Thursday, June 6, 2013

Lessons from High Schools on Educating Students to Succeed in a Changing World

With the increasing national recognition that high schools need to better prepare students to
navigate a changing world and the advent of the more complex Common Core State Standards and the Next
Generation Science Standards, a new report from the National Center on Time & Learning (NCTL) describes how
five innovative high schools are rethinking - and in some cases expanding - how and when learning takes place to
make sure students graduate with the skills and knowledge they need to succeed. Students at these high schools
must not only master grade-level content and standards, but must also develop a set of harder to measure but
equally important skills, such as the ability to solve multi-faceted problems, collaborate with peers, present
ideas orally and in writing, and take ownership and direction of their own learning.

Through a series of case studies the report, Time for Deeper Learning: Lessons from Five High Schools, explores
how the schools invest one of their most fundamental resources – time with students – to meet their goals for
student learning. The schools profiled in the report modify many educational conventions, including the
structure of a school day and year; the length and number of classes taught; the allocation of collaboration and
professional development time for teachers; the ways that students and teachers spend their time together; and
even the settings where learning takes place. In fact, the report finds that the schools organize time to foster,
encourage, and further the dynamic engagement of students and teachers with one another, with the academic
material, and with the wider community.

“The schools we examined reveal just how time intensive it can be to create the positive learning environment
and student experiences needed for students to acquire a full range of deeper learning skills,” said Jennifer
Davis, NCTL’s co-founder and president. “For students living in poverty who are entering high school behind
grade-level, additional time for high-quality learning opportunities is clearly needed if students are going to both master academic content and also build these essential skills.

Time for Deeper Learning describes five priorities that drive and shape learning time across the featured schools.

These five priorities, outlined below, then work in concert to generate a high-quality and highly-relevant
educational experience for students:

1. Building a positive learning environment that fosters self-initiated learning
2. Using an interdisciplinary, project-based approach
3. Engaging in “authentic” assessments of learning and skill development, included self-reflection and peer
4. Connecting students to the “real world”
5. Encouraging teachers to work collaboratively and as deeper learners themselves in pursuit of excellence

The five featured schools examined in the report are: Avalon School (Saint Paul, MN); Codman Academy Charter
Public School (Dorchester, MA); High Tech High Media Arts (San Diego, CA); International Community High
School (Bronx, NY); and New Tech High at Arsenal Tech (Indianapolis, IN).

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