Project-Based Learning Comes to Granville

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Written by: Ani Metzger

After attending the Granville High School’s senior awards ceremony, one quickly realizes that Granville Schools equip their students exceptionally well for success after graduation.  One example: in an ongoing effort to enrich the academic experience and prepare students with the soft skills necessary to succeed in a variety of careers, Granville Schools are integrating Project Based Learning (PBL) into their curriculum.

Project Based Learning engages students in Take-Action Projects that allow them the opportunity to tangibly apply conceptual skills developed within the classroom. Through PBL, students develop critical soft skills such as working well with others, handling interpersonal conflicts, making thoughtful decisions, and solving complex problems. Granville Schools Superintendent Jeff Brown notes that a key component of PBL is the treatment of failure as part of the learning process. Unlike traditional classroom settings, students are given the opportunity to make mistakes, learn from these mistakes, and improve their skills without fear of an undesirable grade. 

"I've felt more passionate as an educator than I have in the last ten years" 

According to Brown, Granville Schools plan to fully implement PBL in grades K-12 by 2020, requiring that each student complete a PBL Take-Action Project every school year.  Over the last four school years, Granville students and teachers have worked together on a number of PBL trial runs, some of which resulted in the the development of a community garden and biological reserve on school grounds that can be used for hands-on PBL projects in the sciences.  A grant from the Granville Community Foundation funded the purchase of PBL books as well as brought in PBL experts to educate Granville teachers on the most effective ways to incorporate PBL into their classrooms. 

I had the opportunity to sit down with Superintendent Brown to discuss the future of Project Based Learning in the Granville Schools. One of his own daughters, Emilee Brown ’16, participated in the biological reserve Take-Action Project and loved the experience.  Working through these projects as both a parent and educator has been transformative for Brown: “I’ve felt more passionate as an educator than I have in the last ten years.” Project Based Learning is at the forefront of national educational trends, and the Granville Community Foundation is so excited to support Granville Schools leadership in bringing PBL to our community.