Board approves name change of Remington, learning model transition coming in 2024-2025 school year

Logo for the Academy of Innovation at Remington which includes a lightbulb and gearOn Dec. 12, the Pattonville Board of Education approved changing the name of Remington Traditional School to the Academy of Innovation at Remington beginning in the 2024-2025 school year. This alteration is a result of changes coming to the school’s learning model.

Beginning next school year, Remington will adopt a learner-centered learning model, designed around each student’s wants, needs and desires. Traditionally, learning is educator driven. But at Remington, education will be learner led. Teachers will serve as facilitators by helping learners find information and ask the bigger questions. Learners will dive into realistic content and challenges and share finished work with authentic stakeholders impacted by that work. They are encouraged to take risks, collaborate with their fellow classmates and think creatively. 

“Once the model was identified, we knew that the current name of the school didn’t match the model, so we knew we needed a name that met and told our story,” Remington principal Dr. Don Furjes said. “The committee did several activities that allowed them to brainstorm and students, parents and staff submitted ideas. Collectively, the committee voted on those, narrowing it from 30 ideas to 10. From there, two or three names started to emerge out of that, so we did even deeper activities to determine who we thought we were going to be and what this model was going to be and a reflection of that. But ultimately, we listened to the kids. It was the kids and the parents that ultimately decided on the final two options. The name is synonymous with our model and it’s in line with the vision of our school and where we’re going.”

Work began in fall 2022 with the development of a committee to discuss the future of Remington. During the school year, the committee met to discuss goals and options to increase student enrollment retention. They researched various learning models, surveyed the Pattonville community on their research findings and suggestions and based on that feedback, recommended that the school move forward with a design-thinking approach. 

Design thinking is the process to boost creativity and the Launch Cycle is the framework to process learning. Design thinking is a flexible framework used in everyday life that encourages risk-taking, collaboration and creativity and guides innovative solutions to difficult problems. The Launch Cycle consists of phases that each lead to the next phase in the acronym LAUNCH: Look, listen and learn; ask tons of questions; understand the process or problem; navigate ideas; create a prototype; and launch to an audience.

This school year, staff have been participating in professional development to prepare for the transition. As they learn about the Launch Cycle, they have been putting the model to the test in individual settings. For example, during a science lesson in the fall, seventh graders in Danica Johnson’s class were learning about the solar system and space, including the sun/earth relationship when the topic of this April’s solar eclipse came up. Learners were curious about the event, which led them to investigate the path of the eclipse. When they realized how close St. Louis will be to the eclipse’s totality, they began to wonder if they could see it. The students investigated the distance to different totality locations and all aspects of planning a field trip, including the cost of renting a bus to St. Genevieve, a timeline of when they’d need to leave school and what else they might be able to do there to tie into their learning. Through this research, they determined this could be a reality and put together a presentation and presented it to their principal, who signed off on the trip and it became the building’s first Launch Cycle project. 

“The students found that this will be the last total solar eclipse closest to St. Louis until 2099, so this will not happen again in our lifetimes and thus it’s a once in a lifetime opportunity,” Johnson said. “Part of the Launch Cycle, the very beginning is asking questions and really digging into inquiry. So when the kids sparked this natural curiosity and this natural inquiry, I got excited. They were so engaged and so excited because they didn’t think it was possible to go see it. So I said, Let’s try. Hearing them and seeing the engagement and excitement in this process with wow, our school is giving us this opportunity to go be there and be a part of it and they have the ownership because it was all planned and created by them. They came up with it all. The fact that it was their idea, that is the student-centered side of the Launch Cycle. It gives them something to be proud of and be excited about.”

Professional development will continue throughout the remainder of the school year. Remington will remain a school of choice and enrollment is based on random student draw. Those interested in enrolling at Remington will need to complete an application, which is available here. For more information, visit or see the flyer.

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