High Tech High charter schools

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High Tech High is a San Diego, California-based school-development organization that includes a network of charter schools, a teacher certification program, and a graduate school of education.[1] Students are admitted to the public elementary, middle, and high schools through a zip-code based lottery system in an effort to admit a demographically-diverse representative sample of San Diego County.[2]

In 2010 it had approximately 3,500 students in high, middle, and elementary schools. The HTH website states that in 2010, 100% of high school graduates were accepted to colleges, of which 80% were to four-year institutions.[3] As of 2008, 99% percent of graduates had entered college.[4] Admission is via random lottery and there is no tuition.

History[edit]

In 1996, forty members of San Diego’s civic and high-tech industry[5] assembled to discuss how to engage and prepare more young people for the high-tech industry. Called upon by the San Diego Economic Development Corporation and Business Roundtable, these members met regularly for the next two years to discuss how to engage and prepare local students for high-tech careers.[6] One of these members included Gary Jacobs, former director of education programs at Qualcomm.[5]

The original "High Tech High School" is now known as The Gary and Jerri-Ann Jacobs High Tech High.

In 2000 the San Diego Unified School District approved the first charter and construction began in a former U.S. Navy training center in the Point Loma district, now known as Liberty Station, near the San Diego airport. The grouping of High Tech High schools in this area is known as High Tech High Village. With a grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, High Tech High opened with 200 students in the 9th and 10th grades in September. In 2003, the first graduating class graduated with 50 students. In 2006 the Statewide Benefit Charter was approved. In 2007 High Tech High Digital Commons launches. In 2009 the statewide Benefit Charter was expanded to K-12.

Program Design Principles[edit]

The High Tech High program and curriculum evolved from the work of Larry Rosenstock and colleagues in the New Urban High School Project, an initiative of the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Vocational and Adult Education.[7] The focus was on inner-city high schools using school-to-work strategies, including internships and other forms of field work, as a leverage for whole-school change. The findings of the NUHS were summarized in guides centered on six design principles. The school is virtually textbook-free.[8] HTH is structured around four design principles, including three from NUHS and one developed by HTH:

  • personalization
  • adult world connection
  • common intellectual mission
  • teacher as designer

These principles determined the schools' organization, including their small size, the openness of the facilities, personalization, emphasis on integrated and project-based learning, and display and exhibitions of student work. All students are required to complete internships in the community. HTH director Ben Daley described the school's approach: "We are teaching students to think deeply about content and then do something with their knowledge, not just race through a textbook.”[9] According to Rosenstock, who became a CEO of HTH, a slogan at High Tech High is: “You can play video games at HTH, but only if you make them here.”[10]

Governance and funding[edit]

The schools operate within the San Diego Unified School District but the High Tech High organization is governed by three independent boards of directors:[11]

  • The High Tech High Board operates as a public agency and has governance and fiduciary level control over all HTH schools.
  • HTH Learning is a private nonprofit that oversees the facilities that house the schools of High Tech High. It is also responsible for the adult learning programs, including the teacher certification program, and the related residencies and institutes.
  • The High Tech High Foundation is a private nonprofit responsible for securing the philanthropic support needed to develop High Tech High schools.

The schools are publicly funded although they have received grants from private companies and organizations. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation contributed $17 million between 2000 and 2006.[12]

Campus[edit]

The high school and middle school were designed, and construction directed, by the school's in-house Design Director, architect David Stephen. The facility received a 2001 Educational Design Excellence Award from the American School & University Architectural Portfolio.[13] Stephen served as both the school's Curriculum Designer and Design Director in the school's first 6 years.[14]

Schools[edit]

Formerly there was also a High Tech High Bayshore, in Redwood City.

Student Learning[edit]

Notable Projects[edit]

San Diego Bay Study

Since 2003, Dr. Jay Vavra and the juniors of Gary and Jerri-Ann Jacobs High Tech High have started and maintained the San Diego Bay Study,[15][16] producing four books on what students deemed “pressing environmental priorities.”[17] Conservationist Jane Goodall wrote the forward to the initial The Two Sides of Sides of the Bay Channel: A Field Guide.[18] and the second study, Perspectives from the San Diego Bay: A Field Guide in which students used John Steinbeck’s The Log from the Sea of Cortez as the model for a more humanitarian guide.

