Wednesday, June 14, 2017 - Updated: 9:00 AM
In an attempt to create an environment of deeper learning for students, Trigg County Schools are experimenting with a different approach to education.
In their board meeting Thursday, the Trigg County Board of Education participated in a conference call with Andy Goldin, chief of schools with Summit Public Schools in California, to discuss Trigg's use of Summit's curriculum.
Summit's curriculum stresses a self-directed learning approach, allowing students to gain practical application through immersive learning.
It gives the student more power to personalize their education around their plans for the future and what interests them, and also ensures the child truly understands what they've learned, rather than just teaching them to recite it. Each student is assigned a mentor, a teach or faculty member, who helps guide them through setting goals and gauging their progress toward those goals.
Though Trigg County has not fully implemented the Summit way of learning, they began testing it out in several grades in August of 2016.
Superintendent Travis Hamby emphasized the benefits of this type of learning as compared to teaching merely to prepare for assessments.
"We get hung up on that," he said about the assessments, "and we can not get hung up on a single moment in time assessment and let that be the end-all-be-all for who we are. You have to look at other measures, and some of that is going to be anecdotal. You can not always quantify everything."
Hamby emphasized that rather than judging students' progress only with assessments, they must also take into consideration the students' confidence in their knowledge and ability to defend their work, as well as their attendance, behavior, and overall engagement.
"It's got to be more than a single measure," Hamby said.
"When we start down that road, we'll be back like we were seven or eight years ago, where we're posting posters on walls about where we rank and how we do, and classrooms will lose their engagement because teachers will serve a test, and we'll move away because that's what we're going to put up as our reward. I would say our celebrations are every time we have an exhibit night, every time we get to see kids, we get to hear kids talk -- those are the things that ought to speak to this board and say, 'Something's going right at Trigg County Public Schools, and we're leading the way.'"
Several members of the school faculty have been traveling the country visiting other deeper learning focused schools to garner ideas they can adapt at Trigg County, as well as attending Summit trainings.