Original article published in Thriving Grant County newsletter

Welcome to the Crossroads Innovative Learning Model Deployed at R.J. Baskett

Collaborate. Innovate. Educate. This is the Crossroads Education (CRE) motto; their mission being to improve learning outcomes for all students by advancing innovation in education across the United States. Since 2016, CRE has done their part to dismantle systematic inequality and champion equitable opportunity. Why? I Am Because We Are. 

Crossroads Education provides private tutoring, staffing + programming, state-of-the-art school facilities, and—what we’ll be focusing on in this article—the Crossroads Learning Commons model. 

We believe students learn best when they’re working together. The Crossroads Learning Commons (LC) is a physical space inside a school that facilitates collaboration among students. It operates during the school day, is run by students trained to be peer-tutors and is supported by a professional called the Learning Commons Director (LCD). 

In November 2020 Crossroads launched an LC at R.J Baskett Middle School with Sophie Clark as the LCD (a perfect match considering this is the school she attended). When we asked Sophie about the challenges she faced in the beginning of this endeavor, she said “Starting something new is never a walk in the park, especially not during this COVID pandemic. We have been extremely flexible in understanding that many kids may get quarantined and have taken measures to switch around schedules to make things work for us. Although this concept of a learning commons is different to the students, they are adapting well and making good use.” 

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COLLABORATIVE LEARNING: Students work in the Crossroads Learning Commons at R.J. Baskett Middle School in Gas City

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Sophie Clark, Crossroads Learning Commons Director at R.J. Baskett Middle School ,Gas City

Speaking about the general process, Sophie said “R.J. Baskett administration and specifically Jacob Felger, were incredibly helpful in the LC's startup and getting the rest of the school on board. I am getting to know many of the students and enjoy having them come in a few times each week. They keep things exciting and have even helped with deciding on the decorations for my room!” 

Students like that it is different than a ‘normal classroom,’ and they enjoy being in the LC with kids they do not usually see during the day. She mentioned that all of the students seem to really enjoy using the whiteboard desks [a staple feature in LCs] to figure things out. Sophie is clearly passionate about her work, and it is great to see the school embracing the LC! 

Thriving Grant County, Thriving Mill Township is proud to partner with the Mississinewa School District in this initiative. Crossroads Education's innovative equity-driven approach to peer learning progresses educational success. “Their in-house learning model provides accessibility for students' math needs to be met on demand, said Cathy Weatherspoon, Executive Director of Thriving Grant County, Thriving Mill Township. "We must continue to implement systems that will guarantee that students have opportunities to succeed that will lead to future successes," she said.