May 25, 2012
Dear Parents and Guardians,
I invite you to join the James Otis Kaler Community School of Inquiry and Exploration. After one year of operation as a Project Based Learning School, we are offering open enrollment at Kaler School for all South Portland students.
The mission of the school is: James O. Kaler Community School of Inquiry and Exploration will provide a thematic interdisciplinary approach to educating the whole child through rigorous, relevant, project based learning and through strong relationships with parents and community that will prepare each student for the challenges and opportunities of the 21st century. Please explore the school website https://sites.google.com/a/spsdme.org/kaler/ for more information.
Project Based Learning (PBL) is a method of teaching where students are guided through the curriculum by a meaningful question to explore, an engaging real-world problem to solve, or a challenge to design or create. Before they can accomplish this, students need to inquire into the topic by asking questions and developing their own answers. To demonstrate what they learn, students create high-quality products and present their work to other people. Students often do project work collaboratively in small teams, guided by the teacher. There is also always an individual product that is created.
PBL is driven by significant content and 21st Century Skills. It requires in-depth inquiry and gives students voice and choice. Learning is engaging and relevant for students in PBL. It is often focused on creating physical artifacts, but the artifacts are not as important as the intellectually challenging tasks that led to the product. PBL is a method of teaching that demands higher order thinking skills and directly teaches 21st Century Skills (critical thinking, collaboration, and communication). Students at Kaler have the same curriculum and content as their sister schools; however, teachers have been trained in this additional methodology that has proven to be effective in improving learning for all students. Students continue to have their math block and are directly taught reading and writing skills. This methodology allows for teachers to plan units that integrate a variety of subjects to make learning more meaningful and challenging.
Attached please find an open enrollment request form. If you are interested in having your student attend Kaler School for the 2012-2013 school year, please return the form to Central Office at 130 Wescott Road.
Suzanne T. Godin, Superintendent