Not Your Average Education

Posted by Adam Bernick - 30 November, 2017

7th Grade STEM Day - 5045526.jpgHow does your child measure up? How does your school measure up?

Todd Rose, author of The End of Average, explains that no one is average. Not you. Not your kids. Not your employees. It’s a mathematical fact. We know people learn and develop in distinctive ways, yet our nation’s schools and businesses are designed around the mythical “average person.”

Head of School Jay Rainey has brought the conversation to the Randolph Community. First, in a discussion with faculty and staff, Mr. Rainey pressed the faculty to acknowledge their own “jaggedness.” Rose describes an individual’s varied strengths and weaknesses as a person’s jaggedness, because no individual is average.

Like all schools, Randolph works with children who have a variety of strengths and weaknesses, and of course, no two students are alike. In a world designed to cater to the mythical “average person,” teaching is increasingly difficult. For years, educators have debated the pitfalls and the merits of teaching to the top, the bottom, or the middle (the “average”).

Today, we know that children require both greater socialization to meet the demands of the workplace and greater individualization to reach their own potential. This balancing act is why Randolph teachers are using methods like “flipped classrooms,” small group projects, and place significant attention on the value of individual research as well as intentional and programmatic efforts in each division to foster empathy and promote healthy social development.

7th Grade STEM Day - 5068509.jpgTo further the conversation on why Randolph continues to offer a not-so-average education to not-so-average children, Mr. Rainey began having book talks with parents. This gives parents the chance to learn more about how independent schools are evolving to better meet the needs of children while providing a more meaningful experience throughout a child’s most important learning years.

A school's ability to buck average will be shaped or limited by its market. Parent expectations will define the importance of AP credits or whether or not they will tolerate 30 students to one teacher. While some educational infrastructures are designed for efficiency, Mr. Rainey is interested in engaging with parents on how Randolph can continue to lead the way in offering both a healthy social experience and an individualized academic program that brings out the best in each student.

In his most recent book talk session, one parent remarked that Randolph’s educational approach is not only appealing to parents and students, but that the teachers at Randolph are happier and seem to create a better learning environment for her son than he had experienced at a previous school. Decision-making at Randolph has always been child-centered, and the programming is designed with children in mind.

Randolph doesn't do average. We don’t offer an average education, nor do we believe that we are teaching average students.

You can speak with Jay Rainey about The End of Average at Randolph's K-12 Open House for returning and prospective families, January 18. Register now to be entered in a drawing to receive a copy of the book.


Topics: Head of School, average student, Todd Rose

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