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Bright Ideas

By Clint Kelly (, Hannah Notess (, and Jeffrey Overstreet ( | Photos by Sarah and Chris Rhoads

If you haven't been inside a school classroom in a while, you might see some things that surprise you. Robots made of Legos. A gradebook with no grades. A blackboard that's actually a touch screen (no dusty erasers needed). And then there's the homeschooling student who, it turns out, is not at home: He's at a debate tournament two states away.

It's time for us to rethink what school looks like.

We'll take you inside six different educational settings in the Seattle area, where Seattle Pacific University educators are trying innovative methods of teaching and learning. Some of these innovations are small adaptations that happen between educators and individual students, while others involve whole school districts working together.

And though the learning environments vary widely, there's one thing they have in common: educators who pour their energy and creativity into creating ever-better ways for children to learn and grow.


Sharon Okamoto

Create 180-Degree Change With Tiny Steps

Alyssa Anderson

Harness Technology That Gives Kids a Voice

Taklyah Jackson

Advocate for Students in and out of School

Juanita Thompson

Let the Robots Take Over

Lisa Griebel

Connect the Classroom With District Progress

Jill Bell

Flex the Homeschool Day to Fit Kids' Passions