This article is sponsored by Leadership Prep School.
Perhaps you’ve driven by it on your way home north on Teel Parkway – across from Elevate Life Church sits Leadership Prep School. You might have wondered what sets it apart – what exactly is a charter school anyway?
Perhaps you’ve heard LPS administrators or teachers or students talk proudly about how LPS is a computer-immersion school or rave about project-based learning.
But what do those terms mean? Why should Frisco residents be ecstatic that a school at the cutting edge of education sits right in the center of our suburb? Here’s a quick review.
What is a Charter School?
A charter school is different than a private school – but it’s not quite a typical public school either. Charter schools are publicly funded, privately managed, and semi-autonomous.
There are strict guidelines for opening a charter and the State or a local school district must authorize it before they open their doors. Pulling the resources together to apply for a charter is an extremely rigorous process.
As compared traditional schools, charter schools have more freedom over their budgets, staffing, curricula, and other operations, but they must adhere to the same accountability measures. They must deliver academic results and there must be enough community demand for them to remain open.
Some focus on college prep, some follow a STEM curriculum, and others integrate the arts into each subject.
One of the unique aspects of the Leadership Prep School (LPS) curriculum is its orientation around the program “The Leader in Me,” an educational approach based on Franklin Covey’s leadership training and Stephen Covey’s book The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People in order to create a culture of student empowerment.
What is project-based learning?
Project-based learning is a unique approach to curriculum upon which LPS bases much of its curriculum. It’s an approach to learning that leverages students abilities’ to explore, think critically, and lead themselves to answers through questioning and discovery.
Students proceed through the learning process using unique projects based on real-world problems that ideally take place over several weeks or months. This project-based learning provides a core pillar for all curriculum. Stacy Alton, Superintendent of Leadership Prep School, says,
While traditional education has focused on content and the acquisition of knowledge, today’s students will be better equipped for tomorrow’s challenges by learning how to apply that knowledge and challenge boundaries once considered impossible to move beyond.
LPS embraces project-based learning, which is a dynamic way of learning for students to develop a deeper understanding of content by investigating a real-life question, problem, or challenge. Skills acquired through project-based learning combined with strong computer science skills prepare students for jobs that do not yet exist but will be vital in tomorrow’s workforce.
The projects created by LPS students is one of the features of the school of which teachers and administrators are most proud, and each spring students showcase their best projects. A few weeks ago, students showcased their efforts in math, science, English, humanities, Spanish, band, athletics, and leadership.
The evening also included TED-talk style presentations by students with intimidating titles such as “Rogue Robots: End of the World,” “Microtransactions: Big Money,” “Apple Watch v. Samsung Watch,” “Basketball Technology,” “Programming Binary Converter,” and “Technology in Puerto Rico.”
The showcase itself is a part of the learning, as students practice effective communication skills while they present and discuss their projects with parents and other members of the community in attendance. Audra Floyd, LPS Principal, shared,
The student showcase provides a platform for our students to sharpen their communication and presentation skills – something employers tell us often they are looking for when they interview potential candidates. Our project-based learning model prepares students for college and job interviews as well as gives them the presentation skills they will need to be successful in their future jobs.
But what is a computer-immersion school?
A computer science immersion school, as defined by the organization Code to the Future, is a school that is working to implement computer science education across the curriculum in every grade. LPS is one of Code to the Future’s Computer Science Immersion Schools and, as such, uses the computer in each grade for every single subject.
Sheacy Thompson, LPS Director of Public Relations, proudly notes,
The core subjects are all integrated with computer science. Coding and programming are taught here as early as kindergarten. Strong computer science skills coupled with key soft skills will prepare students in a workforce that is rapidly evolving.
Learn. Grow. Lead.
LPS leadership believes that adaptability, creativity, critical thinking and leadership skills along with the ability to communicate effectively and work well with others give employees the ability to create in this new Information Age and manage the technology advancements in an ever-changing workplace.
Their curriculum across the board is designed to prepare students effectively to meet the demands of workplaces tomorrow.
Leadership Prep School takes seriously its responsibility to prepare students well and is proud to serve the community in and around Frisco. Follow their Facebook page and attend their next public event to see in person the amazing work being done by the students and teachers of this unique school right in our neighborhood!