Going Where Students Lead

Want to be an empowered teacher?

Pursue Teaching in the CAPS Model

Join over 300 of your peers designing profession-based learning experiences for students.

Move away from traditional pedagogy. To this day, most teacher colleges focus on the traditional set of tools to build a learning environment of curriculum standards, syllabi, lesson plans, textbooks, and rubrics. Traditional teacher education focuses on assigning readings, lecturing, and testing students. This classic pedagogy has been in place since the First Industrial Revolution but no longer serves students as they prepare for the jobs of the future.

The Experiential Educator

The CAPS approach to education is anything but traditional. Pedagogy and content are grounded in a mindset of purpose, relevance, and meaning—knowing that students who find these attributes in their studies are more engaged and motivated to pursue new knowledge and skills. All students progress from basic skills to literacies to the skills achieved through deeper learning. CAPS students engage in deeper learning as a result of being placed in learning situations that require them to develop and execute professional skills. Today’s students need to be fully immersed in an environment where the traditional approach of memorization, repetition, and testing gives way to experiential pedagogies.

CAPS students learn through discovery, inquiry, curiosity, and passion. Through real-world experiences, they are encouraged to learn and synthesize new concepts motivating them to persist through challenges, provoking them to seek deeper understanding, and inspiring them to become lifelong learners.


CAPS Instructors:

  • Create choices for students

  • Create student experiences rather than individual lessons

  • Design flexible and dynamic classrooms—not structured

  • Share successes and failures with others

  • Treat students as peers

  • Master both disruption and continuous improvement innovation

  • Hold enthusiasm and expertise with the content

  • Ask forgiveness instead of seeking permission

  • Go beyond standards

  • Develop project management skills

  • Make instruction relevant to the real world

  • Build relationships with business partners to stay connected to the industry

  • Collaborate with others across disciplines

A unique element of CAPS is the real-world experience.”

— Dr. Robert Hall, Executive Director, LAUNCH in Elmbrook Schools

"We aren’t teaching to the test; we are teaching the process of adapting to solve real problems."

Kelley Tuel, Veterinary Medicine Instructor, Blue Valley CAPS - On Encouraging Students to Embrace Curiosity

"Cultivating our youngest citizens to take on the important work of the future requires a shift in the way we teach them today."

Dr. Lindsay Portnoy, Designed to Learn: Using Design Thinking to Bring Purpose and Passion to the Classroom

“I’ve leaned heavily on choosing words that aren’t like class. “All Hands Meeting” is how I refer to our “class.” We learned an introduction to Agile workflow in the first quarter, and I keep coming back to those principles, talking to students about making defined goals for the week and marking progress on the way to those goals. Students log progress daily using different tools (Google Sheets, Trello for application development, and Miro for my graphic design group). Our “company” (strand) values are: Grow Always, Make a Difference, and Build Trust. I try to accomplish those by publicly celebrating when a team or individual acts in a way that lines up with our values.”

Drew McAllister, Program Director, Spark!

“CAPS allows for more one-on-one time than a traditional classroom setting, and facilitators can learn about their students’ interests. This allows for individualized experiences so when you walk into a CAPS classroom every single student can be working on something different. We also allow students to create their own schedules, knowing they have deadlines to meet and deliverables to present to fellow students, the class facilitator, and business partners.”

Karen Kunkel, GO CAPS Coordinator, Springfield (MO) Area Chamber of Commerce

"We have a first name basis; professional atmosphere. Students are treated in many ways like employees of a corporation with many departments. Students have choices. They work on what they want to learn about more so than in a traditional classroom. We learn through exploration instead of checklists and competencies. Collaboration is encouraged among all students. All are open and available for open communication. They have a willingness to speak openly and honestly."

Brian Gregoire, Director, Andover CAPS

"The CAPS model gives educators permission to meet students where they are by motivating them to do more and become greater than they could ever imagined."

Shameka Montgomery, Career Education/Metropolitan Director, Department of Career & Adult Education, Excel CAPS

"Spending less time in the classroom and getting students out in the business setting as much as possible is the strategic way of learning."

Ann Hopper, Coordinator, GOCAPS Lake Region