San Francisco, CA
DIRECTOR OF EDUCATION, UCSF NEUROSCAPE LAB
Millennium Schoolʼs work is the most groundbreaking weʼve seen, and represents the future of education if what we hope to do is prepare young people to be agents of learning and to thrive as adults.
FACTS & FIGURES
Start-up Innovation Lab based on developmental science and adolescent education
Partnering with university professors from University of California, Berkeley; University of California, San Francisco; and Stanford University
Create a large-scale blending learning teacher professional development platform
Founding learners (ages 11-12)
Learners by 2018 (ages 11-14)
IN THE HEART OF THE VIBRANT HAYES VALLEY NEIGHBORHOOD in San Francisco, you’ll find something quite unexpected. Millennium School, located at the local Boys and Girls Club, is the first learning environment of its kind.
With a design founded on adolescent developmental science, Millennium School focuses on creating a safe socially embedded environment, connecting learners to the real world through open-walled opportunities, and providing the necessary tools for learners to fully understand themselves. Through Socratic Seminars, project-based learning, and apprenticeships, learners are consistently engaged—developing the knowledge, skills, and dispositions that will propel them into a world of possibility.
The day in the life of a learner is filled with personalized, relevant, and contextualized learning. Take founding sixth-grader, Shima. Her day begins with a morning meeting that kicks off with 10 minutes of mindfulness meditation—a practice that sets an intentional tone for the day.
From there, Shima attends her first self-selected Quest—interdisciplinary projects rooted in either Humanities or STEM disciplines that faculty, or “Guides,” craft based on learner interests, world trends, or other special opportunities for learning. Each six-week Quest is oriented around a guiding question such as “Are we alone in the universe?” or “Has America dealt with slavery?” The culmination is a learner presentation to an external audience of experts.
Shima moves on to her humanities seminar, where a dozen of her peers hone their speaking, debate, and critical thinking skills, while engaging in discussions relevant to the topics they’re studying.
After lunch is Creative Expression. While Shima focuses on sculpture, other learners work on music recording, hip hop dance, and other projects that relate to their creative interests. Towards the end of the day, Shima becomes a true agent of her learning and works on a Personal Quest of her choosing during advisory period.
Millennium School isn’t just a middle school for Shima and her peers. It is a multi-tiered vision to trans-form how we educate adolescents. Utilizing the best in neuroscience and developmental psychology, Millennium School has teamed up with faculty from Stanford, UC Berkeley, and UC San Francisco to co-design methodologies and curriculum for the 21st-century learner. To this end, Millennium is a true innovation lab school. The goal is to test, refine, and modify instructional learnings and best practices and, ultimately, create teacher professional development programs that will scale to teachers everywhere through an online, blended learning platform.
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