A 21st century multiage classroom in an elementary school on a military base is a model of community building in schools serving military families and others.

A 21st Century Multiage ClassroomCrossroads Elementary School on Marine Corps Base Quantico is one of the newest in the Department of Defense Education Activity. Students in grades K-2 are part of communities, or neighborhoods, and collaboration is a key to success. Approximately 700 children who live on base attend the school.

The key principles of 21st century learning for the DoDEA are critical thinking and problem solving; agility and adaptability; initiative, effective communication, curiosity and collaboration. Students spend much of their time in studios with their assigned teacher, but meet each morning in a collective hub. “We are building communities,” Principal Donna Kacmarski said.

Assistant Principal Tracey Fairfax agrees, and says that research shows that children benefit from having more than one teacher available. Math may be with one teacher, and reading with another, or teachers may team up to co-teach. “They know there are a lot of people involved in their education,” she said. “One thing college professors say is that many students don’t know how to be a team member.”

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