Sujata Bhatt was known for her creative use of technology in the classroom. Her students at Grand View Boulevard Elementary School, part of the Los Angeles Unified School District, loved it. But Sujata also saw these digital tools as an essential part of her students’ present and future. She saw how they would use them playfully but rigorously, and how their learning could be transformed when the work they did resembled the world in which they lived.
But Sujata also struggled against outdated mandates from district officials to rely on curriculum for yesterday’s world. Meanwhile, innovative technologies that were unknown only a few years ago were fundamentally shifting the ways in which humans related to each other and to the world. Sujata decided that schools needed to take a note from the modern world: constantly learning, adapting, listening to feedback, then circling back and reassessing their methods, forms and structures.
After more than 11 years at Grand View, she decided it was time for her to take action.
Collaborating with other educators in the Teacher Action Network, Sujata seized on a new initiative by LAUSD which allows teachers themselves to start pilot schools. In fall 2013, they opened the doors to a new blended-learning school for grades six through 12, designed by teachers and delivering an education that is both effective and fun.
Called the Incubator School (or, simply, Inc.), the school fosters young entrepreneurs and collaborators, ready for a complex, ever-changing, globally integrated world.