Pinkerton Elementary is the oldest and smallest school in Coppell Independent School District, it’s also an International Baccalaureate School which means they follow a certain set of learning standards adopted by a number of schools around the world.
“They know how they learn best, they know if they need to sit in a quiet place and learn, if they need to be with a group so they learn more about themselves as learners,” said Principal Kristi Mikkelsen.
The teachers experiment with different techniques. One is called SOLE, and stands for Self Organized Learning Environment.
Basically the teacher asks a question and then the students are off on their own. They spend time researching, talking, and figuring out the best way to give her an answer.
How the students get there is entirely up to them.
“We guide it, so we don't have a bunch of restrictions of this is the exactly thing you have to do. You draw what you want so we can have more freedom in it,” said student Joshua Griffin.
When we visited they were answering how non-renewable resources affect our world.
Carter In The Classroom
Focusing on unique things school districts are doing to help children succeed.
Some students brought their own knowledge on the matter, others dug for more details, and some students worked on the best way to present their material.
“We learn stuff from other groups because they have different information, about the question, and their poster is different with facts we may not know about,” said student Sahana Selvakumar.
The learning style it working. Pinkerton ranks as one of the highest in the state.
Their learning methods transfer from classroom to classroom. Teachers work together to coordinate learning.
One class was studying natural disasters. They studied them in science, social studies even Spanish, learning to pronounce the weather terms in a different language.
“We get to pick form all the content in the unit so the reading is here, the math is here, the science is here, we just don’t call it the science,” said teacher Narda Holguin.
You could call it computer science too, as the students used virtual reality and augmented reality to learn more about storms.
It’s get them engaged and slowly makes them little experts on one topic across many different subjects.
Pinkerton’s teaching staff say the freedom and flexibility to teach together has been huge for them to share ideas, and to help students find the subject and teacher they like, but maybe tackle a topic they’re not as fond of.
The school has a big sense of community, their “Dad’s Club” had volunteer days where fathers come in to volunteer and spend the day with the kids.
“It’s given me a greater insight, into what the kids do every day,” said parent David Caviness, who enjoyed the connection so much he wound up running for school board with Coppell ISD.
Students say their teachers are smart, and push them to think critically, and as one student put it, “No one here, is mean, we’re all a family.”