The partnership between Open Alternative School (OAS) and Antioch University, Santa Barbara creates a professional development site for the purpose of strengthening a common vision of progressive education in the Santa Barbara community and to forward the educational goals of both institutions. The proposal was approved by the Santa Barbara School Board on Nov. 13. The partnership support a professional development laboratory and best practice learning community among the OAS faculty and the Education and Psychology programs at Antioch University.
The partnership will develop the professional knowledge and skills of teachers, teacher candidates, psychologists, special education teachers, and early childhood educators in a setting consistent with the desired outcomes and pedagogy of Antioch University and OAS: promoting the values of social justice, ecological literacy, access to core curriculum and advocacy. Both OAS and Antioch promote methods that are learner centered, experiential and whole-person focused, consistent with contemporary learning theory.
Experiential learning, long established as a basic tenet of progressive methods is central to both Antioch and OAS. Ecological literacy is also well established as central to both schools’ pedagogical and curricular orientation. OAS uses a developmental, multi- age approach to teaching, learning, and assessment consistent with Antioch’s pedagogical methods.
Antioch’s Teacher Education program will set up a Professional Development Learning Laboratory at the OAS school site. The partnership laboratory will model best practices in education and developmental psychology to support all dimensions of human learning. Attention to every child’s social, emotional and academic growth and development by both members of the partnership will ensure healthy children, healthy families and the health of the community.
The laboratory provides a dedicated space for faculty of both campuses to meet together with Antioch BA students, Teacher Education Candidates, Clinical Psychology Students, PsyD Practicum Students and Doctoral Students to inquire into best constructivist and developmental practices. The laboratory will also provide space for OAS students’ learning centers, access to advanced technology and individualized or small group instruction in the content areas. The dedicated space will be used for Antioch courses and workshops, some of which will include OAS families and faculty. For instance; we will plan family “math nights” to inform, instruct and engage families in constructivist math activities.