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Prepared: What Kids Need for a Fulfilled Life
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Prepared: What Kids Need for a Fulfilled Life

4.02  ·  Rating details ·  395 ratings  ·  53 reviews
Diane Tavenner, founder of Summit Public Schools, offers a blueprint for a better way to educate our children, based on the revolutionary lessons, insights and methodology she and her faculty developed over 15 years at their famously successful charter schools in California and Washington, which she is now introducing to public school systems across the country that ...more
Hardcover, 304 pages
Published September 17th 2019 by Currency
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Bill Gates
Dec 12, 2019 rated it really liked it
What if you were given the chance to design a new school from scratch? And there was no need to follow the typical education model: a teacher at the front of a classroom lecturing to 25 to 30 seated students. No need to follow an existing curriculum, either. You could completely re-imagine what a good education is all about.

What kind of school would you make?

One person who took that question on—and came up with an intriguing answer—is Diane Tavenner, founder of Summit Public Schools, which
Katie - Girl About Library
I’m not sure how it happened, but this book is not at all what it is pitched to be. As a parent, I was excited to read this book because of the title - of course, I want my son to be prepared and fulfilled, sign me up! But then what I proceeded to read though felt like a 250 page brochure for a project-based curriculum at Summit schools which the author founded. And while their work is impressive and deserves praise and attention, that just isn’t what most readers are going to want when they ...more
Jaikish Nunna
A textual brochure written by a person with good intentions.

Picked up from Bill Gates' currently-reading shelf. This book is not as deep as the ones he suggests. I should have waited for his review (if he ever writes one for this book).

Update: Gates did write a review of this book recommending it for holiday reading:
Dec 22, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: education
This book is about the program at Summit Schools, a group of secondary Charter Schools started by the author which send all of its graduates successfully out into the world, almost all to college. The book includes a number of stories of successful exchanges between the author or her colleagues with students students having difficulty, and outlines the core programs that the school relies upon: mentoring, real world projects and self-direction. All sound great, and the passion, intelligence and ...more
Dec 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Really fascinating book on how to describe and measure plus develop the broad skill categories kids need to succeed as adults (communication, critical thinking, problem solving etc) by breaking it down into build able habits (self direction, curiosity driven knowledge, successful habits) and helps give phenomenal parenting advice to make each occasion a learning opportunity and most importantly help your child understand themselves
Jenna Vujic
Nov 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is for anyone asking the question, “What is best for our kids?” and “What should I be doing now for my kids?” Diane Tavenner shows us how to democratize a first-class education - one where all kids are given a real opportunity to succeed in not only going to college or a journeyman-type trade school but also in leading a fulfilled life as an adult beyond college. I didn’t really understand how the ultimate success of some children is coming at the expense of others until I read this ...more
Areej Abuali
Dec 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A description of how a great school can work through a personaly tailored engaging real projects based curriculum to better prepare students for college and the job market..the mission of this school came from a vision of diane tavenner to leave no student behind and that every kid carry within the potential for success and living a fulfilled life.this book should be read by educators all through our countries to be inspired and by parents too who came to" settle not seeing any other way" for ...more
Catalina Gardescu
Dec 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book was captivating and I think any educator and parent should read it. I could see in other comments the book being downgraded because it supports a certain project. What is wrong with that? If you really are reading to learn there are meaningful lessons in here and things we can do to improve education. Isn’t that what it is all about?
Pongsak Sarapukdee
Jan 05, 2020 rated it liked it
In the 1950s, the top skills employers wanted were:
1) the ability to work rapidly and for long periods of time,
2) memory for details and directions,
3) arithmetic computation.

But according to Forbes, the employees of 2020 need:
1) complex problem solving,
2) critical thinking,
3) creativity,
4) people management,
5) coordinating with others,
6) emotional intelligence.

The book is tell how Summit school can help students to prepare those skill.
Patrick Lyle
Jan 18, 2020 rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Matthew Boak
Dec 21, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I think one huge way our society can make this world a better place is by making sure our children are taught how to be fully prepared for the world in which they will live and work. Summit Schools, as shown by Tavenner, is devoted to making sure that all students succeed and that all students, to a degree, are active participants in setting their own educational goals. Tavenner shows all the potential that schooling can have in making sure students are well-rounded and have all the skills ...more
Jan 16, 2020 rated it really liked it
A fresh new take on education, aiming to prepare students to live the life they want (as opposed to teaching them prescribed pieces of knowledge).

I really like the argument that Diane Tavenner makes for the need of this kind of education: the shift from the industrial era to the information era led to a shift in the top skills required for jobs. In the 1950s, the top skills that employers wanted were: 1. ability to work rapidly and for long periods of time. 2: memory for details and directions.
(audiobook) The description of this book was a bit misleading, as I expected youth development and parent/educator resources... not a full description of the birth and continued successes of the Summit Public School system. Still an interest read if you're interested in hearing how one school integrated project-based learning and are inspired by teacher-student stories. More of a personal qualm I had with the book was the reliance on Silicon Valley references when introducing new education ideas ...more
Princess Ivory
Jan 04, 2020 rated it liked it
Took me a while to finish this. Loved the stories of the students enrolled in Summit, in every chapter. This was all not just about a different method of teaching and learning, this was actually Summit being supportive to a child's fulfillment in his/her life. I think that's great.

"Our beliefs about what our kids are capable of, and our willingness to be uncompromising, in helping them see what is possible, matter."

