Great Minds Learning Community is:
◆ Designed for both gifted learners’ and twice-exceptional (2e) learners’ unique needs. We welcome students with learning differences/challenges/disabilities, such as: dyslexia, ADHD/hypermobile, sensory processing challenges, vision challenges, dysgraphia, dyscalculia, chemical sensitivity and allergies, Asperger’s/High Functioning Autism, anxiety, or social difficulties.
◆ Personalized, differentiated instruction in language arts, math, computer science, science, and social studies through online learning platforms such as Khan Academy, Pixton (Click N Drag Comics), NoRedInk, VoiceThread, Tech Rocket, and Flocabulary.
◆ Student-driven goals and “play lists.”
◆ Matching students up as running partners to goal-set with each other and create weekly accountability to those goals.
◆ Passionate guides instead of teachers.
◆ Small, mixed-age class sizes with a maximum of 12 students grades 1-3 and 12 students grades 4-9 (2018-2019).
◆ Comfortable, home-like environment.
◆ Flexible, student-driven hands-on Group Project Time based on the genuine interests of the students.
◆ Flexible, student-driven hands-on Individual Project Time based on the genuine interests of the students.
◆ 21st-Century job preparation by focusing on critical thinking, problem-solving, innovation, flexibility, resilience, and creativity instead of rote memorization.
◆ Socratic discussions that promote critical thinking, emotional, and social development.
◆ Improvisational theater strategies to develop social skills.
◆ Tribe-building activities to deepen our sense of community, friendship, and fun.
◆ Actively use class meetings, Positive Discipline, and non-violent communications strategies to explore feelings, problem-solve, and solve conflicting needs.
◆ No homework.
◆ No grades.
◆ No required standardized tests or teaching to the test.
◆ Be surrounded by peers and guides who support and challenge you.
◆ Apprenticeships starting in 8th grade.
◆ Students can delve deeply into their passions.
◆ Brain and body breaks to reconnect and refocus.
◆ One full hour for lunch and recess time outdoors.
◆ Mastery can be shown in a format that matches the learner’s strengths (e.g. oral or project-based demonstration of mastery for students with dysgraphia; activity-based project mastery for student needing to move, etc.) while encouraging growth in areas of weakness.
◆ School hours 9:00-3:00 that maximize learning (no 6:00 a.m. wake-ups).
◆ Brief weekly, anonymous surveys give parents and students a voice in sharing what we’re doing well and how we can improve.
Here are just a few examples of ways that Great Minds Learning Community’s learning environment accommodates Dabrowski’s “Overexcitabilities” in gifted and 2e learners (To learn more about overexcitabilities, visit: http://sengifted.org/overexcitability-and-the-gifted/):
◆ Touch-screen Chromebooks provide options for students who prefer touching the screen instead of typing out answers on the keyboard
◆ Active Learning Stools designed for energetic learners, allowing range of movement without disrupting others.
◆ Adjustable private desk, share table, or lapdesk options to maximize comfort during individual work time.
◆ Headsets can be worn if students are hypersensitive to noise.
◆ Berkey filtered water removes pathogenic bacteria, cysts and parasites and reduces harmful chemicals such as herbicides, pesticides, and VOCs without removing the beneficial minerals your body needs.
◆ LED lights only — no fluorescent or CFL to minimize headaches and maximize attention.
◆ No perfumes, colognes, or strong fragrances to minimize chemical sensitivity that distracts from learning.
◆ Gradeless environment to decrease anxiety and focus on mastery.
◆ IQ Air best-in-class air and chemical filtration. (Filters Ultrafine particles to .003 microns and is up to 100X more effective than standard HEPA.)