The Blood Bank Project

In 2009, a team of twelfth-graders, led by art teacher Jeff Robin and biology/multimedia teacher Blair Hatch, collaborated with the San Diego Blood Bank to raise awareness for the need to donate blood.[19] Students researched several blood-related topics, ranging from leukemia to the AIDS epidemic to the depiction of blood in films to the role of blood in various religions.[20] In pairs, students created paintings large piece of wood with cut-outs for a student-created informational video. The products were displayed at the JETT Art Gallery in San Diego.

The End of the World Project (and co-design)

During the fall of 2012, sixth-graders at High Tech Middle co-designed a project with teachers Bobby Shaddox and Allie Wong. Building on the work of democratic educator James Beane,[21] Shaddox and Wong asked students to generate questions they had about themselves and the world around them. They categorized these questions and then determined that many questions fell under the broader theme of “The End of the World.” Teachers then pitched the idea of creating a magazine and multimedia exhibition informing the public of the plausibility of the various (and rumored) ways in which the world might be brought to an end. In pairs, students researched topics ranging from global warming to deforestation to the Mayan prophecies. Students included interviews from local experts in their articles. Because teachers wanted to establish a democratic working environment, student input on the process was ongoing. Students were asked to tune project components, utilize peer feedback, and meet regularly as a whole-class community to make decisions about the process and product.[22]

The Raptors for Rodents Project

In the fall of 2014, fifth-graders at High Tech Elementary Chula Vista were visited regularly by the field mice that populated the open landscape surrounding the building. Students led by teacher Jeff Govoni researched the local predators of these rodents to determine which might be the safest and most effective way to reduce the population. Students determined that owls would have the greatest impact and so they then, in teams, investigated and created prototypes for owl boxes. In order to raise funding to build life-size versions, students wrote persuasive letters and created multimedia presentations. Upon funding, students built the nests and did, in fact, reduce the population of field mice in their school.[23]

Extracurriculars[edit]

The Holy Cows

The Holy Cows are a robotics team co-founded by High Tech High engineering teacher David Berggren and his father, Bill Berggren in 2004. The team runs like a business, with students fulfilling roles including student directors, managers, and supervisors of various departments. Students are mentored by local engineering experts, including Holy Cows alumnus Jon Jock of Seabotix,[24] to accrue skills through the building of robots. In alignment with the High Tech High mission, they also learn to manage projects as a team.[25] The Holy Cows have traveled to the First Robotics World Championship eight times, as of 2013[24] and won the top prize, the Chairman’s Award, in 2013.[26][27] The team also mentors other robotics teams and offers workshops.[26] In 2014, the Holy Cows and their robot were one of five robotics teams that opened the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.[28]

Adult Learning[edit]

While HTH distilled its first three learning principles from The Urban School Project, it added a fourth: "Teacher as Designer" and employs a rigorous hiring process. It also stated a commitment to educating educators.[29]

Teacher Hiring and Support[edit]

After an initial pre-screening of application materials, prospective teachers are invited to attend a day-long hiring “Bonanza” on a High Tech High school. In addition to touring the schools and mingling with prospective co-workers, they implement an hour-long lesson to class of students. Students are integral to the hiring process at High Tech High. Not only do they offer their feedback on the demonstration lesson, but they are invited to read and engage in a discussion with applicants on a sensitive, but relevant, topic as current High Tech High educators observe.[30] Hiring is competitive, and many vie for spots that open annually. Although High Tech High is publicly funded, it operates under its own board of directors, and thus can create its own hiring process. Directors of the school’s campuses take teacher and student feedback into account, along with their current school needs, when offering candidates a position.[31] High Tech High teachers are contracted for one year and do not receive tenure, nor do they have a teacher’s union.[30]

Teacher Credentialing[edit]

High Tech High is authorized by the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing to offer preliminary and professional credentials. It offers two programs: The Intern Program for preliminary teaching credentials and the two-year Induction Program for teachers with preliminary teaching credentials.

