Sunday, April 28, 2019

Boma Education Fellowship: High Tech High, San Diego

This is the first blog post from the Boma Education Fellowship to California, USA.  It is hard to put into words the learning experience. I have decided to write a series of posts on the different places we visited with a culminating blog post on my design for a school if anything is possible.

High Tech High, San Diego

4 Guided Principles of High Tech High

High Tech High is a school which delivers a project based curriculum with a pathway focused on tertiary study.  Teachers are on a year contract with the assumption of contract renewal. The year levels are organised into teams with approx 56 students per Team. Learning Advisory (tutor/form time) groups had approx. 14 students. Teachers are qualified in two subject areas, for example, Humanities and English or Science and Math. Each Team is responsible for designing their own timetable for the year. The 56 students are broken into two classes of 28 students. Teacher collaborate on projects to varying degrees. We spoke with a Science teacher who was team teaching with the Humanities teacher on building rockets. Students who had finished could move into a group that was filming the learning taking place.
The two classrooms had been opened up and in the centre was task:

We had been encourage to talk to students and staff. We could enter any classroom and we could approach any student/staff member. I was incredibly impressed with how articulate students were in regards to their learning. Every student I spoke to could clearly identify what they were learning, why and if they had attended a different school prior to HTH the differences. Teachers regarded themselves as the 'adult learner' in the classroom and modeled this.
Part of the HTH program are exhibitions of learning which could take place at school, in the community or within classes. For example, a group of students had the goal of raising participation during local elections. The student did a lot of learning around elections and then their 'exhibition' was being out in the community the day before the voting and sharing their knowledge to encourage people to vote. Students could also present their learning to parents, to classmates or in a forum that best suited the learning project.
Internships is part of the senior curriculum with students needing to complete approx 5 weeks of 30-40 hrs a week. Teacher are actively involved with students prior to and during the internships. 

Some images from HTH

Student work is displayed everywhere and often with QR codes to get further information or more student work. 

A summary:

  • All teachers and students are on the same page. PBL with a tertiary pathway.
  • Students are involved in the employment of teachers
  • Teachers are on 1 year contracts 
  • Students enrollment is based on application through a lottery system. Depending on the postal code/zip code depended on how many student from that area could attend. They have a system to ensure equity during the enrollment process.
  • Teachers create the timetable based on the Team they are in
  • The level of collaboration is organised between the teachers within the Team
  • Link to projects 
I was very excited to visit High Tech High and the opportunity to meet with Larry Rosenstock was amazing. Talking with staff and students it was clear to see the the school principles in play. 
It has been difficult to include everything in one post and I am sure I will write another at some point.

No comments:

Post a Comment