What does the high school of the future look like? The folks at New Technology High School in Napa, Calif., believe theirs is the exemplary model.
One of more than 60 schools in the New Tech Network, New Tech High has turned the traditional high school model on its ear. Its ultimate objective is to deliver responsible citizens who are ready to work or go to college, and generally be prepared for the 21st century.
Here are five ways New Tech qualifies as a school of the future.
1) Breeding a culture of accountability.
One of the recurring mantras at New Tech High is the pervasive culture of respect, trust, and responsibility that goes both ways between educators to students. No bells
Feeling of how they’re doing work is different from traditional schools. There’s not as much control. It’s much less about control. No bells or hall passes, we can see from one classroom to another, our kids are basically treated as much asp ossible like an employee in an company. With respect and trust. Professional culture of trust, respect & responsibility.
Rather than come up with rules to control behavior, we give them as much freedom as possible, we come up with as a community, them but give them norms and behaviors for work we want everyone to do. Ownership of community.
If you don’t have this atmosphere, it’s hard to think about academic achievement. Even in urban schools focus on culture as primary piece, until that gets esptablished it’s hard to do anything else.
4th year Bill & Melinda gates foundation pushing small schools initiative. They wanted to replicate model across the country. Got grants.
How do you transfer knowledge to communities? How to get other schools to understand
62 schools that are replicating the model.
Doesn’t help to try to piecemeal your way to change. They’re seen by the rest of the system as cancer. The whole system fights against that change.
You can see pockets of innovation all over the country. Ther e are individual schools. But when you talk about meaningful change that’s sustainable, we’re talking about much more system change.
What New Tech system represents is unpackaing fo traditional model, envisioning what 21st century looks like, then putting it back components together so that everything meshes together and none of it seems like a cancer.
3 big areas:
Project based. It came from fundatmental belief that we have set of skills we want to teach kids. Critical thinking, collab, communication, core set of skills, 2 approaches you can take: create electives that teach collabr, or you embed collab into every single class. If you do that, it leads to project based learning. The level of engagement is higher. Learned from Buck Institue: projects were cool but not tied to standards, but int his era of high accountability, we have to train teachers to look at standars that state derive, where’s the meaningful application of that knowledge. So now we start with standards and build curriculum around them. But provide deeper learning experience that also teaches 21st cneutry skills.
biggest levers of change, throwing computer into classroom, you empower knowledge on their own. Traditaionl classroom teacher passes out info, learning happens in classroom with teacher. But in this enviornemtmn less lecturing, less teacher-led acitivites. Kids are finding path to knowledge their own way. Tech allows that to happen. They become empowered and no longer have to raise their hand and ask the teacher unless they’re really stuck.
Push them become life long learners. It happens at any time as long as you have access to info and tech.
Dislodge their traditional path, then all these peieces in place.
One tech example: GRADEBOOK, easiest ways to do grading.
If a kid turns in a paper late, we mark them down.
In new tech, if you take Bplus paper and give them c-, you no longer know what the kid did well and what they did poorly.
They might be graded on 4 different criteria; content, written communication (even math), critical thinking if there’s analysis, work ethic.
Our rubric has that. When they see grades online, what they see is here’s my score in, in critical thinking, in content, in work ethic.
It’s not about them avoiding something they’re bad at, but improving it.
Conditions for Success: Scaling
You have to get to 1-1, project based learning, team teaching.
If they’ve got pacing guides, you have to cover this topic on this day, it won’t work. It has to be flexible. If you’re not ready for this, let us know when you are.
Whole years’ worth of planning. Financing, facilities, negotiating issues with district, student recruitment,
First major training event is with principals. We go visit schools, they’re writing master plan of how to put thins together, what it’s like to govern a new tech school.
Then we do shadowing experience, observing school environemtn.
Give them big picture by bringing them here.
5-day training. 400 new teachers last year for 27 new starts.
Blitz of project based learning,
Schools in Indiana. Converting entire schools that are converting.
We’ve figured out the school part, but the big challenge for us is to create a district that supports the infrastructure like this.
Then in transformations to brand-new initiatives.
Teachers are busy teaching.
Site visits 10 times a year to different school. Have a platform that we can see their rubrics and can help them.
Remote support during skype, email, phone,
National conference come together every year and get re-energized.
Training trainors, every teacher
Traditional schools of ed don’t graduate students that are ready for this, so a lot of time has to be spent training teachers.
Small agricultural community like new tech high
What does a 21st century school DISTRICT look like?
In Michigan, Indiana they have to reinvent the economy.
1/3 rural 1/3 sub 1/3 urban
works in every community.
Half of kids have free and reduced lunch.
Looking for ways to have laptop
Netbooks for students
Trying to figure out what’s the video game policy here. On school computers,
Bring your own computers to school, video games as teaching tools. Video games in the cyber café. For the most part,
Headphones on? Can you play games if your games aren’t good?
Asking input form students. If this was a job, this would be afireable offense.
Columbus ohio can take laptops home. The
Rather than being passive recipients of rules, give them power to make smart choices.
Students have bought in,
Ipads don’t work on network yet. Wifi versions work. Stoneware.
Can’t create multimedia, limited functionality.
Textbook plays a different role here. There’s so much info on the web. We do have textbooks and pull out occasionally to research, but we don’t do worksheets off textbooks. If there’s info on audio, video and text on web,
In general, our schools do better in the humanities, language arts, and science,
Math is average. We’re not doing harm to kids, but we still have a ways to go to crack the math nut. There are lots of people we’re having conversations with,
Engagement, grad rate, off the charts. Students going to post-secondary
Asked families to provide computer for kids, and for those who can’t, there are desktops at schools.
93% of kids are bringing laptops. Everyone else has desktops at school.
moving towards cloud computing.
51% of kids are on free or reduced lunch overall at New Tech.
at Napa New Tech, 33%
very few laptops have been stolen, and if they were, they were off-campus.
No Digital textbooks.
ASSESSMENT: CHRIS WALSH
In general our students do better across the country in humanities, language arts, social studies, science, math is still at average. We’re not doing harm to kids, but
Our kids are going to college,
We’re trying to redefine what the definition of a great school is. Not just good test scores or great football teams. If we had a national assessment around critical thinking, which we unfortunately don’t, you change the whole dialogue.
We’re tyring to available through assessemtns,
New superintendent is a big supposrter, if we can get policy changes, if you could have culture surveys as part of school report card, you could change dialogue.
Lottery system. No entrance tests or requirements.
Want kids go through process ask for 1-page essay about what they want.
We get kids to commit to a full year.
PRINCIPAL, HOWARD MAHONEY
Period of adjustment, big learning curve.
Some kids who struggle most are bright kids who have As but now they’re not necessarily getting grades they’ve gotten. Things like collaboration, critical thinking, pushing above and beyond, they don’t know what to do when they’re graded on those things and get a D on an assignment.
Other kids who’ve never been successful are doing great.
some of the kids, four of them have finished up high school, juniors or seniors in high school, leave take their exit exam and go straight to community college.
But high school graduation is once in a lifetime opportunity, senior year in high school they might level.
Schools have even demographics. 1/3 are rural, 1/3 are
Biggest growth is in the Midwest. In CA there isn’t a lot of money to go around
$450,000 or $500,000 over 4 years