The Stone Independent School
Education is not preparation for life -- education is life itself.
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Notes From Stone

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Going "Back to School" (12 Days in at Stone 2.0).

We’re twelve days into our second school year here at Stone and this week I had the pleasure of going “back to school” -- of sitting in on nearly every class Stone is running this first marking period.  

Over just two days of classes I watched our sophomores reconfigure the Periodic Chart in order to understand classification and I watched our seniors launch dozens of rockets in our Exhibition Hall to calculate launch height via triangulation.  I sat in on discussions of Ancient Bolivian cranial modification, the nature of God, and the Serbian Black Hand; I watched a group of students take apart the engine on a 2005 Honda Civic, one junior use Code Academy to design “a very Stone” 404 page, and another junior read quietly from the Qu’ran at Musser Park.  I watched our Calculus students use marginal analysis to reconfigure Stone’s recycling program, our American Literature students grapple with Romanticism and Walt Whitman, our Visual Arts students explore Modernism at the Demuth Museum, our Spanish students study archeological methodology, our Chinese students plan the Mid-Autumn Festival, and our American Sign Language students consider translating sections of the musical Spring Awakening.   

Between classes I was asked by two students if they could write a Music For Everyone grant because they want to build a recording studio in our soundproof room; another asked if he could give a presentation to the school on infectious disease because, well, he’s interested in infectious disease.  Between classes Stone students began work on our student-operated coffee-shop, our e-Sports team registered for the national High School e-Sports League, our Student Government re-wrote its own Constitution, and -- just for fun -- a group of Stone musicians began work on a new arrangement of Radiohead’s "Jigsaw Falling Into Place".

It was a pretty great two days.  

I say it all the time, but at Stone the work matters.  Our students are asked complex questions, they engage their community, they collaborate, they practice high order thinking, they use a whole lot of post-it notes, and every now and then they get challenged to build metaphoric canoes.  It’s not always easy for me to find time to “go back to school”, but as soon as I do I’m reminded of the real power of true 21st century education -- at any given moment Stone can be chaotic and loud, or meditative and serious; Stone is almost always joyful and funny, it’s almost a powerful and thrilling place.  

At every given moment our students are doing meaningful work, they are doing authentic work, they are doing work that matters.    

We’re just 12 days into “Stone 2.0” and already we’ve accomplished so much.  I can’t wait to see what we accomplish in a year.

Mike Simpson

Mike Simpson