for Keven, but having the chance to impact far more students by doing the work of educational reform and school replication provides the excitement and challenge Keven needs.  Specific experience that Keven has includes: 12 years as a traditional teacher, 12 years working as an advisor in student-centered project-based schools, 29 years of educational technology, 15 years of school finance, 5 years as a charter school director, 10 years as a member of EdVisions Schools board, and currently going on 4 years as a school developer and service provider.

Over the past few years Keven has presented in educational reform opportunities in Washington DC, Colorado, Michigan, California, Hong Kong, Japan, Washington, New Hampshire, and of course Minnesota.

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