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Reimagining High School: A KM Perform Collaboration Story

“Rethink High School in America.” The Kettle Moraine School District has been doing this for years, but it’s taken a bit of time for the rest of the world to catch up. Project XQ, a grant competition sponsored by the XQ Institute, is a challenge to empower all of America to reimagine high school. The minute I saw the challenge, I thought of KM Perform. I knew that this generous grant would be a great way to explore how to better our school. I had the amazing opportunity to run a workshop with KM Perform teacher Ms. Catania exploring what we wanted in a school and writing the proposal. “The project recognizes the need for change in our education system, and values student voice. We need to educate students for jobs and careers that have yet to be created. Our students need skills that they can apply to their futures and can practice and enjoy using in their daily work,” says Ms. Catania.

The workshop was all about collaboration. We decided that working in small groups, then sharing out with the larger group would be the most efficient way to conduct the class. Each group had about three to five people that would focus on one section of the proposal, including areas such as School Mission, Networking, and Partnerships. Our team consisted of diverse focus areas and students with different learning styles. We were able to collaborate with peers with whom we generally wouldn’t.

“After working for many days, we, as a group, were able to decide what was already valued in KM Perform as being transformative, and build upon that strong foundation,” Ms. Catania explains. Taking these ideas, the class decided to use film as a vehicle to express our ideas for a new school for the proposal. Art focuses Maddi Racine and Spenser Bower did all of the drawings for our whiteboard based short films. Ethan Suhr and I filmed, Ethan edited the videos together, and the team as a whole is very proud of what was created. “I really liked the final filming process. It was a lot of fun to work with Spenser, Natalie, and Ethan,” explains Maddi Racine.

Learning should never be limited. The school our workshop planned out has many similarities to KM Perform: Personalized learning, flexible scheduling, and most importantly, strong teacher/student relationships. The new school isn’t changing KM Perform, it’s enhancing it. We are so fortunate to attend a school where our learning environment is constantly improving and evolving in a world that is doing the same.

 

Natalie DeRoche

December, 2015