It turns education around to say that the first focus of schools should not be on academics, but that’s just what I say at Puget Sound Sound Community School, the school I direct and co-founded with Melinda in 1994. But if you really stop and think about it, it makes sense. Students who do not feel safe or supported at school are going to have a difficult time learning academics, anyway, try as we might to cram them in. So the first focus of schools should be to provide a nurturing environment.
Humans are natural learners. Tap into that and we learn naturally and eagerly. Provide the right kind of support, beginning with the environment, and things like academics take care of themselves.