2011-10-31

On the Map

After talking with several more prospective families last week, it's clear the high school is becoming more visible.  The vision of combining a school with Cultural institutions is really putting us on the Map...

...the CultureMap.

2011-10-24

Who needs an English major?


From American RadioWorks
The most popular college major in America these days is business. Some students think it doesn't pay to study philosophy or history. But advocates of liberal arts programs say their graduates are still among the most likely to become leaders, and that a healthy democracy depends on citizens with a broad and deep education.
Listen to the full story (RT- 52:48).  (I suppose you could read it.)


There you'll find these parts:


In a troubled economy, it's harder to make the case for a degree in English, or any college major without an obvious career path. More undergrads are opting for "practical" degrees in business, engineering or nursing.

Declining enrollment and financial problems forced Antioch College to shut its doors in 2008. Now, the 155-year-old college in Yellow Springs, Ohio is reopening with a goal of creating an affordable model for small, liberal arts programs.

Berea College in eastern Kentucky aims to give students from one of the poorest regions in the nation a chance to break out of poverty - by earning liberal arts degrees.

Portland State University is trying to stop students from dropping out by grounding its liberal arts program in the real world. The school's motto: Let Knowledge Serve the City.

Most for-profit institutions focus on degrees in "hard skills" like business, technology and health sciences. But American Public University System is a for-profit, online school that believes the liberal arts can be a money maker.

2011-10-13

Reflections from a high school senior

"I am an 18-year-old senior. I am a product of ineffective schooling."
Alton Lu opens his Huffington Post article with that arrow.
"...my Advanced Placement classes were geared towards "teaching the test." Every day, the teachers would stand before the class and lecture on everything that would appear on the test. "
"In my own AP Calculus class, students complained, asking the age-old question, "When are we ever going to use this?" This elite group of math students still has trouble grasping the application of our many formulas and theorems. The problem is not test scores. We don't even understand what we're learning."
Now consider his Journalism class...
We as a class create a newspaper, conducting interviews ourselves, each of us searching for a unique story. Throughout this entire process, we learn ethics of journalists, AP style, and how to properly interview. Essentially, everyone in the class is a budding journalist. 
Oh, now to Physics...
In contrast, my AP physics class was conducted much like a sermon. Each day would be a lecture on a different topic in which I would hastily scribble notes praying to the physics gods that I would pass the class. It's sad to think now that after so much feverish note taking and sleepless nights, I don't remember Hooke's Law. Nor do I remember the motion equations. I don't even remember what magnetic flux is.
A theme perhaps?  Is all lost?

He's not hopeless; he has ideas:
It's high time that a science class meant actual laboratory work and understanding, not just the fill of laws and theorems that we are forced to remember. Let's have a math class in which we can experience the learning through actual experimentation.
Read the full article.

2011-10-12

How do you improve high school graduation rates?

Purposeful work.


Here's a group of students who changed "most students drop out" into "all of us graduated." And made a mark for themselves along the way.


"People seem to believe... that if you can't learn at a desk in a row, and if you can't take a test, that you're not smart. 
But some people learn better when they're able to go to the shop and see it in action,"

2011-10-05

Teens Benefit From Earlier Bedtimes. Really? Yes.

An Australian Broadcasting Corporation article covers new research that teens who stayed up later and woke up later were not as healthy as their early-to-bed, early-to-rise peers.
Teenagers who stay up late and sleep in...
  • tend to put on more weight than their early-bird peers
  • are one-and-a-half times more likely to be overweight 
  • are two times more likely to be obese
  • are nearly twice as likely to be considered physically inactive 
Dr. Louise Hardy commented that this changes where our focus should be in thinking about teens' sleep:
"It takes off that emphasis that children must have eight or nine hours sleep; it's saying the time in which the child goes to bed is more important," she said.
So do we need to rethink school start times for teenagers as we've been continuing to hear?  Dr. Hardy:
"These calls for the need to change school hours is the wrong strategy; we need to assist families on how to put rules around the family environment without taking a nanny-state approach."
I'm sure the teens would be happy for the 'no nanny state' approach.


Read the full article... 

2011-10-04

The First Day of High School...

Are you a smart, opinionated, down-to-earth, idealistic teenager?  Do you know one?

Head on over to the new Huffington Post High School page.  It's a place to drop off or pick up some pros or cons on your favorite topic.

What's that?  You don't care about anything?  You just want to watch some YouTube videos of people singing?  That's fine.

Or maybe, just think about the next funny show to watch.  That's okay, too.  All are welcome.

2011-10-01

School of the Future Looks Like...

A few months ago KQED asked some noteworthy minds to envision a typical school day in 2020.  Read the headlines below and choose your own adventure! 


(What if they all turn out to be correct and you didn't have to choose?)


You might have read a couple of these before, but maybe not all.  Enjoy! (Click here for the full site.)


School Day of the Future: Learning in 2025

A collaborative project by Knowledgeworks and Collective Invention for Grantmakers for Education

Work or Fun? The Future School Day Blurs the Boundary

Dr. Sugata Mitra’s vision

Future School Day Should Be Based on the Real World

Rob Lippincott, PBS Senior Vice President, Education

Future School Day Encourages Exploration

Curtis Wong, principal researcher at Microsoft focusing on interaction, media, and visualization technologies

Students Learn at Their Own Pace in the Future School Day

Christopher Rush, co-founder of the School of One

Students’ Own Interests Will Drive the School Day of the Future

Karen Cator, the director of education technology and deputy director Steve Midgley, US Dept of Education

Learning Happens Everywhere in the Future School Day

Brian Kuhn, manager of information systems at a school in British Columbia, Canada.  Author of the blog Shift to the Future

Future School Day: Self-Paced Learning, Creating, and Collaborating

Salman Khan, the founder of Khan Academy

Students Will Build Their Own Future School

Dale Dougherty, founder of Maker Faire