Innovation in Learning Study Group

East Coast: Take aways from the String Theory School

By: Gabe Bango (10th grade student)

On Wednesday we visited the String Theory School in Philadelphia. It was a performing arts school and had features that I hadn’t seen in any public high school before. The first feature of the school that really stuck out to me was the amount of relevant classes they offered. They had classes that were based on and specific to job opportunities that are growing right now. The String Theory school had a “major” system where K-4th grade students would be exposed to all different types of classes. Then, in fifth grade, the students would choose a major to focus on until they graduate from high school. I think this system could work really well and make school a lot more enjoyable for the kids that realize their passion by 5th grade, although it’s hard to believe many do. Maybe a more effective way of this system is to have it open for kids to join when they realize they what they want to study for the rest of their schooling career (before college). Overall though, I think the major system or something similar is a great form of personalized learning. Another feature of this school is that not all teachers had their teaching degrees, a lot of them came from careers related to the subject they taught. Instead of the teachers coming straight from teaching school, these educators had real world experiences in their subjects. I think that sometimes kids take courses and end up not learning anything applicable to real life. This feature would help prevent that.