Katie Maupin Is an Academic Leader for Inquiry-Based Learning at Anne Frank Inspire Academy

Common area at Anne Frank Inspire Academy charter school in San Antonio, Texas, where students participate in inquiry based learning

We are proud to share this guest post by Katie Maupin, Academic Dean at Anne Frank Inspire Academy—NW Military, about her experience as a teacher and leader focused on inquiry-based learning.

Education is a field that is constantly evolving, especially post-pandemic. Teachers everywhere must close the gaps in student knowledge in a framework that has been utilized in traditional classrooms for many years. At Anne Frank Inspire Academy, we are an inquiry-based school. This means we teach the way the brain naturally learns to promote active engagement, critical thinking, and a deeper understanding of content knowledge among students. Inquiry-based learning is a method that shifts the role of the teacher to that of a facilitator that supports student-led learning experiences and guide learners as they explore, question, and construct their knowledge.

Inquiry-Based Learning Is Student Centered

Rather than the typical “teacher-centered” model, where teachers will lecture while students take on a more passive role, inquiry allows for a highly student-centered approach where learners activate knowledge and ask questions, explore concepts, reflect, experiment, and construct meaning through hands-on learning and creation. This approach empowers students to become owners of their learning journey and fosters a sense of autonomy and self-efficacy. We believe that the brain that does the work, does the learning.

To demonstrate what they have learned, students invite their families to join us on campus at our Show of Greatness at the end of every nine weeks. This is a school-wide event where students guide their families through a Student Led Conference and discuss their learning and growth throughout the quarter. We believe that by bringing families in to see the hard work their students put into their inquiry projects, we are also promoting parent involvement in the learning process.

School Choice Provides Flexibility

School choice allows for students, families, and staff members to be a part of an environment that best fits their needs and gives them a home where they can truly feel that they belong. At Anne Frank Inspire Academy, our mission is to increase the capacity for learning by inspiring every student to belong, find joy, and be great. Through this comes our vision to reimagine and transform global learning. Having taught in a traditional setting through the pandemic, I became particularly interested in reflecting on my own idea of education and what it should look like. The mission and vision of Inspire Academies inspired my own desire to reimagine education and find a community that aligned with my personal mission as an educator and desire to grow as an instructional leader. I then became a part of the Anne Frank Inspire Academy family where I taught as a facilitator for kindergarten through second grade and currently serve as an instructional leader.

Anne Frank Inspire Academy provides flexibility and innovation for facilitators and students to create an environment where they can thrive and be successful. This is demonstrated in our daily schedule where we are not tied to a bell system so students can have the time and space to engage in experiences that ignite their desire to learn and grow. Additionally, innovation is demonstrated in our inquiry curriculum where students explore cross curricular topics that tie to real world concepts. Students then have the flexibility in how they approach the demonstration of their learning where they create a product, share their learning with others, and reflect on the experience.

Student Voice at Anne Frank Inspire Academy

As we come to the end of our final nine weeks of the 2023–24 school year, students in all grades are showcasing their final inquiry projects. Our middle school students put together an immersive museum experience that spanned across every space in their building. The students chose a topic they had learned about that they wanted to explore more deeply and created an inquiry project to demonstrate their learning throughout the year. They were given the autonomy to completely transform their entire school by making whole rooms into art galleries, secret passages, storefronts, stages, and mazes that showcased and articulated the concepts they learned in all their subjects. Similarly, in elementary, students in kindergarten to fifth grade created an interactive student-led market day where they set up booths and stations to sell goods and services and represent the relationship between consumers and producers. With every market, museum, and showcase, students visit each other’s creations and inspire one another to embark on inquiry after inquiry.

For all of us at Anne Frank Inspire Academy, student learning is all driven by a highly collaborative team focused on real life outcomes. This allows us to provide high quality instruction through the inquiry process while also allowing students to focus on their agency, which increases engagement and ownership of the learning process. Every family, student, and educator are on their own inquiry for the right school. We believe in school choice and that there is a right fit for everyone. Every person’s individual inquiry is important in the process of finding where they can belong, find joy, and be great.

Charter Moms Chats

Watch Katie Maupin, Academic Dean at Anne Frank Inspire Academy—NW Military, speak with Inga Cotton on Charter Moms Chats on May 23, 2024 at 4:00 PM Central live on Facebook and YouTube.

Katie Maupin Anne Frank Inspire Academy

Katie Maupin is the Academic Dean at Anne Frank Inspire Academy—NW Military with five years of experience as an educator. She began her career in Waco ISD as a first grade teacher and student teacher mentor for McClennan County Community College. She moved to San Antonio in 2022 with her husband, their corgi, and two cats, to be closer to their home and family in Kerrville. Katie joined Anne Frank Inspire Academy as a facilitator where she taught kindergarten, first, and second grade. She then transitioned from the classroom to instructional leadership as the Curriculum and Instruction Coordinator, before becoming Academic Dean. Katie holds a degree in Music Therapy from Sam Houston State University and is completing her master’s degree in educational leadership through the University of Texas at Tyler. Her passion for providing high quality learning experiences and instruction has driven her to continually support student engagement and achievement for all learners.

Read More About Anne Frank Inspire Academy

Read More About Teacher Tales

Share with friends:

Guest User