While were were indisposed last Friday at City Hall, Superintendent of Public Instruction Randy Dorn was checking out here in Enumclaw. Thank you to school founder and CEO Roger Franklin for passing along the following information and photos from Dorn's visit.
Randy Dorn, Washington State's Superintendent of Public Instruction, visited Enumclaw's Cedar River Academy on June 22 to observe first-hand the school's Student-Centered Education Model. After being briefed by his staff members, and other educators, who have visited CRA and reported positive impressions from their visits, Superintendent Dorn spent the morning touring and learning about CRA's constructivist approach to teaching and learning.
Cedar River Academy's Student-Centered Education Model reverses the role of the teacher from a lecturer, to a researcher of student interest and learning strengths. CRA teachers create curriculum that assures students meet
Washington State education standards and expectations while they construct complex projects to refine and demonstrate their learning and understanding of subject matter.
As one example of the application of the CRA Student-Centered Education Model, Marie Riley, CRA's lead Middle School Humanities teacher, described the work the middle school students completed over a period of a year to complete for the Enumclaw Park Board. This project required the students to develop extensive background knowledge in environmental studies, mathematics, science, engineering, community planning,
social studies, and history. They used this background knowledge to prepare four educational presentations to the Park Board.
These presentations included inventories of the assets and issues existent at Mahler Park, conceptual development options, preliminary development plans, and a final proposed development plan for the Park Board's consideration.
Ms. Erica Shook, Enumclaw's Community Development Director, and Ms. Michelle Larson, Enumclaw's Recreation Manager, offered Superintendent Dorn and Mr. Becker the City's perspective of the work the 11 and 12 year old CRA
students had completed, the benefits for the City that are being derived from the project, and the City's expectations for follow on projects for CRA students.
“It is an honor to have Superintendent Dorn tour our school and learn about our teaching model”, said Roger Franklin, Cedar River Academy CEO. “By replacing Washington State's complex WASL testing program with more efficient MSP
and HSPE exams, I believe Mr. Dorn has made a significant improvement in Washington State's public education programs. Students who are actively engaged in projects that interest them will naturally develop the skills these tests are designed to measure. More importantly, actively engaging students in their learning will assure they remain in school to graduate, and lead to dramatic reduction of the alarmingly high dropout rate in our public school systems.”