In order to invite qualified applicants who do not yet hold teaching credential to work with High Tech High, the organization developed its own credential program in 2004, becoming the state’s first approved charter-management organization (CMO) to do so.[32] Educators who wish to work with High Tech High may earn a teaching credential through the Teacher Intern Program. Those who possess (at a minimum) B.A. or B.S. upon hiring and demonstrate subject-matter competence may apply for employment under the condition that they will enroll concurrently in a credential and induction program.[33] The credential program is accredited by the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing,[34] is recognized for resisting the theoretical approach many credential programs are criticized for,[35] and adopting a clinical approach, akin to a medical residency. It authorizes Single-Subject, Multiple Subjects and Education Specialist credentials for staff and non-HTH teachers. Most interns teach full-time while earning their credentials, earning a regular salary and benefits. Graduates of the program present a portfolio of their work, demonstrating that they have met the qualifications to be licensed as a teacher in the state of California.[36]

In 2004, High Tech High was authorized to move teachers from preliminary to clear credential through an induction (BTSA) program.[37] The High Tech High Teacher Induction (BTSA) program began in 2007.[38]

Graduate School of Education[edit]

The Graduate School of Education opened in September 2007, offering Master of Education Degrees (M.Ed) in Teacher Leadership and School Leadership to educators in and outside of the network of High Tech High schools.[39] In 2012, the school was granted candidacy for accreditation by WASC (Western Association of Schools and Colleges),[40] although accreditation itself is currently pending. The school’s president, Dr. Rob Riordan, formerly a leader of the teaching practicum at the Harvard Graduate School of Education[41] worked with school founder Larry Rosenstock on the New Urban High School Project and as High Tech High’s “Emperor of Rigor".[42] According to administrative dean Allison Ohle, the school emphasizes “the value of collaboration and real-life experiences”.[43] Like the credential program, the graduate school emphasizes a clinical and practical approach while also exploring educational theory. Students are required to complete an “action research” project during the second year of the program, in which they explore a learning problem or wondering within their own school site. The results are published in the required thesis.[44] Students develop skills to work collaboratively and design courses in which their own students “construct new knowledge” and “pursue their passions.”[45] The Graduate School of Education hosts residencies, institutes, and workshops and its students participate in the High Tech High Summer Institute.[46]

Leading Schools Program
The Leading Schools Program (LSP) is a one-year certificate program that engages international and national teams of educators in online discussions and onsite residencies at High Tech High schools. Participants collaborate with, and are mentored by, current High Tech High educators as they create and carry out a leadership project that “addresses and authentic need or issue at their home schools."[47]

UnBoxed: Journal and Speaker Series[edit]

UnBoxed is a peer-reviewed journal published twice annually by the High Tech High Graduate School of Education.[48] Articles feature reflections on practice, project descriptions, and remarks on current policy.[49] Contributors have included current faculty and graduate school students, as well as educators and researchers from various national and international institutions.

