Arriving at Kentucky Avenue School to interview for a social studies position, I was unaware of the unique nature of the school. Reflecting on its uniqueness today, I borrow from the English economist E.F. Schumacher in describing the school: Small is beautiful. The purposeful design of creating a small school with small classes is what makes KAS a model school. The small classrooms promote the sense of community lost in larger environments. Students are known and understood, so differentiation is natural and more likely. The small size allows for greater flexibility to meet students of varying needs.
KAS can be a place where being different is not only okay but valued. The school's philosophy, rooted in the early idea of McEwan that learning can be fun and coupled with the KAS theory of constructivism, creates a learning environment that promotes understanding rather than rote learning. To this end, teachers are free to develop curriculum with respect to student needs and interests rather than feeling constrained by a content-specified curriculum.
In 1973, Schumacher wrote, "The way in which we experience and interpret the world obviously depends very much indeed on the kind of ideas that fill our minds. If they are mainly small, weak, superficial, and incoherent, life will appear insipid, uninteresting, petty, and chaotic." KAS strives to engage students in big ideas, to explore and share ideas, to understand, and to create. I am proud to be the principal teacher at the small school on Kentucky Avenue.