An Improbable School
Transforming how Teachers Teach & Students Learn
In a time of testing and one-size-fits-all standards, comes the success story of Wildlands, a school in the Wisconsin woods where just about everything is different. From its project-based, science-focused curriculum driven by the students themselves to school policies that amount to "just be a decent human being," Wildlands breaks the mold while producing students who are successful in school, in the field, in college, in life.
In this compelling narrative, educators Paul Tweed and Liz Seubert share how a vision that began in a school bus turned mobile lab became a public charter school, and how their "Seven Essentials" have led to engaged students, pleased parents, and a trusting Board that empowers this teacher-led learning community.
The perfect book for educators interested in how innovative teaching and learning really CAN work—and everybody who understands that true learning is far more than test results.
Put students first and allow them the opportunity to make decisions regarding their education
We all act like decent human beings.
Treat students as people
Adventure = Learning by doing, being involved, and taking initiative
Increased freedom means increased responsibility.
Help students develop a learning path that they OWN.
School is not just a building. It is a place students have deep connections and want to be.
What people are saying about An Improbable School
"From the Teacher Powered Schools Initiative: An Improbable School clearly illustrates how teachers can create innovative and student-centered schools when they have the autonomy and authority to collectively govern their sites. At Wildlands, students take ownership of their learning in the same way teachers take responsibility for their school’s success. This is an inspiring tale of teachers and students up to the challenge of testing the boundaries of current educational thought and practices with great success.
-Amy Junge, Teacher Powered Schools Initiative
"One of the first and most challenging tasks facing a school innovator is to decide whether to accept the common assumptions about how schools should be designed – or to step outside them. Important and meaningful innovation can occur within the accepted notions of what a school should be.
Tweed and Seubert decided to head off in a different direction, and have created a school that is fundamentally different and more in tune with the aspirations of their students. In “An Improbable School” Tweed and Seubert describe, with the enrichment of their experience as pioneers, how they went about reimagining the school. It is both aspirational and refreshingly practical. The authors describe the actions they took building Wildlands school, and walk through their thinking behind it. Policy makers, parents, teachers, and school leaders will find it an effective illustration of what fundamental innovation in school can look like."
-Tim McDonald, author “Unsustainable” and senior fellow at the Center for Policy Design, Harvard University
"Wildlands School—An Improbable School--is a perfect example of why chartering came to be: Innovation + Autonomy = Results. It is the story of ordinary people taking an extraordinary stand for change. This inspiring book will help others move education into the 21st century: personalized learning and teacher-powered schools are our future!"
-Former Minnesota State Senator Ember Reichgott Junge, author of first charter school law and Zero Chance of Passage: The Pioneering Charter School Story
"An Improbable School gives us all a glimpse of what is possible when teachers and students collaborate to take charge of their learning. With passion and clarity, Liz and Paul tell the story of an exemplary school, challenging old models of instruction, demonstrating innovative practices and why they matter. In a time of turmoil and change, An Improbable School offers inspiration and direction to those who care deeply about the future of education."
-Dr. Heather Terrill Stotts, Executive Director: Innovative Schools Network
“In my 15 year entire teaching career I have never come across a school that has such a positive culture of respect and student ownership. This book is a reminder of the real reasons we all became teachers.”
Jeremy “Pete” Peterson
Northern Lakes Regional Academy Lead Teacher
“An Improbable School” has truly set the Gold Standard for other project based schools in a myriad of ways: the incredible staff, driven students, culture of curiosity, summer institutes, project sharing, and open-door policy to name just a few. Whether you're looking to start a school, as we were, or improve an existing finely tuned program, reading this book is a must!"
7 Rivers Community High School, La Crosse
“An Improbable School” is committed to the idea that culture building and the processes of inquiry and design are not secondary to "academic" content. Tweed and Seubert describe an environment for students that we long to provide (and work in) as teachers, managers and parents. Their environment fosters the creation of self motivated individuals that don't need to be managed, can work in teams and problem solve confidently.
Founder/Advisor - Birchwood Blue Hills Charter School
To learn more about Paul & Liz, or to hire them to help your organization, click the Lead the Path logo below.