Queens Paideia School: Educational Excellence

Let me introduce you to one school that we think has much of offer American education.  Aubrey Daniels and I went to visit Dr. Francis Mechner’s kindergarten through 8th grade Paideia School in Queens Long Island City, NY last week.  The word Paideia means “training of the physical and mental faculties to produce a broadly enlightened mature outlook harmoniously combined with maximum cultural development."  Dr. Mechner and his talented staff are doing just that. Principles derived from the science of learning are embedded into socially relevant and culturally congruent strategies to create self-motived and educated life-long learners.

Taking the best of what he knows about learning (and he knows a great deal), Dr. Mechner has developed a school that produces academically accomplished, socially skilled, personally motivated and values-driven children who demonstrate the kinds of skills that we need across our classrooms.  We need these skills to reside in both our public and private schools, in rural and urban settings, regardless of socio-economic standing or individual challenges in learning.  

Their lab school is small (30 students with 4 learning managers (three teachers in traditional settings) and 2 aides).  However, their results are extraordinary.  The goal for us at the Aubrey Daniels Institute is to learn from their approach, partner where we can, and examine what it would take to generalize their methods along with others we are examining to apply to school systems everywhere. We are developing a roadmap for what it takes to create evidence-based and principled education, to do so in a way that is affordable, with educational processes that are designed for a child-centered purpose. Our intention is to connect schools with the best learning opportunities for any student.

We know what it takes to make organizations more successful in meeting business and cultural targets with highly motivated employees achieving extraordinary effects. We have spent a lifetime learning about learning.  We are taking that learning to the systems that govern public education in America, developing a model for excellence in education. The schools we have visited have self-motivated students, sharing their progress eagerly and talking with confidence about what they and others are learning. We will write further about the Paideia School on our website. Also, please visit here

We will continue to highlight the best schools and best practices we can find, such as Morningside Academy in Seattle Washington, that positively accelerate learning and create accomplished, confident and generous learners, qualities we need so very much across our system of education. We will continue to bring the best practitioners and data-based examples to link educational need with experts who can make a difference.  Join us through your financial support if interested in this critical mission. Thank you.

Posted by Andy Lattal, Ph.D.

Dr. Andy Lattal is the Centennial Professor of Psychology at West Virginia University (WVU). Lattal has authored over 150 research articles and chapters on conceptual, experimental, and applied topics in behavior analysis and edited seven books and journal special issues, including APA’s memorial tribute to B. F. Skinner.