Studio School is a rigorous learning environment driven by the method of Studio Based Learning (SBL). Studio School students learn by designing. In Studio School, learners propose solutions to ambiguous questions, critique those propositions through judgment from self and others, and iterate their proposals in ever more effective designs.

Brocato & Monson, 2007

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Studio School is an educational reform effort with both a rich heritage and an innovative approach. It follows in a long line of successful reform efforts first marked by the reform of the Central Park East (CPE) Schools in Harlem, New York which was begun in 1974 by Deborah Meier and her local school community. Studio School joins Studio Based Learning (SBL) theory with the well established theory base of these early CPE reform efforts. Studio Based Learning means that Studio School will have a shared learning environment in which ambiguous questions are addressed iteratively through multi-modal analysis, proposition, and critique. More than just another educational reform fad, Studio School seeks to lengthen the life of typical reform efforts by making the act of reforming part of a continual SBL design-redesign process. As proposed, Studio School will operate from the following strong correlates of Meier's CPE reform principles deeply embedded with Studio Based Learning ideals:

1. Our philosophical stance and foundational method of operation is that we propose, critique, and iterate again all aspects of our learning to achieve excellence.

2. Studio School will be a shared learning environment where cooperation and independence balance the rigorous academic learning with strong, healthy relationships.

3. In its cooperative, culturally responsive community, Studio School students and families will read, write, imagine, and design primarily by proposing, critiquing, and re-iterating their learning.

4. Studio School will offer highly integrated curriculum and fewer subjects will be mastered more thoroughly.

5. Decisions about Studio School will be made by a diverse group of the community members who own school.

6. Studio School family members are on-site professionals, experts, and participants.

7. Academic periods (to include a regular advising/counseling period) will regularly last for at least two hours in Studio School.

8. Design projects about professional, service learning, and research experiences will drive the engaged, real world curriculum at Studio School.

9. Regular public exhibitions of students' performance called juries and critiques will show and tell what Studio School students know and are able to do. Subjective, standardized, local, state, and national tests will be used only as single data points of success indicators and will never be a sole substitute for real performance.

These precepts have been crafted since 2005 during countless meetings of a broad spectrum of community members from many of the public school districts surrounding Mississippi State University. Our Studio Schools Friends group has grown rapidly to include family members and students; local school teachers and principals; University faculty and administrators; school district Superintendents; and local, state, and national leaders. All have contributed to the Studio School concept.

July 28, 2009

This synopsis was compiled by Kay Brocato with input from many members of the Studio School commuity ©2003-2010