Unit 1 – Indi-ED Students’ Perspectives

As you know, we ask our students to reflect whenever possible because honest reflection and action, create genuine growth.

They understand the value of pausing, discussing, and completing individual reflections. Last week, we asked our students to reflect on some of the lessons, themes, or highlights they’ve encountered in the first 60-ish days.

Below are some of their insights on their experiences so far. For reference, each of the students who stepped up are all first-year Indi-ED students.

I felt an uneasiness going in to Indi-ED as I did not envision myself having the power to create the course my education would take. Little did I know, I would not be doing this alone. Each day as I would overcome new challenges, Riley met me at the door with encouraging words and positive energy. Never once did I feel judged or alone for being late. Just Riley welcoming me to another day at Indi-ED. Then I would walk upstairs and for the first time in a long time I saw kids being kids. There was excitement on their faces for the littlest things. This sense of positivity spread to me, and I knew then that this was my school.

This sense of positivity not only spread through the students, but the faculty as well. I have never met teachers with such a will to believe in their students. They push us to find inner strength. Each day we practice core values such as respect, responsibility, and leadership. The first month of school we learned what it meant to be active members of our community and to not be limited by our age. In science we are learning about sustainable growing practices such as hydroponics. Never did I think that I would be able to say that I know what pH and EC are. Learning this through the hands-on experience of monitoring a hydroponic system has made a complex subject like chemistry more manageable. I look forward to coming to school each day knowing that I will get to try new things and be supported in the process.

Sixty days later and I have had the opportunity to practice yoga, learn videography skills, and throw pottery on the wheel. Through this process I have gained the confidence to try new things, get silly and be messy. I was skeptical of taking these opportunities as I thought they would take away from class instruction. Instead I was proven wrong- I was learning practical life skills and found that it is okay to have some fun. This is an aspect of my education that would have been limited had I been in a more traditional environment.

Another unique aspect of my education at Indi-ED is inquiry. Indi-ED’s main philosophy is to get students involved in lessons through project-based learning. Again, I was skeptical and proven wrong. If only I had as much faith in myself as Mrs. Laurenzi does. This was a chance for me to work through difficult emotions and reach out to a broader audience. I was used to writing research papers in a specific manner that did not include interviews. When given this opportunity, I was excited to meet other teachers with the same aspirations as me. The idea we share is to change the emotional impact public schools have on students. I was pleasantly surprised that I was capable of doing an impactful research project independently.

In conclusion I have most loved the sense of community and students’ willingness to accept each other’s differences—Molly

The year has gone very well so far. On the first day of school I was nervous as was everyone else. From the first moment I walked in, I knew this was a fantastic school. When it came to math and science subjects I excelled. I was excited to find that Mrs. Morrison was going to be my math teacher. She would challenge me in ways I did not expect. We started off with the finance study for budgeting and I learned a lot because I usually spend my money right away.

This will help me in the future when I go to buy my first house, first car, first anything. The biggest highlight of the year for me was that the subjects were so similar to my old school that I knew I was going to learn more about my favorite subjects. The teachers are so supportive when it comes to helping us fulfill our dreams. —Brayden

Unit 1 for me was a great start at a new school. I learned many life skills and the Indi-ED core values. I also obviously learned academics like math, science, reading, writing, and a new one- Inquiry. It was super cool seeing kids of different ages all getting along, encouraging each other, and even playing together during recess. It expressed a great vibe and it was an awesome environment to work in. Now let’s talk about what we learned.—Ian

What We Accomplished by Subject —By Ian

  • In math, we focused on finance and reviewing what we learned from last year which was a lot of topics having to do with slope-intercept form. In finance, we learned how to budget and how emergency funds, stocks, and bonds work. We got to simulate a job and create a budget for that job. I learned that photographers don’t make much and probably live from paycheck to paycheck.
  • In science we learned about carbs, Ph, EC, elements, and the biggest part of the science unit-Hydroponics. We actually got an NFT hydroponics system so we could grow plants using that system. We had to learn how to manage and take care of the system using Ph and EC. We failed once and had to replant, but now our lettuce is growing and looking healthy.

Learning the importance of trial and error through setting up our hydroponic system.

  • In reading, we started and finished reading a book called “The Success Principles for Teens” The book contains so many life skills that you can implement into your life as a kid and even as an adult. I also got to start reading the Rafa biography. We also learned how to generate high-quality questions from reading sections of books.

  • In writing, we accomplished a lot. We wrote letters to our past/future self, we wrote mission statements for ourselves, we created vision boards, we learned how to revise and edit pieces of writing very well, and we defined what a leader is.

All of this after only 60 days of school! Stay tuned for more exciting news and insights from our students as we head into our second unit.

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