21st Century Elementary Schools*
Updated: November, 2018
November, 2018: HQPBL
Case Study: Katherine Smith School, by Getting Smart
April, 2018: An elementary project from beginning to end at Katherine Smith School The Tiny House Project
April, 2018: Take a guided tour of what happens inside Washington Discovery Academy, Plymouth, Indiana
February 7, 2018: Book a tour of the Katherine Smith School, an exemplar 21st century PBL elementary school in the Evergreen School District, San Jose, CA.
April 21, 2017: Dare to Dream in Color Project from @WDAPlymouth named Best in Network Winner
March 4, 2016: Learning Reading through Projects: A Whale of a PBL, by Jill Liepelt, Katherine Smith School, P21 Blogazine
December 10, 2015: Quality Work + Project-Based Learning at Katherine Smith Elementary, By Megan Mead, Getting Smart. See more on Katherine Smith Elementary below.
November 4, 2015: Video Interview with Katherine Smith School Principal Aaron Brengard on 21st Century Learning at @ksmithschool
- Wooranna Park Primary School, Melbourne, Australia
- Katherine Smith School, San Jose, CA
- Washington Discovery Academy, Plymouth, Indiana
- School 21, East London, UK
- Hartsholme Academy, Lincoln, Midlands, UK
- Melrose Elementary School, Los Angeles, CA
- Genesee Community Charter School, Rochester, NY
- The Odyssey School, Denver, CO
1. Wooranna Park Primary School, Melbourne, Australia
Wooranna Park Primary School in Melbourne, Australia, is a 21st Century Elementary School whose mission is "to provide students with a learning environment that recognises children learn best when engaged with real world, authentic tasks, involving problem solving and collaboration with peers on interdisciplinary, research based project work, where the teacher's role includes that of coach and facilitator and where students are empowered to take responsibility for their learning." What is exceptional about Wooranna Park Primary School is that it is both an exemplar of 21st Century Learning and Teaching and an exemplar of New Learning Environments, including pioneer innovation internationally in the development of Stimulating Learning Platforms. This school is profiled extensively on this website at the links below.
2. Katherine Smith School, San Jose, CA
Video Interview with Katherine Smith School Principal Aaron Brengard on 21st Century Learning at @ksmithschool, November, 2015
Katherine Smith School is a 21st century elementary school in the Evergreen School District, San Jose, CA. It is a New Tech Network school and a Buck Institute for Education (BIE ) Partner. School graduates often go on to Bulldog Tech, a 21st century middle school in the district.
School Murals: Click to see larger image.
From #75DaysofData on Twitter: During 2015-2016 Katherine Smith School, Washington Discovery Academy, and New Tech High (Napa) posted 75 days of data. Click on picture for larger image.
Selected KSmithSchool Blog entries:
3. Washington Discovery Academy, Plymouth, Indiana
From #75DaysofData on Twitter: During 2015-2016 WDA, Katherine Smith School, and New Tech High (Napa) posted 75 days of data.
Washington Discovery Academy is a Project Based Learning school within the Plymouth (IN) Community School Corporation. It is also one of the first six elementary schools in the country to be a part of the New Tech Network and is a New Tech Network Demonstration Site. WDA strives to create meaningful learning experiences for students that help develop their literacy and communication skills while fostering a growth mindset that allows them to take ownership over their learning.
Articles, Projects, and Documents
School 21 is a new state-funded, inclusive years 4-18 school in Stratford, East London. The school opened in 2012 to help students succeed in the 21st century through a pedagogy of wellbeing, oracy (speaking skills), and project-based learning. See the excellent Case Study of School 21 from the edutopia Schools that Work program published in September, 2016.
Hartsholme Academy's Immersive Learning Environments
Hartsholme Academy in Lincoln, East Midlands (East of Manchester and Sheffield) currently serves students pre-school through Year 6 (ages 4-11) and is currently in a formal consultation period for the proposal to expand Hartsholme Academy to include Key Stage Three (Years 7-9) from September 2017.
6. Melrose Elementary School, Los Angeles, CA
7. Genesee Community Charter School, Rochester, NY
8.The Odyssey School, Denver, CO
The Odyssey School is a dynamic Expeditionary Learning K-8 community dedicated to fostering each child's unique potential and spirit of adventure through exemplary standards of character, intellectual achievement, and social responsibility. The Odyssey School is chartered by Denver Public Schools. As a public school we are tuition free, except for our full-day Kindergarten program. The Odyssey School currently serves 225 students Kindergarten through 8th grade, our full charter. 33% of the student population qualifies for the Federal free or reduced lunch program. Fifty percent of the students are students of color with most being African American.
- Buck Institute for Education (BIE): Project Search, PBL DIY (Do_It_Yourself), PBL in the Elementary Grades Toolkit, Videos on Elementary School Projects
- FreeBIEs: BIE has created free materials - "FreeBIEs" - such as planning forms, student handouts, rubrics, and articles for educators to download and use to design, assess, and manage projects.
New Learning Environments to Support 21st Century Skills (PDF, downloadable),
chapter by Bob Pearlman, in the new book, 21st
Century Skills: Rethinking How Students Learn
21st Century Schools: Creating Learner-Centered Schoolplaces/Workplaces
for a New Culture of Students at Work,
by Bob Pearlman, EDUCATIONAL TECHNOLOGY/September-October 2009
the Design of Schools through the Lens of Project-Based Learning
- Interview with Bob Pearlman, the Director of Strategic Planning for
the New Technology Foundation, DesignShare and Education Facility Planning
News, March, 2007
Century Learning in Schools – A Case Study of New Technology
High School in Napa, CA",
published in New Directions for Youth Development,
Volume 2006, Issue 110 (Summer 2006), Special Issue:
The Case for Twenty-First Century Learning.
Skills For A New Century: Project-based learning teaches kids the collaborative
and critical thinking abilities they'll need to compete",
Edutopia magazine, June 2006.
- "Redesign Schools
for 21st Century Learning", Published in Five
Riveting Ideas, EDTECH Focus on K-12 magazine, January-February, 2005
it Done: Boston launches new 5-year technology, teaching & learning
plan. Why not you?",
article in Techlearning.Com, August 1, 2004
and Making, the New American High School", Technos Quarterly,
the High School Experience", Educational Leadership, April
- "Designing the New American Schools", PDF, Communications of the ACM, May, 1993
*April, 2014 -- This page profiles several 21st century elementary schools. It has been my practice in the past to only profile and recommend exemplar schools and districts that I know well through personal visits and knowledge. However, today it is possible to visit some schools and districts through the World Wide Web and see documents, articles, and videos that tell the story of what is happening in these places. A good name for this process is "curating". I first consulted knowledgeable colleagues around the country for recommendations and also searched the World Wide Web for candidate schools. In some instances there were other candidate achools, however there were not sufficient additional artifacts to validate their "innovative" practices. To develop this page and its resources, I scoured each school's website and then searched the Internet for "artifacts"-- documents, materials, articles, and videos-- that tell the school's story. If you have a recommendation of additional schools to profile, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. --- Bob Pearlman