Andrew Campanella: I read an LA Times article about how your students successfully created a science experiment that is now running on the International Space Station. Tell me more about your students’ success!
Dr. John Moran: Many schools do not launch in the first year of the program. I am so proud of this team that everything is approved and they’ve launched in such a short time frame in the first year. I think it speaks mostly to the exceptional caliber of the few students in the program and the caliber of the two mentors much more than it does about me. They really took it and ran with it and I could not be more proud of them.
Andrew: How would you describe your school’s approach to education?
John: I believe in learning by doing. There’s an old Chinese adage that says, “Tell me, I forget. Show me, I remember. Involve me, I learn.” It’s a John Dewey approach to education: hands-on, practical application of knowledge in the real world. That really permeates everything that we do here. We want to give students experiences, not just knowledge.
Andrew: What programs do you offer that help advance that theory of education?
John: We have a debate team. We’re very big on the arts. Next year we want to get into the student UN program and I’d like to add mock trials. The other thing is we do a lot of international trips— service trips and mission trips. This year, next month, we have students going to Japan and to Honduras to do different mission and service trips. You can’t learn in a book what you can learn by visiting another country and serving people in another country.
Andrew: What do you think parents should think about when choosing a school for their kids?
John: I believe that school should be more like department stores than specialty shops. When parents are shopping around, I think they should look for schools that have a variety of opportunities to help their students develop into well-rounded individuals and I would also key in on schools that provide excellence in all of their programs.
Andrew: Can you share how you participate in National School Choice Week and whether there is anything else you’d like to add?
John: We completely support school choice and we have flyers and awareness and all of that for parents. One thing I could add is a call out to all of my fellow colleagues in education: We really need to challenge students to do more because they can do a lot more than we think they can.