Building Powerful Learning Environments: From Schools to Communities

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9781475830941: Building Powerful Learning Environments: From Schools to Communities

Building Powerful Learning Environments takes a close look at the trends of the Post-Digital Era through the prism of how systems of education can meet the needs of our times and offers a systemic approach to creating a different canvas for learning that aligns to these changes. At the center of the book are the concepts of a learning environment and a culture of partnerships.

A learning environment has traditionally been viewed as something that educators created and sustained inside their schools. Building Powerful Learning Environments expands this understanding to embrace families, communities, other learning institutions, and businesses not as helpers, but as co-builders of a powerful learning environment. It demonstrates that schools have to take the first step in this direction by becoming the center of a new educational culture - a culture of partnerships.

This book looks into various ways of creating this culture at district, school, and classroom levels. It provides practical guidance, strategies, and tips as well as some conceptual understanding of what can be done to create and support this culture at various levels of educational leadership.

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About the Author:

Arina Bokas is the editor of Kids’ Standard Magazine and a faculty member at Mott Community College in Flint, Michigan. She has served her community both as a public school and district PTA president. Arina currently works on the Michigan PTA Leadership Development Committee and produces The Future of Learning public TV series with Independence Television.

Review:

Building Powerful Learning Environments takes us far beyond the walls of schools and into a present reality: The global village is the classroom and young people encounter information, learning experiences, and opportunities to be challenged around the clock. How do we support and nourish these learners? With clarity and precision, Arina Bokas describes a new model of collaborative partnerships in which parents no longer view schools as the primary source of learning, and schools no longer insulate themselves from parents. The result is a powerful argument for seeing learning as an interconnected journey fueled by a common vision for the future. (Thom Markham, founder of PBL Global, formerly of Envision Schools and the Buck Institute for Education, author of “Project Based Learning Design and Coaching Guide: Expert tools for innovation and inquiry for K–12 teachers”)

This book should be required reading for anyone who cares about the future of learning in this country. It provides a helpful overview of the landscape of education and powerful examples of partnerships, making the case for disrupting the status quo in most schools today. We are well beyond the Hollywood myth of the 'teacher-hero' who can change young people’s hearts and minds all on her own. Arina Bokas makes the convincing argument that meaningful learning environments are co-constructed and that we all have a responsibility for them. Our children deserve nothing less. (Jim Reese, director of the Professional Development Collaborative at Washington International School and education chair of the Project Zero Perspectives conferences, Harvard Graduate School of Education)

What can be done today by educators and administrators to nurture positive learning ecosystems? Pick up a copy of Building Powerful Learning Environments for a great read about roles and responsibilities in education and concrete strategies on how to improve learning environments for all students. (Dr. Carri Schneider, co-author of Smart Parents: Parenting for Powerful Learning and director of Knowledge Design, Getting Smart)

The world is our classroom, and educators need parents as partners. Arina Bokas provides page after page of practical strategies to foster this partnership with families and communities for the benefit of our students. Using the processes outlined in Building Powerful Learning Environments: From Schools to Communities, educators and school leaders can build authentic partnerships in their schools and districts. (Connie Hamilton, EdS, curriculum director for Saranac Community Schools, MI, and independent educational consultant)

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