Notes From My Interview With Amy Broocke

Amy Broocke: Former head of school and current Challenge Island franchisee. Challenge Island is an extracurricular program that develops 21st Century skills in a fun team-oriented environment.



-Once you add the art, it adds the fun. You need to be creative and it the arts teach that.

-Teaches kids to express themselves

Challenge Islands—make cheers, draw, etc.

-The art makes learning interesting, which makes the kids remember it better.

High Stakes Testing:

There are many Tests-driven schools. They say we want our kids to compete globally. This leads to High Stakes Testing, which doesn’t leave time for art.

High stakes testing makes everyone nervous, and teachers start teaching to the tests. This makes the material boring.

These tests are high stakes because they can determine accreditation and funding. A school can stop being a school if the test results are bad.

Testing can be important when finding what a kid’s strengths are. But bad when they become high stakes.

Merit Based Pay:

-In public school there are a lot of kids, so lots of different types of learners and skills. Some kids may have special needs or lower IQ’s. When pay is based off of test scores, teachers wouldn’t want to have special needs kids in their class—would lower test scores. This can lead to teachers changing test scores and cheating scandals.

Merit based pay can be good if it’s truly based on merit, but it’s usually not.

In Virginia they have SOL instead of Common Core, but pretty much the same thing. This makes it so teachers don’t make curriculums creative and fun and they begin teaching the tests instead of actually fun material.

Common core can be good because no matter where you go the curriculum will be the same. But it eliminates teachers’ flexibility.

Challenge Island replaces dropped arts programs (which is happening a lot).

It teaches kids how to be creative, how to work together. Teaches them things they need to be successful. Also getting along with different types of people is important.

Teaches them how to learn to use new technologies. Whatever it is, they have to figure it out, how to jump in and solve it.

Teaches confidence. The confidence to fail sometimes and to learn that it’s okay to fail. Also the confidence to fix it, which is an important skill.

Inspires kids to be creative, be part of a team and work as an individual.

21st Century skills:

Perseverance, adapting, collaboration/communication



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