In July of 2015 we visited Banner Academy in Chicago, Illinois for a site visit to observe how teachers were preparing to implement a new instructional model that The William J. Watkins, Sr. Educational Institute, Inc. is considering using in our Third Millennium Schools. The Inquiry Bridge model is an integrated approach that focuses on process, student strengths and needs. We were impressed by the dedication and commitment of the faculty and staff to “dig deep” in expanding their view of the instructional process. The Inquiry Bridge model uses a blended learning method in which students take ownership and responsibility for their learning. They move through a hierarchy of thinking skill development to apply what they have learned in real world applications.

When we visited Banner Academy they were putting the final touches on the META24 Labs in which the students take what they learn and create businesses to sell products they develop from “concept to consumer.” Underpinning both the Inquiry Bridge model and the META24 Labs is community development. Students and teachers take a focused approach to examining the school’s community. From that analysis they create businesses and develop opportunities to help build their community. This model is directly aligned  with the Third Millennium Schools core belief that the purpose of education is to provide service to your community and humanity – to reach one’s highest human potential. We’ll be going back to Banner Academy later in the school year to see how the new model is going. Check back for our update.