High Tech High
Class of 2009 Physics Text

In 2000 High Tech High began as a charter High School in San Diego. It is now a school network that includes K-12 schools, a teacher certification program and a Graduate School of Education. In a September 30, 2010 LearnCentral elluminate session with Ben Daley, a former teacher at High Tech High and now administrator, Daley discussed the ideology of the schools and what makes them successful for students in spite of the school's funding problems. To get into one of their schools, students must apply. Students are chosen by a zip code lottery to ensure that the learners are diverse in race and socio-economic background. 82% of its students graduate and 99% go on to college.

The school is a collaborative environment where teachers work with teachers to facilitate student production of authentic-real world projects. Teachers are valued as designers and are given time to work with other teachers and groups of students. Because they also now have teacher certification, and a college of education their own teachers have access to professional development, and newly hired teachers often come from their own system. Although their name is High Tech High, technology is not the driver; curriculum drives the technology. There is a strong focus on student work that involves hand as well as mind. Learning is active.

The schools follow four design principles: Personalization, Adult World Connection, Common Intellectual Mission, and Teacher as Designer.

  • each student has adviser who monitors and advises them and is key contact to family
  • students pursue their interest through projects and put their best work in portfolios
  • activities are collaborative and require hands on work and critical thinking skills
  • students exhibit their work to the school, community, industry

Adult World Connection
  • some of students best work takes place outside the classroom in internships, and group community projects
  • students may shadow adults but the school has the feel of a high tech workplace with wireless collaborative spaces and posted work projects

Common Intellectual Mission
  • curriculum is rigorous but there is no distinction between college prep or technical education
  • assessment is performance based- projects, solving problems, presenting to community
  • all students complete internships, senior project and digital portfolio

Teacher as Designer
  • teacher have autonomy to work in collaborative interdisciplinary teams to develop programs for their students
  • teachers schedules include time for collaborative planning, team teaching, project based and work based learning and interaction with the working world.

The students read books but they also publish their own on sites like lulu.com and blurb.com. Student projects involve real world experience and are exhibited not just within the school but in the community and to industry.

For more information:
See High Tech High http://www.hightechhigh.org/ and more on student projects here http://www.hightechhigh.org/projects/

To see an interview with Ben Daley on High Tech High (Sept 30, 2010). Learn Central Retrieved from http://www.learncentral.org/event/102287 see elluminate session https://sas.elluminate.com/p.jnlp?psid=2010-09-30.1644.M.9E9FE58134BE68C3B413F24B3586CF.vcr&sid=2008350

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