As a parent with children in elementary school, I am thrilled to see new learning methods being implemented and high levels of parent involvement in children’s education. Within southeastern Idaho, several schools now offer non-traditional learning models including project-based, expeditionary (blend of project-based and common core), or spectrum (multi-age learning emphasizing ability over age). A common element among these models is an element of leadership given to children in pursuing learning as well as developing solutions to challenges or issues presented to them. These options promote critical thinking and creativity while moving away from rote memorization that is often lost within a few hours or days.
In southeastern Idaho, there have been some great improvements, and I look forward to seeing these teaching methods spread to other schools in the region. In the Idaho Falls area, we also have a large number of well-educated persons in STEM subjects who are working for or retired from places like Idaho National Laboratory. I would love to see a program put in place that incentivises them to share their knowledge with Idaho’s youth. Without these 21st-century skills, Idaho’s youth will not be able to successfully participate in the global economy.