Earlier I discussed the New Country School that is an experimental high school in Henderson, Minneapolis.
As you know, I discussed the different structure of the school. While the students are working freely on computers, they are completing projects. Each project must meet the state standards and requirements. If it does not, the students must complete another project to get the standards met. The students must take the same state standardized tests that all other students in the state are required to take.
The only subject that is not taught in conjunction with all other subjects is math. Math is taught as a separate, individual subject. However, the students still work independently. They work on their lessons at their own pace. This is one concern of the school. Many students may be working on different levels of math. The school does not have enough qualified math teachers (advisors) to meet the needs of the different levels.
The school also admits that it can get rather noisy at times and some students may not work well in the type of learning environment that the New Country School has developed.
The students at the school like it. The school is perfect for the students who are self-starters and loners. The students that are teased and picked on in the traditional high school setting do not have to deal with the pressure of peers at this school.
Although the students claim that they enjoy the responsibility and freedom of their work, many students do not attend the school for their senior year. The seniors are required to complete a project that consumes about 300 hours of work. Therefore, many students prefer to graduate from a traditional school that does not require as much time and energy.
So far, the school has turned out students who score well on state tests and on the ACT. However, the traditional schools feel that it is not fair for them to be compared to a school with a population of only 124.