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we need help

hey guys..we need your expertise/wisdom/insight…

please. and thank you kindly.

1. what we’re seeking specifically is a  list of or info on uni’s that currently accept alternative means for admission, ie: eportfolios, etc.

2. and then i guess too, is #1 even a good question.

what’s going through our minds just now:

many people are doing cool things in ed.

most people are afraid to.

it appears their fears are mostly related to risk involved in changing course. (which we believe is a greater risk, no?)

so say – we have a means for all (true nclb) to be successful in life.

and we want to convince people to give it a go. seems (at least in our brains right now) that accountability/acceptance/validation measures are the big roadblocks. top questions that usually dampen the energy of the cool things happening in ed:

1) what about the mandated standardized tests (that drives a lot of hours in the day)

2) what about college admissions (that drives a lot of our standardized tests)

i’m currently reading the personalized highschool – where they showcase about 8 schools doing accountability via eportfolio.

i listened to Gary Stager last night talk about working with the maine youth center project – he said this:

these kids tried to keep journals, eportfolios, but these kids were deeply damaged.. so decided – every morning make a to do list.. at end of day take a picture of what you did and that’s your documentation.
he used the term detox – yeah.. detox
the documentation interfered with that they wanted to do – the meaningful stuff
kids were keeping secret portfolios – if it was their idea it was ok – Gary said his mantra is – less us more them

first quarter in the lab we did a round-about way to bypass grades. more like a check in. i wanted them to have space to self-construct.

because of some of their revelations, we are asking each one in the lab to find/clear one person to give them their grade 2nd quarter. (we have to have grades – one reason we’re going for a connected adjacency next year.)

seems accountability is not only what is keeping people from moving forward but it is the one thing that is watering down potential.

could it be so simple as a daily to do list? how do we convince college admissions to buy in to alternative measures? is that a good focus of our energy now?

i know a group at our local uni that i join weekly talks about how they can’t run a class like they want because by the time the kids get there – they need so many rules to get things done. this need for rules/instructions we think is a by-product of the standardized tests and college admissions process.

what do you, dear friends,  think/know/believe?…


About monika hardy

experimenting with the intersection of city and school.


12 thoughts on “we need help

  1. Well first off, I would say congrats on taking on this challenge! Second, Goddard College ( has a transcript review, but it is a personal matter of looking over one part of the story of a student and not the final say. We must write call to teach essay in the education program as call to go to Goddard. I will try to get Sue Fleming to write more about the process, but I think putting together a list of school that are willing to be part of the new passion based learning style is a great use of time!

    Also something you might email Scott Nine about at IDEA…. (

    Are you getting a grade too? I always wondered why students on got to give assessment to teacher, if at all, at the end….. If I was giving your grade….. It would be a I for incomplete….because your teaching is never done!


    Posted by dloitz | October 14, 2010, 12:33 pm
  2. thank you David.. i’ll email Scott as well.

    and no – since we don’t believe in grades and i don’t need a transcript… or grade updates to play sports, etc, – no reason.

    cool that you asked though – made me think through this…
    the kids/adults that are starting to believe that i crave critique – are offering it up more and more. which means… we’re fixing things.. more and more.

    Posted by monika hardy | October 14, 2010, 12:45 pm
  3. I have appreciated the ideas posted on Cooperative Catalyst and the prompting I receive from our Goddard students or alumni to visit the postings. I am going to respond to the “we need help” posting and share our practices at Goddard College and in particular our Education and Licensure Program. However before I do that, the posting reminded me of my first years of teaching math in 1970 in a large urban high school on the Eastside of San Jose. At that time, I created a math lab with a colleague to serve our Title I students, all Hispanic. Drop out rates and math failures were high throughout the district. While we could not get rid of grades, we decided every student who came to class would receive an A or B with students deciding their purposefulness and, therefore, whether they received an A or B.

    After this experience, I went on to join like-minded colleagues to create interdisciplinary school-within-schools in large urban high schools in San Jose and Boston; some that still exist and serve students well with portfolios being a large part of students’ evidence of learning. Teaching as a subversive activity has a long history and I have no doubt will continue long into future.

    Goddard College is a progressive, independent college located in Central Vermont. Goddard grounds its practices in a progressive education philosophy. Learning is connected knowledge, action and reflection; its authority rests with the learner; relationship between faculty advisor and student honors the relational importance of learning.

    There are no courses and no grades. Students create their own study plans around articulated program degree criteria. End-of-the- semester narrative evaluations by faculty advisor and students take the place of grades on student’s transcripts. Students have the option to write course equivalents to reflect their studies to the outside world when they are ready to graduate.

    The admission process does not require exams. Student write a personal essay, send recommendations and transcripts (high school or other college); some students submit a portfolio of their creative work. This is true for Goddard’s undergraduate and graduate programs, although graduate program admissions require applicants to submit a draft study plan.