As part of the Education UnBoxed Speaker Series, educators such as co-founder of The Civil Rights Project, Gary Orfield, Professor James Gee, and co-author of Disrupting Class: How Disruptive Education Will Change the Way the World Learns, Michael Horn, have spoken on campus[50] and through interactive, online platforms such as Elluminate. In addition, the graduate school hosts monthly “Collegial Conversations” in which educators are invited to discuss student work, methods of assessment, and developing projects using conversation protocols.[51]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "About High Tech High". High Tech High web site. High Tech High Foundation. 2010. Archived from the original on 2011-05-07. Retrieved 2011-05-07. High Tech High began in 2000 as a single charter high school launched by a coalition of San Diego business leaders and educators. It has evolved into an integrated network of schools spanning grades K-12, housing a comprehensive teacher certification program and a new, innovative Graduate School of Education. 
  2. ^ Kahlenberg, Richard D.; Potter, Halley (September 15, 2014). A Smarter Charter: Finding What Works for Charter Schools and Public Education. New York: Teachers College Press. p. 186. ISBN 0807755796. 
  3. ^ School website, retrieved online 2011-04-21 Archived 2011-05-07 at WebCite
  4. ^ Edutopia article, retrieved online 2011-04-21
  5. ^ a b Federis, Marnette (September 2, 2006). "Questions for Larry Rosenstock". Voice of San Diego. Voice of San Diego. Retrieved 8 August 2014. 
  6. ^ Bellanca, James A. (2013). The focus factor : 8 essential twenty-first century thinking skills for deeper student learning. New York, NY: Teachers College Press. ISBN 080775448X. 
  7. ^ School website, retrieved online 2011-04-21
  8. ^ "Real World, San Diego: Hands-On Learning at High Tech High" article by Grace Rubenstein in Edutopia, 2008-12-03, retrieved online 2011-04-28
  9. ^ Great Schools article by Marcia Manna in San Diego Magazine, 2006-07, retrieved online 2011-04-28
  10. ^ Pearlman: TECHNOS, Vol. 11, No. 1 • Spring 2002, retrieved online 2011-04-21
  11. ^ School website, retrieved online 2011-03-21
  12. ^ "Bill Gates Gets Schooled", Business Week article, 2006-06-26, retrieved online 2011-04-28
  13. ^ Architects of Achievement, retrieved online 2011-04-21
  14. ^ New Vista Design, David Stephen resume, retrieved online 2011-04-21
  15. ^ McLaughlin, Evan (17 June 2006). "A Sea Change from Chalkboards and Textbooks: Questions for Jay Vavra". Voice of San Diego. Retrieved 17 August 2014. 
  16. ^ The Students of High Tech High, San Diego. "San Diego Bay Study". San Diego Bay Study. Retrieved 17 August 2014. 
  17. ^ The Students of High Tech High, San Diego. "San Diego Bay Study (Overview)". San Diego Bay Study. Archived from the original on 19 August 2014. Retrieved 17 August 2014. 
  18. ^ The Students of High Tech High, San Diego. "San Diego Bay Study (Books)". San Diego Bay Study. Archived from the original on 19 August 2014. Retrieved 17 August 2014. 
  19. ^ "The Blood Bank Project: Team Teaching". Buck Institute for Education. Buck Institute for Education. Retrieved 17 August 2014. 
  20. ^ Price, David (10 November 2013). Open: how we'll work, live and learn in the future. England: Crux. p. 177. ISBN 1909979015. 
  21. ^ Apple, Michael; Beane, James (30 January 2007). Democratic Schools, Second Edition: Lessons in Powerful Education. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann. ISBN 0325010757. 
  22. ^ Shaddox, Bobby (6 June 2013). Co-design: A Democratic Approach to Project-Based Learning. CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform. ISBN 1490380159. 
  23. ^ Govoni, Jeff (Spring 2014). "Raptors for Rodents". UnBoxed: A Journal of Adult Learning in Schools (11). Archived from the original on 2015-01-24. 
  24. ^ a b Brown, Dwane (5 April 2013). "High Tech High Team Headed to Robotics Championship". KPBS San Diego Public Radio & TV: News, Arts & Culture. KPBS San Diego Public Radio & TV: News, Arts & Culture. Retrieved 19 August 2014. 
