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Editorial: Farmington schools aren’t afraid to innovate

No one is likely to accuse the Farmington School District of being afraid to try new things.

Last year, the district implemented a plan to put an iPad in the hands of every student. There was a learning curve there, but teachers figured out interesting ways to use the tablet computers to improve the way they do things in the classroom. They will likely find more as they continue to find new ways to use them.

Farmington has had enough success that it planned a digital learning day this week to invite representatives from other districts interested in learning what they’ve done. The day was necessary, district officials say, because they were getting so many requests for school visits it was becoming a distraction.

That’s a sign you’re doing something right. So is the fact more students from outside the district are enrolling here this year.

Now, the district is considering a new school that would become a kind of distilled version of the ideals included in its strategic plan. It would give teachers even more freedom to look at the way they teach students and find ways to do things better.

There is still a lot of planning to do before that school becomes a reality, but it’s an intriguing idea. It could be a fundamental change in the way schools teach students, down to the possibility of doing away with grade progression as most schools approach it. Students would advance as they are ready, not just because a new year was starting.

None of this change is easy. School has been taught more or less the same way for 100 years or more. But the world is changing, and it’s good to see Farmington schools are making moves to change along with it.

Nathan Hansen

Nathan Hansen has been a reporter and editor with the Farmington Independent and the Rosemount Town Pages since 1997. He is very tall.

(651) 460-6606