    Education and Licensure Program offers licensure for public school teachers and school counselors. About 50% of our EDU students seek licensure. While our licensure program is portfolio, not course, based, students who want to obtain a license through VT approval must pass the Praxis I (or have equivalent SAT scores) and Praxis II. You can go through our Goddard program, obtain a degree and complete our concentration in licensure without the exams. However, licensure students cannot have “licensure completer” designation on their Goddard transcript if they have not taken and passed the exams. By including the requirement of VT Praxis exams, we describe ourselves walking in on razor’s edge, that place that holds the tension between our philosophy and the importance our graduates ability to take their place in public schools.

    Goddard’s programs are also low residency. We begin each semester in community for 8 days on our Vermont campus, and then we all returned to our home communities. We believe in place-based learning, learning that honors the context of our lives.

    I also would like to share is that our students and faculty are remarkable, each in their own right. I came to Goddard’s EDU program with 32 years in public schools and with three graduate degrees. What I can say is that the final product (undergraduate’s senior study or graduate student’s thesis) of many of our students is equal to or exceeds the work I did for my doctoral thesis at Harvard’s GSE. We are a learning community that takes our passions and challenges seriously, on an individual and collective level.

    Many other places are pockets of hope, both in universities and schools and outside of these formal settings. I am fortunate to have been associated with a few of these places, and I encourage others to find or create inspiring learning spaces.

    Posted by Susan Fleming | October 14, 2010, 3:38 pm
  4. perfectly Put, Sue! Thank you! Honored to have you join our conversation! I know you rather talk then write, but please join us when every you can!

    your friend and learning partner,

    Posted by dloitz | October 14, 2010, 4:35 pm
  5. Homeschoolers can tell you that many kids get into college without grades. I think there are tons of colleges that will accept a portfolio instead.

    Posted by Sue VanHattum | October 14, 2010, 4:46 pm
  6. thanks guys. .. a ton.

    i guess i’m wanting to start gathering names of unis that accept alternatives.. i think that will be a boost of energy to kids (and parents and teachers, etc) who know there’s a better way for them to learn but they are worried about closed doors in the future.

    like diy u (anya kamenetz) did for me – ch. 4 – i want to flood them with – look see – it’s happening.. you know..

    so if you know of any more specifics – that would be great.

    Posted by monika hardy | October 14, 2010, 6:59 pm
  7. I don’t know for sure but I think the following short list of schools accept alternative transcripts:

    Goddard College
    Hampshire College
    Marlboro College
    Antioch Universities
    Brown University
    Prescott College
    Naropa University
    College of the Atlantic
    Sterling College

    Posted by Adam Burk | October 14, 2010, 8:12 pm
  8. Monika, Melissa Techman (@mtechman) suggested looking at William & Mary’s home-schooler admissions page. Susan Carter Morgan (@scmorgan) recommended Washington College in Maryland; her niece attended after learning in a Sudbury high school.

    Maybe your students could check into their favorite colleges’ home-schooling admissions requirements and work with those colleges to develop their own materials? Maybe they could also contact Sudbury and Free schools to ask how students at those schools apply to college? For example, this FAQ page from the Brooklyn Free School explains how its students create transcripts and choose which tests to take, if any.

    Sounds like all of this might make for a great inquiry project.


    Posted by Chad Sansing | October 14, 2010, 8:57 pm
  9. Not totally connected but must share!

    Posted by dloitz | October 14, 2010, 9:08 pm
  10. i know – i just saw that David .. and of course it’s connected..

    thanks guys… great info.

    i had a huge revelation this week. check it out:
    we’ve been pushing that the new of tech is the access to people and info. connections we’ve not been able to have before.
    amp it up.
    leadership and creativity – that’s got to be success to a lot of people.
    so here’s the big revelation from listening to these two..
    1) Dave Logan- in his tribal leadership ted – says that the key aspect of great leaders is that they connect someone from one tribe to someone from another (not that they manage or invent … they connect people)
    2) Steve Jobs – in an interview i read this week – says that the key aspect to creativity is to connect seemingly unrelated things ..( not that they invent or manage…they connect things )

    not only are we able to make connections we’ve never been able to make before.. connections are huge.

    so – we need to clean the table and make room/time for serendipitously incredible connections – and start validating/supporting that.

    Posted by monika hardy | October 14, 2010, 9:46 pm
  11. Sue!!!! You’re here too! Who ISN”T on this site??? Godd-ard, Godd-ard, goddard,edu Trust the process.

    Posted by Paul Freedman | October 14, 2010, 10:11 pm
  12. After a long day workin’ it in Albany, NY what a joy to come on to this post and set of comments. There’s convergence in this process, creativity in these alignments, joy in these conversations. Monika, I believe.

    Posted by kirsten olson | October 15, 2010, 4:15 pm

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