Fueling Creativity in Education Podcast

How does interdisciplinary learning help enchance creative thinking?

In this episode of the Fueling Creativity in Education podcast, hosts Dr. Matthew Worwood and Dr. Cyndi Burnett speak with interdisciplinary educator Alyssa Matuchniak and School Principal Cathleen Scott about the innovative approaches at Three Springs High School. The discussion highlights how creativity and flexibility in curriculum design can address diverse student needs and foster an environment where every student thrives. Alyssa shares inspiring examples from her teaching experience, including projects where students explore health topics through various art forms, such as songwriting and video game design, demonstrating the school’s commitment to student-led learning and expression.

The hosts and guests emphasize the significance of fostering a “culture of yes” within schools, where staff are encouraged to be both prepared and willing to adapt based on student feedback and interests. This philosophy not only supports educational engagement but also builds trust, allowing students to feel valued and understood. The conversation points out the crucial role of collaboration among educators and the importance of principals and teachers working together to cultivate a creative and inclusive school culture that embraces all students, regardless of their backgrounds or challenges.

Further exploring the operational side of creativity in education, the episode covers the logistical and strategic frameworks that support innovative teaching methods at Three Springs High School. Challenges such as scheduling, interdisciplinary collaboration, and maintaining dynamic teaching approaches are discussed. Principal Cathleen Scott elaborates on the strategies for overcoming these challenges, emphasizing the school’s community-centric approach that nurtures belonging and care among students and staff.

It starts with how our staff feels about kids [...]Often times I hear I didn't think I could, and people didn't believe I was capable, and they come here, and from day one, the mindset from our staff is yes you can.

Catheleen Scott is the principal at Three Springs High School. Her work marries the disciplines of social work and education to create a student-centered learning environment, where kids who need something different from the traditional model of schooling can thrive. In her years since becoming the TSHS principal, Catheleen has spearheaded several significant changes, including a shift from online credit retrieval to project-based learning, a move towards consistent co-teaching, and a shift to interdisciplinary coursework. An advocate for the voices of students at the fringes, Catheleen strives to create a school culture and climate rooted deeply in community, belonging, and care for others.

Alyssa Matuchniak is a multidisciplinary educator-poet at Three Springs High School in Cheney, WA, with six years experience in teaching and professional writing. A South Bay Teacher of the Year award recipient, Alyssa’s pedagogy embodies project-based learning, culturally responsive education, and principles of Universal Design. When not teaching, she slams at open mics and promotes her book, Small Wars, Little Revolutions. She earned her M.A. in Teaching from UC Irvine and her B.A. in Literature from UC Santa Cruz.

Episode Debrief

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