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Authentic Learning

Posted on April 22nd, 2016

Time magazine recently ran an article titled “The New College Application”, discussing the latest trends and innovations in a very difficult and trying process. Over the years, the college application process has become more and more competitive, producing some absurd situations and forcing students into a resume building approach that leaves them drained and exhausted. Colleges are beginning to realize the traditional method of screening applicants may be counter-productive and have begun to search for new ideas.

According to the article, in the fall of 2015, many of the leading private and public colleges, including all the Ivy League Schools, created an organization called the Coalition for Access, Affordability, and Success. These leading schools had two main goals when they created this organization: increase access to a college education by underrepresented groups and to make the application process “more relevant and less frenzied.” Rather than identifying the ideal candidate with a carefully prepared resume of achievement, colleges are beginning to realize the value of identifying authentic students who genuinely care about their learning.

The goals of the Coalition for Access, Affordability, and Success got me thinking about Grace-St. Luke’s and the 42 students that will graduate from our remarkable school in less than 30 days. These young people embody the authentic learners these colleges are searching for so diligently. Think about all the experiences a GSL graduate has undergone during their time here. They have given a speech to over 400 people, identified, secured, and served on an internship of their own choosing, and traveled to New Orleans and Chicago to experience the best those cities have to offer. Our students have had the chance to perform onstage from a very early age and have learned the basics of research beginning in Lower School. They have engaged in meaningful service learning activities that challenge them to think deeply about some of the major issues in our society. They have attended countless hours of chapel, imparting to them these main ideas: Each of them knows they are loved by God, they have a way to think about right and wrong, and our students understand that they have a role to play in a larger community.

By the way, did I mention that they are part of an intellectual community that challenges them from an early age to think, write, compute, and reason critically?

It seems to me that perhaps these college presidents are coming to see what we have valued at Grace-St. Luke’s all along: the whole child. Our program is carefully constructed in such a way that each child is known and cared for, challenged and loved in a way unlike any other. Our children move into high school with a clear sense of who they are as young people and as learners and are well equipped not only meet the challenges presented to them but to take advantage of the opportunities they find. The proof is in the results- our graduates are successful, in the classroom, on the playing field, on stage, and in the life of the school. The work done at GSL is life changing, transformative, and authentic.

Sincerely, 

Thor Kvande
Head of School

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