Calling all nerds: How can we make K-12 education more student-focused, personalized and community-rooted?

We're sending out the nerd Bat-Signal: Tackle a local problem, get your ideas some airtime and win prizes to help you make it happen.
Crosscut archive image.
We're sending out the nerd Bat-Signal: Tackle a local problem, get your ideas some airtime and win prizes to help you make it happen.

Have an idea to make the Seattle area even more awesome? Want to get it in front of the movers and shakers who can actually help you make it happen?

Welcome to Crosscut's Community Idea Lab, a new way of doing journalism that aims to inspire and showcase your great ideas. And this time around we're partnering with MOHAI to help you get your ideas off the ground.

The Premise: Washington's K-12 schools could use some support. Students say they'd like more personalized attention, learning with more real world applications, and a system that favors everyone, regardless of their background. Teachers wouldn't say no to smaller class sizes, more professional development, a competitive salary. And we hear schools could use some help with funding from the state. (Nudge, nudge, Legislature.)

This winter, we've talked with teachers, students and parents; we've assembled a brain trust of education policy advisors; and we asked them all questions about where the most room for improvement is in their schools, in their classrooms, in their childrens' schools.

Across all of those conversations, one question kept surfacing: How can we make K-12 education more student-focused, personalized and community-rooted?

So fire up your creative engines, because this is where you come in.

Have an idea for leveraging a neighborhood or community to meet teachers' needs? Think you've got a way to bring more real world learning into the classroom? Want to create the equivalent of a volunteer firefighter brigade for in-classroom tutoring help? We're looking for ways to answer this question locally.

These could be school district policies, after-school programs, or apps that connect classrooms with community resources ... the sky's the limit.

And you don't need to "be somebody" to submit an idea. We'll be looking for a diversity of ideas, both from experts on the subject and folks who can think outside of the box; who can look at a problem without seeing the "shoulds" that hold everyday professionals back.

There's only one rule. They must answer the question: How can we make K-12 education more student-focused, personalized and community-rooted?

Using the form below, submit your idea to Crosscut.com by midnight, January 30th, for a chance to present it at our next Community Idea Lab, February 24th at MOHAI.

We'll pick the five best to be presented in five-minute talks at the event and a panel of judges will give feedback on your ideas. Then it's up to the audience to vote on the winner.

What do you get if you win? Glad you asked. We're putting together a prize package to help you and your idea thrive. Here's what we've got so far. We'll be adding more perks as the month wears on.

  • Your idea broadcast on Crosscut.com.
  • A team of civic leaders, assembled by MOHAI, to help you implement your idea over the months following the Idea Lab. (Runners-up will also have a chance to work with a MOHAI-assembled team.)
  • Meetings with local education leaders and policymakers.
  • One six month part time membership at Impact Hub Seattle.
  • Sudden fame and eternal happiness.*

And, by the way, if the thought of voicing your master plan in public makes you nauseous, don’t worry; We will provide coaching and support for all of our Idea Lab speakers.

So, what are you waiting for? Chime in!

*Not guaranteed.

  

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