With guest, Louder Than a Bomb poet Nate Marshall

Sunday, June 28, 2009

The Met

Now that the Gates Foundation has abandoned the small schools movement, I'm thinking that maybe the movement can survive. One of my favorite small schools is The MET in Providence, R.I.. Creating individual learning plans for every student and putting its emphasis on learning outside the classroom, the ideas of MET founders Dennis Littky and Elliot Washor are opening some eyes in several urban districts, including Camden and Indianapolis.

Here's a piece from AP's Geoff Mulvihill on Camden's MetEast High School:

The schools are small and very different from traditional schools. MetEast has just over 100 students — less than one-tenth the enrollment at each of the city's comprehensive high schools. The educators are called "advisers," not teachers, and they advise the same group of students all four years. Classes are built around the idea that students will learn by following their passions. Students do internships. Graduation requirements include a senior project with the aim of doing some good for the community.
Ironically, the two Met-type (Big Picture) schools in Chicago were closed down, despite their high graduation rates, when they didn't conform to district curriculum mandates.


  1. We opened a school loosely based on the MET in Baltimore about five years ago. The two main difficulties that we have had are (1) getting the system to let us schedule people for classes only when they are actually ready to earn credits, and (2) making the model work without the large donors the MET has.

  2. Thanks for writing about the MET. I teach at one of the four Big Picture Schools in Indy. My school,TheIndianapolis Metropolitan school is mentioned in the latest Education Week story, "High School Alternatives." http://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2009/06/17/35alternative_ep.h28.html

  3. The New York Times picked up the Camden story http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/2009/06/27/us/AP-US-Big-Picture-School.html


Agree? Disagree? Let me hear from you.