"When nothing seems to help, I go look at a stonecutter hammering away at his
Jonathan Johnson
Dec 31, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Great book
I love the authors story from being a teacher to having the opportunity to start her own school
The charter school she created is about project based learning and peer and teacher tutoring to learn skills
It’s amazing to me that she was the person running and striving for excellence in change in the normal school system but was not getting a ton of support
If it wasn’t for a former collegiate professor of hers connecting a parent upset with the current system to collaborate with her, she
Jan 05, 2020 rated it really liked it
Engaging with interesting ideas about a possible path for the future of education. The author does not try to hide her affiliation with Summit, which many people seem to be interpreting as a "brochure" for the school. I disagree that it is problematic- she presents the ways in which Summit has been designed as an alternative way of structuring high school and why she champions their methodology. At the very end of the book, she gives advice to the parents who are asking what they could possibly ...more
Medha Prakash
Dec 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The author makes an extremely compelling argument to disrupt and revamp the current education system from the method of teaching to the role of each of the stakeholders. I would reend this book to all who are involved in raising kids especially parents and educators. I also think the book provides great strategies that can be applied even at work. Lots of great insights, techniques and strategies all grounded in research that can help create a cultural change in order to evolve our society and ...more
Jan 15, 2020 rated it really liked it
This book is really about how project-based learning can help children acquire abilities and qualities necessary to be independent and successful later in life. The book is very enjoyable to read and reminds me of "Creative Schools: The Grassroots Revolution That's Transforming Education" by Ken Robinson. Many ideas can not only be applied to child education, but can also help adults (myself in particular) achieve goals of varying significance. Now I'm interested in employing few ideas I learned ...more
Cody Barnett
I did not find the book that interesting. I found it more to be a book about the building of her charter school with a mix of things she learned but to me it wasn't that good of information. Like she talks about issues with public education system and her solutions but in my view does not go into enough detail to help me understand how to implement that into my classroom. I am not a teacher yet but am working on it and should be one in a year or two.
Justin Luzier
Jan 05, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I think I may need to get a hard-copy of this so I go over some of the sections and take notes. Great concepts and a framework for getting kids prepared for adulthood. The Summit school sounds like a perfect utopia, and it's hard to believe the success rate they have, but if I can take any of the concepts they apply and do some of them at home, I feel I've gained something. I'm also curious if the Summit school was able to accommodate students with special-needs, such as autistic students.
Jan 22, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I listened to this one and found myself rewinding and bookmarking so much that I'm ordering a print copy to reread and annotate as I go. So many great stories, ideas and resources that will resonate with anyone interested in helping students learn to love learning! A Bill Gates recommendation ("The five books on my end-of-year list will help you start 2020 on a good note.") that I have already talked about with my adult children and will be promoting to my staff.
Jan 09, 2020 added it
I'm not a fan of non-fiction books usually but this was a great read about changing the public school system all the way around -from the way teachers teach, to the way students learn, to the way parents and teachers work together to ensure the success of the students, and the vocabulary used for both life and educational experiences. A must-read for all who work or have children in the educational system!
Linar Khalitov
Dec 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Useful and fresh

I am a young dad and am constantly searching: how to be a great parent for my daughter? What can I do to be sure she succeeds in her real life?

The principles and ideas of the book are close to me and I believe that school should give not knowledge but skills: goal-setting, learning to learn, working in a team, etc.

Very useful, great book.
Deborah Quazzo
Jan 03, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Diane Tavenner not only tells her personal story and the story of Summit Schools but she also crisply describes what it takes for us to make ALL students in our K12 schools successful and leading lives of impact. The book is well written and gives you clear takeaways including hope that the US can transform the lives of its children through human centered system change.
Adriane Bailey
Dec 17, 2019 rated it really liked it
I truly enjoyed the "big picture"in this book as it explained an overall approach to raising prepared children. I was also relieved to find the more practical suggestions for us parents in the trenches of parenthood. I won this book in an ARC giveaway, and I was thrilled for the opportunity to read it.
Dec 31, 2019 rated it it was amazing
One of the reasons I decided to homeschool my children is to give them an individualized education with freedom to learn at their own pace and pursue their true interests. I was blown away when Ms. Tavenner managed to pull it off in a public school setting. She is a true prioneer and trailblazer for the next generation's education.
Zhuo Zhang
Jan 13, 2020 rated it liked it
Honestly, I find a little bit disappointing maybe because I had a very high expectation as Bill Gates recommended this book. A lot of concepts are not new or fresh, but the author put them in a chart with all the blocks, which makes it a lot clearer and easier to digest. If you do not have time, you can jump to the last chapter to read the summary of the book.
Dec 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This was an amazing read. Right from the begining to the end, it has so much to offer to Parents/Teachers alike. I got this book from Bill Gates Recommendation and I am so glad I read it. This was one of my best reads of 2019. Cant wait to stay connected through their website.
Vicky Winkler
Jan 22, 2020 rated it liked it
I love the concept of the school and I hope I learn how to apply them to my kids who will be going to standard public schools! I really want to nurture a love of learning and personal growth in my kids.
Gregor Schafroth
Jan 02, 2020 rated it really liked it
Great story about education. Perhaps a bit overly optimistic, but surely inspirational. It would be great to see more teachers like Diane Tavenner who try out new forms of teaching rather than just sticking to outdated methods from a different age. So, teachers of the world, read this book! :)
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“the 1950s, the top skills employers wanted were: 1) the ability to work rapidly and for long periods of time, 2) memory for details and directions, and 3) arithmetic computation.2 But according to Forbes, the employees of 2020 need: 1) complex problem solving, 2) critical thinking, 3) creativity, 4) people management, 5) coordinating with others, and 6) emotional intelligence. Employers want innovative thinking, independence, initiative.” 0 likes
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