Remaking Education

Allison Isbell & Margaret Paul
Dear Families,
We wanted to share with you the remarks that Allison made at our Admissions Open House earlier this week. The education our students are receiving here at LREI is what colleges are looking for and what we know is important in the world.
"Last week I attended a conference titled Remaking Education hosted by Emerson and Olin Colleges--a joint venture between communication experts and highly specialized engineers and scientists. Held in Boston, it drew university presidents, professors, CEOs, engineers, scientists, and a high school principal/math teacher duo from LREI. You may be familiar with those Boston universities . . .
It was intimidating to walk into a space where I was surrounded by so many people who are respected in their fields . . . leading universities, designing college programs, building robots! But very soon it became clear that the work we do at LREI had prepared me well for this experience.
We were tasked with generating ideas that would disrupt typical systems and methods of teaching and learning in order to cultivate the skills and abilities that students need for this complex, global world. Throughout the day, we discussed the age of AI, standardized testing, and digital skills, and how the power of real human connection and purpose-driven collaboration is often overlooked, and that the most meaningful learning experiences that are those that foster collaboration, move students towards purposeful action.
To be honest. I was waiting for something more earth-shattering. Something really hard. Something than an assembled room of engineers, scientists, and college presidents would have to really dig into in order to move forward. But I discovered that instead of something new, the essential qualites they are looking to create in their programs is what we’ve been doing at LREI since Elisabeth Irwin founded our school nearly 100 years ago.
Collaboration, critical thinking, courage, and citizenship are not just character traits that are nice, they are essential
For example, we know that the collective intellectual abilities of a team are stronger than individual effort alone, and this is why you see students collaboratively solving problems together in our math and science classrooms.
We know that the ability to think iteratively: to design and revise, is the catalyst for innovative ideas, which is why our art classes are filled with film makers, painters, photographers, musicians and actors who, through the iterative processes of making, are designing work that pushes their ideas far beyond their original concepts.
And we know that empathy: this deep understanding of how our lives intersect with the human condition is why our juniors design their own research trips around topics such as immigration, environmental justice, and refugee resettlement, in order to come to know and value the lives and experiences of the people who live in the  communities where this issues are unfolding.
Everyday we are proud of the work we are doing with your children. We know this work matters for their time in our classrooms, and far beyond."