Liberty School Receives National Recognition for 21st Century Learning Environment


EPiC Elementary in Liberty is no stranger when it comes to attracting attention. Since the school opened in 2014, Principal Dr. Michelle Schmitz estimates more than 1,000 visitors have come through the doors to “take a look” at the school’s unique learning environment.

The school recently garnered even more attention when it was named a 21st Century Learning Exemplar School by the Partnership for 21st Century Learning (P21).

The national honor is presented annually to schools which identify high-level learning practices that prepare students for success. It recognizes those that have transformed student learning through collaborative teaching and learning, distributed leadership, student voice and a number of other measures.

EPiC, which stands for Every Person Inspired to Create, uses a project-based learning environment that challenges students to expand their critical thinking skills while practicing innovation and creativity. Its students often create real-world projects that can be adapted to the community. For example, the fourth-grade class pitched possible business ideas to the community for an empty building. Fifth graders created a hunger awareness campaign to raise money and bring attention to hunger in the community.

“The award validates what we are doing to change education as we look forward to matching the education in our school system with the world around us,” said Dr. Schmitz.

EPiC was selected for the award following a rigorous application and onsite review process. It is the first school from Missouri to win the award and is one of 60 schools from across the country honored this year.

Ensuring Missouri students graduate high school college and career ready is one of the primary goals of Missouri’s Top 10 by 20 initiative, which calls for Missouri to be one of the top 10 states for education by 2020.