Utilizing Project Based Learning and “20 Percent Time” in Schools

Melissa Speetjens, the Principal at Waimea Canyon Middle School on the island of Kauai (the westernmost middle school in the United States), is a mentor in the Hawaiʻi Innovative Leaders Network, a graduate of the Stanford School Retool program and a recipient of one of the 2018/2019 Hawaiʻi Department of Education’s innovation grants. Melissa and her faculty have implemented a dynamic program called “20 Percent Time”.

What is 20 Percent Time?

“20 Percent Time” is a program where 6th, 7th and 8th graders spend 20% of every school day working on complicated and complex global issues. Students self-select into themes such as peace and justice or even ocean sustainability. They immerse themselves, with their teacher guides and coaches, into project based learning and they put the needs of family and community front and center. This program allows students to think creatively and practically to work towards solutions for problems outside the classroom. How have the students been engaged in the program, and has it been effective so far? Tune in to find out!

To hear Melissa’s thoughts about “20 Percent Time” and more listen to the podcast above!


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