Making a Large High School Feel Small
Why this approach?
- We recognize that students had a wide-range of experiences with remote learning during the pandemic. In order to meet students where they are, we are implementing classroom practices that are flexible, personalized, and promote growth over time.
- We recognize that, in a traditional classroom setting, it is not possible to meet the needs of all students at the same time - when all students are engaging in the same lesson. This approach can lead to disengagement from students who are ready to move ahead as well as those who may need more time on a specific skill.
- We recognize that metacognitive skills are important for future success in both college and career. These skills include: organization, planning, reflection on learning processes, and working to improve when given actionable feedback.
What will this look like in the classroom?
- Self-Paced Units - Units of instruction have a defined beginning and endpoint. Students will progress through each unit as they master concepts, moving on when they are ready for the next objective. This means that, within a class, students will be working on diffferent objectives at the same time, on their own pace. Teachers will communicate expectations for completion of classroom activities using the terms: Must Do, Should Do, and Aspire to Do. Teachers will monitor student pace of work and will communicate with students, and parents, when students are not on track to complete the unit as assigned. Teachers will also work with students to develop progress trackers so that students can monitor their own progression through each unit.
- Mastery-Based Grading Practices - In addition to traditional assignments, mastery checks are an important part of each unit. These check-ins allow both students and teachers to know when a concept is mastered and the student is ready to move to the next objective. The most important part of the mastery check process is actionable feedback from teacher to student. This process allows the student to re-engage with the material and make corrections and show growth while also improving their grade.
- Instructional Videos - Teachers will create instructional videos that are used to convey the most essential information in a manner that is always accessible to the student. The videos are an important component of the self-paced unit as they allow students to access teacher presentation material for both review and working ahead. The instructional videos are best thought of as the "note-taking" portion of a lesson. The teacher-made videos do not replace teacher and student interaction or small and/or whole group class discussions, labs, or other activities.
As we have stated in our vision - We are a deeply connected community that elevates the voice and identity of each student through a personalized learning environment that is authentic, responsive and relevant. We are excited to implement these instructional strategies in an effort to personalize learning for each student and increase the amount of one-on-one and small group instruction taking place in each classroom, every day.