  25. ^ Bogo, Jennifer. "FIRST Robotics 2010 Championship Photo Gallery". Popular Mechanics. Popular Mechanics. Retrieved 19 August 2014. 
  26. ^ a b Magee, Maureen (1 May 2013). "SD school world robotics champion". U-T San Diego. U-T San Diego. Retrieved 19 August 2014. 
  27. ^ Fox 5 San Diego (10 May 2013). "Nathan Fletcher speaks about High Tech High’s robotics championship". Fox 5 San Diego. Fox 5 San Diego. Retrieved 19 August 2014. 
  28. ^ Staff and contribution. "HTH Point Loma gets spotlight in Macy’s Parade for robotics prowess". San Diego Community Newspaper Group. Retrieved 19 August 2014. 
  29. ^ National Resource Center on Charter School Finance & Governance. "Implementing an In-House Approach to Teacher Training and Professional Development" (PDF). University of Southern California Center on Educational Governance. National Resource Center on Charter School Finance & Governance. Retrieved 1 August 2014. 
  30. ^ a b Alpert, Emily. "High Tech's Hiring 'Bonanza'". Voice of San Diego. Voice of San Diego. Retrieved 21 August 2014. 
  31. ^ Shields, Regis Anne; Ireland, Nicole; City, Elizabeth; Derderian, Julie; Miles, Karen Hawley. "Case Studies of Leading Edge Small Urban High Schools" (PDF). Education Resource Strategies. Education Resource Strategies. Retrieved 21 August 2014. 
  32. ^ Robelen, Erik W. "Learning Where They Teach". Education Week. Education Week. Retrieved 30 July 2014. 
  33. ^ Husbands, Jennifer (Spring 2008). "Alternative Routes to Teacher Certification". UnBoxed: A Journal of Adult Learning in Schools (1). Retrieved 12 August 2014. 
  34. ^ "Educator Training". High Tech High website. Retrieved 12 August 2014. 
  35. ^ Barnett, Barry. "Teaching Quality and the Question of Preparation". Education Week. Education Week. Retrieved 12 August 2014. 
  36. ^ Wurdinger, Scott D. (9 December 2011). Time for Action: Stop Teaching to the Test and Start Teaching Skills. Washington, D.C.: R&L Education. p. 91. ISBN 978-1610486606. 
  37. ^ "High Tech High? San Diego's charter organization now offers a grad school". San Diego Union-Tribune. 24 August 2008. Retrieved 12 August 2014. 
  38. ^ "High Tech High website". High Tech High. Retrieved 12 August 2014. 
  39. ^ "High Tech High Graduate School of Education". California Charter Schools Association. California Charter Schools Association. Retrieved 12 August 2014. 
  40. ^ "Statement of Accreditation Status High Tech High Graduate School of Education". WASC Senior College and University Commission. WASC Senior College and University Commission. Retrieved 12 August 2014. 
  41. ^ Rubenstein, Grace. "What's Not on the Test: How to Turn Assessment into Learning A Q&A with High Tech High teaching guru Rob Riordan.". Edutopia. Edutopia. Retrieved 12 August 2014. 
  42. ^ Price, David (10 November 2013). OPEN: How we'll work, live and learn in the future. United Kingdom: Crux Publishing. ISBN 1909979015. 
  43. ^ Kopietz, Courtni; Harrington, Samantha; Lodaya, Hetali. "High Tech High philosophy encourages project-based learning". STEMwire. Retrieved 12 August 2014. 
  44. ^ Wagner, Tony; Compton, Robert A. (17 April 2012). Creating innovators: the making of young people who will change the world. New York: Scribner. p. 192. ISBN 145161151X. 
  45. ^ Wagner, Tony; Compton, Robert A. (17 April 2012). Creating innovators: the making of young people who will change the world. New York: Scribner. pp. 192–3. ISBN 1451611498. 
  46. ^ "HTH Graduate School of Education". HTH Graduate School of Education. Retrieved 12 August 2014. 
  47. ^ "HTH GSE: Leading Schools Program". HTH GSE: Leading Schools Program. Archived from the original on 12 August 2014. Retrieved 12 August 2014. 
  48. ^ Krauss, Jane I.; Boss, Suzanne K. (8 March 2013). Thinking Through Project-Based Learning: Guiding Deeper Inquiry (1 ed.). Newbury Park, CA: Corwin. p. 185. ISBN 978-1452202563. 
  49. ^ "UnBoxed: About Us". UnBoxed: About Us. Retrieved 12 August 2014. 
  50. ^ "UnBoxed: online[ Past Events ]". UnBoxed: online[ Past Events ]. Retrieved 12 August 2014. 
  51. ^ "UnBoxed: online[ Events ]". UnBoxed: online[ Events ]. 

External links[edit]