A new short film is highlighting the work of ReSchool Colorado, an initiative that is reimagining the school system with individual learners at the center of their own education. In these extended profiles, we are featuring a teacher, a learner, and an advocate working with ReSchool, to give a better sense of how this work will give young people the agency they need to develop a clear sense of self and acquire the skills they need to lead meaningful lives.
Colorado Academy teacher Paul Kim knows that taking a different approach to learning will spark students’ curiosity. “If you really engage with kids, you find out that they have these really deep interests, things that you don’t get to talk about in class per se.” At Colorado Academy, Paul and his fellow teachers are given the flexibility to offer students a different kind of learning experience — one that ReSchool Colorado thinks could be one model in a new way of education.
Students in Paul’s REDI Lab get an opportunity to work on a bigger project that isn’t necessarily connected to their academic subjects. REDI Lab, which stands for Research, Entrepreneurship, Design, and Inquiry, “is an attempt to give students a very unique opportunity in their junior year to explore in a deep, philosophical way interests that don’t have space in a more traditional curriculum.” Instead, they engage in a design thinking process, “allow[ing] them the space to find some of their own answers rather than to be prescribed an answer.”
Paul’s work with students gets to the core of ReSchool’s question about how kids should be learning. The traditional, long-antiquated school model isn’t working for many young people. Instead, learners and their families need to be empowered to find opportunities like the one offered at REDI Lab. That’s where the Advocate Network comes in, serving as a bridge between learning providers and students.
As a teacher in this unique situation, Paul says he both loves the freedom to work with students this way — and at times, he finds it a little frightening because it’s such an unchartered way of learning. “But in the end, the reality is that kids are super resilient. They learn in really complex ways. And even sometimes when things don’t go well, there’s a hidden lesson in that.”
Paul says he hears demand from both young people and adults for more learning opportunities like this one, and he believes that a new system like the one ReSchool is developing is the wave of the future.