Fixing Schools is Focus of Newest Kauffman Video Sketchbook

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Harvard lecturer and noted school reformer Kay Merseth advises schools to stay true to the mission of purposeful learning

Katherine “Kay” Merseth, senior lecturer at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, takes on the vexing issue of school reform in the newest installment of the Kauffman Sketchbook series.

In the video released today by the Kauffman Foundation, Merseth implores communities, school leaders and teachers to focus on one thing – providing students a purposeful place for learning. “If we don’t teach the children to be literate, to read, to write, to compute, to be able to use a computer, who else will?” she emphasizes.

During the three-minute animated video, called “Fixing Schools,” Merseth says every child needs a “caring, thorough, purposeful adult” in his or her life. That adult, ideally, is a teacher who:

  • knows the subject matter in-depth;
  • employs multiple techniques to address different learning styles and approaches;
  • maintains a professional, sharing relationship with other teachers; and
  • embraces a code of professional ethics focused on students.

Merseth’s insights are based on her book, Inside Urban Charter Schools: Promising Practices and Strategies in Five High-Performing Schools. The concepts presented in her book serve as guiding principles for the Ewing Marion Kauffman School, which the Kauffman Foundation opened in August 2011 in Kansas City.

A public charter school, the Kauffman School delivers a rigorous college preparatory curriculum to its students. The school is enrolling students through March 1 for its 2013-14 fifth-grade class. Families may enroll and learn more about the Kauffman School at

Since the Kauffman Sketchbook series launched in September 2011, the videos featuring the insights of influential thought leaders in the areas of education and entrepreneurship have drawn more than 210,000 viewers to YouTube and The Sketchbooks, which won a top award from the Kansas City Chapter of the Public Relations Society of America, have been widely shared on a variety of websites, blogs and social media outlets, as well as at numerous events and conferences.

About the Kauffman Foundation
The Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation is a private, nonpartisan foundation that works with partners to advance entrepreneurship in America and improve the education of children and youth. Founded by late entrepreneur and philanthropist Ewing Marion Kauffman, the Foundation is based in Kansas City, Mo. For more information, visit, and follow the Foundation on and


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Barb Schulte
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