The Fuller Education Model is not a school or a program; instead, it is a framework that allows students, teachers, administrators, families, and communities to create an educational atmosphere that prioritizes learning, wellness, and contribution for everyone involved.
What is the mission of a Fuller Education?
The mission of a Fuller Education is to challenge, support, and empower students to “make the world work for 100% of humanity through spontaneous collaboration without ecological offense or the detriment of anyone.” In other words, we want our students to leave our school prepared to meet the world that awaits them in a way that results in responsible, empathetic, innovative, and involved citizenship and life-long learning. While we cannot teach our students everything they will need to know for the rest of their lives, we can teach them how to understand, own, and love learning; students who can do that will be prepared to face any uncertainties that come their way.
What is the vision of the Fuller Education Model?
The vision of the Fuller Education Model is not to start new schools. While we understand the desire to break from the traditional school system, we believe that any substantive changes in education need to happen where the overwhelming majority of our students are: our public high schools. We believe this change is possible if done with wisdom, patience, and respect for all stakeholders.
Our goal is to help existing schools utilize the framework to transform from an industrial-era, traditional model to a forward-looking, flexible, responsive model. The framework provides guidance and structure that creates a culture of learning, inquiry, innovation, and stewardship. It honors student individuality and needs while collectively pursuing excellence and mastery. It focuses on what students can achieve instead of on minimum standards. It honors the past, responds to the present, and welcomes the future.
What makes the Fuller Education Model viable?
There are three essential parts to the model that allow it to be a viable option for large-scale change:
- The model focuses on using what schools currently have. The model does not require a huge infusion of money, a drastic overhaul of the physical building or grounds, or the most up-to-date technology. The changes that are required come through a willingness to rethink, reframe, and reassess. Seeing current resources in the new ways provided by the framework opens up a world of possibilities.
- The model is based on proven pedagogy; current understanding of cognition and learning; recognized best practices for physical, mental, social, and emotional wellness; “small school” and “community school” principles; depth and breadth of learning; and an ability to change and adapt to future demands currently unforeseen.
- The model, while certain elements that would be similar between schools, allows schools to reflect the character, interests, needs, and realities of their students and communities.
What are the foundational principles of the Fuller Education Model?
- The purpose of education is contribution. We work to help each student discover their talents, strengthen their weaknesses, deepen understanding, gather and retain knowledge, and prepare for the future, but do so with the clear message that students are expected to contribute to the world around them in their own unique way. The message that the purpose of school is to ultimately “get a job” means we are telling our students that money will bring them happiness. This is a dangerous message, and one that will leave our kids unfilled.
- True learning is not linear and predictable, it is messy and complex. However, we know how to optimize educational experiences to allow for the messiness and complexity. In addition, we feel strongly that the “firehose” method of education is not only ineffective, it is detrimental. Schools can meet individual educational needs while ensuring the same opportunities and expectations.
- If it matters, we will prioritize it. If we feel that students need certain experiences, we work with the community to make it happen. If teachers need to collaborate, we make time for it. If students need to be challenged, we will push. If students need more support, we will provide. If we want our kids to know how to be leaders, how to collaborate, how to create, how to empathize, how to be well, we will make sure those things are taught.
- Learning happens best when it is purposeful and meaningful. As Dylan Williams points out, “Getting students engaged so that they can be taught something seems much less effective than getting them engaged by teaching them something that engages them.”
Respect is paramount. Students are expected to respect teachers and administrators, each other, and themselves. Teachers are expected to respect students, administrators, each other, and parents. Parents are expected to respect students, teachers, each other, and administrators.