Senior Goodyear Changes Education Standards | New

The director of the Valor Preparatory Academy, Dan Mahlandt, believes that the “educational factory model” has become obsolete.

With over 30 years of experience as an educator, Mahlandt hopes to see a change in the education system.

For example, Mahlandt said science shows that teens do much better with late starts, yet early starts in most schools across the country are the norm. Mahlandt pledged to change that as head of school and has since implemented late starts at Goodyear School, a tuition-free institution for students in Grades 6-11.

“This traditional form is what drives education today,” Mahlandt said.

“The problem is somewhere along the way, the need to be able to move with bells telling us to go from one place to another and everyone working in the factories has ceased to be the element. more important to keep us from being the world leader. And what makes us a leader are things like communication, collaboration, critical thinking, and creative problem solving. It’s kind of what pushes us towards the new reality that we have.

The late checkout is just one example of the many changes Mahlandt has implemented at Valor. He thinks all schools should follow suit. The current model worked well for the labor-intensive industrial revolution of the 19th century, but it limits the potential level of students in the 21st century high-tech.

“Value is the new form of education,” Mahlandt said. “If we empower students and parents to make decisions for themselves about the education they want, and we don’t make time as constant, but rather a variable, then we can change the education and ensuring that what children need is what they need. guides us and not what the system needs.

Having taught in what he calls the “traditional model,” Mahlandt said he has seen how these changes can benefit students, especially those who participate in time-consuming extracurricular activities.

“There is a wide range of children we serve and who are successful with us,” said Mahlandt. “Those who are not successful yet are the ones who just want to be told what to do because they are trained in this factory model from the age of 5 until the age at which they come to us. And we try not to be the people saying do this this second and do that this minute, we try to hold them accountable. It’s time to make some decisions for yourself.

Mahlandt’s school opened about two years ago and infuses a nationally standardized virtual curriculum offered in a hybrid approach.

“We have students who have experienced significant anxiety issues and with the pandemic this is another brand of students that we have held out of school for a year,” he said. “We have a decent number of those students who have said I need something small. I need something personal. I need it to be based on what I need. And these people have been very successful with us as well. “

Hybrid learning techniques, like those used at Valor, allow strong online courses to provide the knowledge base while allowing teachers time to guide students through the skills of application, collaboration, communication. and critical thinking, said Mahlandt.

Looking at other districts in Arizona, Mahlandt praises their students’ success, but said he believes they could benefit from changes and deviating from traditional education standards.

“It doesn’t have to be binary opposition,” Mahlandt said. “It’s not black and white where you are either a hybrid school or a traditional neighborhood. When I see traditional neighborhoods they do amazing things, but being able to make that change would be great. I would like more people to hug her because I really enjoyed it and I love seeing the kids have that moment where they realize I’m not being told what to do I’m responsible I can do this, that’s me and I’m leading the way.

If schools continue to use the “factory model,” Mahlandt said he worries students will fall behind and be ill-prepared for life.

“We need to develop adaptable, responsive, resilient and persistent learners at this point, and this is the education we are focused on,” said Mahlandt. “But if we continue to focus on studying this, regurgitate it to this level, it won’t do the job and we will fall behind as a country.”

Mahlandt admitted that this new way of educating is not widely used across the country, as many school districts continue to use the traditional model. However, in the hopes that the new model will gain popularity and produce success, Mahlandt would like to see more schools implementing it.

“I believe we can present this model and show what it can do for our parents and our children,” he said. “The goal for me is to share the process with other schools and show that you need a strong online curriculum with resources for teachers. You have to do this. I want to offer this model to people so they can do it and come and visit me if they want to and come see how I can do it for them. I just want education to be more about function than form.


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Norma A. Roth