It’s Day Three of this trip, and my mind is swirling around the common themes I’ve heard so far:
- The value of sustained thinking. Every school I’ve been to has developed their schedule in a way that keeps students engaged with a content area or learning experience for at least two hours at a time. As a team, we’ve experienced this value ourselves. Being able to step away from the hustle and bustle of every day life has given us freedom to sustain our thinking on a topic for long periods of time. How can we offer opportunities for W-SR students to sustain thinking to get to deep thinking?
- Reducing the number of students any one teacher is responsible for. This, again, has been central in every single school we’ve been in. We’ve seen two-teacher teams with 58 students, one teacher with 30 students for all content areas and all four years, and everything in between. How can we modify the schedule or arrangement of W-SRHS to reduce the number of students any teacher is responsible for?
- One size does not fit all. We’ve seen programs we love and programs that we don’t so much love, but what we have learned so clearly is that one kind of program does not meet the needs of every student. How do we re-imagine our comprehensive high school to offer different pathways and experiences for different students? ...and I don't mean tracking.
- Outsourcing rote learning to technology. If we identify the rote, but necessary things in our curriculum, we can use tech based resources to "teach" and "assess" those things, freeing up the teacher to engage directly with students on deeper and more engaging things.