'Project Based Learning' curriculum at Fain Elementary

WICHITA FALLS, TX - A Wichita Falls elementary school is helping educators with a new teaching method they believe could help their students become more successful.

Class may not be in session yet for students at Fain Elementary School in Wichita Falls, but the educators are being taught a lesson.

Erin Starkey is a former WFISD teacher who now works for the Buck Institute of Education, training teachers about the concepts of 'Project Based Learning' curriculum.

"Fain Elementary used funds from the Priddy Grant Foundation to bring us in and look at what can we do for our learners and how can we make an impact.  We think of assessment.  We think of the word number grades right and that's what it ties to, but changing that mindset to now we're looking at opportunities for feedback.  It's focused from learning just content to focus on 'learning'," said Starkey.

The idea is for educators to inspire students to create projects instead of doing work sheets or STAAR tests.  In the future, they want the focus to be on projects that will help students, educators, and the community grow.

"We want our teachers to expand their horizon and to change their mindset.  We want them to be learners, and we don't want them to them their creativity or their imagination, so we want them to look from a different lens," said Clarisa Richie, Principal of Fain Elementary School.

Hopefully, the program can help both educators and their students prepare for an uncertain future.

"That's what project based learning can help do is serve as a way to say 'hey, there's a world out there.'  Let's get our students ready for it by making them better communicators, by making them excellent collaborators, by preparing them to solve big problems, and think critically about the world around them and make a global impact," said Starkey.

The goal is for the 'Project Based Learning' curriculum to be a pilot program for the district over the next two to three years.  If successful, educators at Fain plan to phase it in and train other faculty on other WFISD campuses.

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