11 Jul Teacher Spotlight: Brianne Peterson
We couldn’t do our life-changing work without the help of teachers. They’ve brought Rêve Academy’s coursework into dozens of local classrooms, helping us reach thousands of students. Under a teacher’s guidance—and with curriculum and coaching support from the Academy—students learn marketable skills in business, technology, and design. We sat down with Brianne Peterson, a teacher at Metro Heights Academy in Fridley, to learn more about why she chose Rêve Academy’s curriculum.
Brianne, can you tell us more about yourself and your job?
I’m a high school science teacher who works with at-risk kids from ages 14 to 21. At Metro Heights, I teach five independent self-paced classes and one hands-on group class. My passion is personalizing curriculum to students’ needs, especially since the kids I teach are non-traditional students. For various reasons, they weren’t successful in an ordinary school setting, so it’s especially important to get it right this time. I also love to build rapport with students—it’s so rewarding.
How did you hear about the Rêve Academy program?
During an external review, I met Amanda [Rêve Academy’s Director of Academic Excellence]. When I heard what she did, I said, “I need to talk to my principal about you!” We weren’t sure if Rêve Academy’s program was going to fit with our way of administering coursework, which has students working pretty independently. But she met with me and the principal of Metro Heights and outlined exactly what Rêve Academy offered. Once we realized that the Academy was going to be supportive and flexible in working with us, it became a very natural partnership to have.
Do your students attend any other technology class?
We do use a learning management system, but there are no dedicated technology classes at our school.
What’s your experience been like so far with Rêve Academy’s program?
Remarkable! I’m seeing excitement from the kids because they have a clear outcome: their own website. They also have extrinsic motivators, because they know that if they do well in this course, they have the opportunity to be selected for a paid internship at Rêve Academy. At first, the extrinsic motivator of making money seemed to be most important to them. But now that the course is nearly over, I see them getting excited about intrinsic parts of the project: building leadership, collaborating with other students, and getting their project to the finish line.
Like I mentioned, these students haven’t been successful in a traditional school setting. So it’s amazing to see them taking ownership of their work and staying on task. The structure of the course helps them to have more buy-in. And them taking ownership has freed me up to observe, give feedback, and essentially coach them to greater heights.
Would you recommend the program to other teachers?
Absolutely. It’s been a great opportunity for the students. I think what it does is give them resources to see beyond high school and think about their future careers. It broadens their world beyond their neighborhood. They’re changing the way they think, even beyond the classroom.