The world of education is changing, and The Island School is leading the charge. The classroom structure that was designed to educate masses of young people with skills to be productive citizens during the industrial revolution is no longer pertinent to our society; as highlighted by Sir Ken Robinson in his excellent TED talk, and Tony Wagner in the Most Likely to Succeed film. The industrial system of education is broken.

Everyone learns differently; everyone has something different to offer, and the current standard for educational models is preventing students from reaching their potential. So yes, things are finally beginning to change. Here at the Island School, students are active participants in the learning process. Their academic work has real world application and is relevant to the place in which they live. It’s progressive, and it is most definitely different from what many students experience at home. While it can be difficult for some to reintegrate into their school systems at home, they do so with open minds and new ideas about how to approach problems and how to initiate change. And their schools back home have been listening.

This week, three Island School educators attended the annual conference of the National Association of Independent Schools in Baltimore, Maryland, where a meeting of the Mastery Transcript Consortium (MTC) took place.  The idea is to revolutionize the way high school students are credited and assessed, with the intention of making these educational “tools” more relevant and useful for all involved. The Mastery Transcript will allow students’ transcripts to be based on each individual’s “mastery” (as defined by their sending school) of “specific skills, knowledge blocks, or habits of mind.” The transcripts will be electronic, built on a platform that provides greater depth and clarity of information on the students’ backgrounds. 

“This is incredibly exciting news…. This new development is a game changer.”
— Tony Wagner, Expert in Residence at Harvard University and Innovation Lab Senior Research Fellow at the Learning Policy Institute

The small group of innovators who have joined MTC Founder and Hawken School headmaster Scott Looney in his vision for change, who have until now lived in the world of standardized testing and content memorizing, have finally taken initiative and decided to declare loudly their plan to change education. You can learn more here: www.mastery.org.

As a founding institution and board member of the MTC, The Island School acts as a leader and a model for how educational institutions should grow and teach young people. The Island School’s Director, Ashley Waldorf, Director of Admissions, Taylor Hoffman, and Literature and Writing Teacher Rikka Wommack were all present for the launch and very first meeting of the consortium member schools. The goals for this meeting included addressing support strategies that address the needs of the member schools in their introduction of the Mastery Transcript to their curriculum, as well as reaching out to institutions that have yet to learn about the MTC’s mission. 

We would love your help in broadcasting this innovation and in helping get behind Island School alumni leading the charge to make great change happen at their schools.

Rikka Wommack, Ashley Waldorf, Scott Looney, and Taylor Hoffman in Baltimore

Rikka Wommack, Ashley Waldorf, Scott Looney, and Taylor Hoffman in Baltimore