Presentation to The Foundation for Public Education Supporting PVUSD

High Tech High
form of secondary education to come
by Jeff Billings

Founded on...
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“No one knows who I am” “I don’t see the relevance”

Consistent survey answers by high school students across the country, when asked about their high school experience

Nestled in San Diego, in four years, the model has developed to opening a series of partner and sibling schools

High Tech High

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High Tech High High Tech Middle High Tech Elem. High Tech High International Partner schools in Texas, Chicago, Georgia, New Mexico
High Tech High International

High Visibility
Oprah Winfrey Show Funding from Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Governors, Business Leaders, Educational Leaders Press

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When you walk the facility, you see learning, real learning occurring One fo their common intellectual threads is based on John Dewey, “Understanding derives from activity” Everything is about “projects”

HTH has reversed a 100-year history of separating technical and academic subjects in American high schools, by linking the two in a project-based environment. All HTH students use technology to engage in scientific, mathematical, literary, historical, and artistic pursuits.

Based on Research
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High Tech High was started by several education reformers who had compiled years of research on what it takes They have remained true to their guiding design principles They’re what I call “education entrepreneurs”

Three Design Principles
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Personalization Common Intellectual Mission Adult World Connection

Small schools (<400 students) Small classes (<25) Advisor (teacher) assigned to every student and stays for all four years Advisor visits home at least once a year Team teaching - interdisciplinary - language/physics Loop teaching - 9/10 and 11/12

Common Intellectual Mission
Talk the same talk - Walk the talk Live no distinction between “college prep” and “vocational ed” The “Curriculum” is projects - Project Based Learning All students demonstrate and defend their learning through “Presentation of Learning” Grade level advancement - Transitional Performance of Learning

Adult World Connection
Some of the best learning occurs outside of school 9th and 10th graders - “shadow” adult programs 11th grade semester internship (two afternoons a week) with a business or agency Substantial Senior Project on topic of interest or concern to the community

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Chartered by San Diego City School District Random drawings of applications matching SDUSD zip codes They’ve compiled impressive results

Three years running 100% of graduates go to college 80% - 4 year university 20% - 2 year college 50% - 1st generation attendees

3 years in a row, awarded ten, scores of 10 - only school in San Diego to do so score in top level on state standardized tests scored 2nd out of 100 similar demographic schools in California

When I visited with some of their graduates (now in college), I asked them how college was going. A statement that stood out to me, was “college courses are like projects and we know how to do those”.

Presentations of Learning (POL’s) are embedded everywhere Every student maintains a digital portfolio Mobile, wireless, ubiquitous computing Mechanical technology (sabre saws, drills, glue guns, materials, etc.) Traditional September - May calendar High School Starts at 9am Teachers meet every day from 8am to 9am to assess, plan, develop HTH first school in California granted the charter to certify their own teachers

Digital Portfolios



HTH ignores the march of “high stakes testing” HTH focuses on continual “authentic assessment” - continual rubrics of real life applicability From information to knowledge to third order learning (engineering)

Habits of Mind
Students Are Constantly Reminded

Significance - Why is it important? Perspective - What is the point of view? Evidence - How do you know? Connection - How does it apply? Supposition - What if it were different?

Every student ponders his and other’s work with the above habits, but can only critique if the criticism is helpful, specific and kind

Circular Seminar Halls
Following HTH facility design principles, the high school includes areas for; commons, specialty labs, project rooms, shared teacher offices, outdoor learning spaces, galleries, multipurpose seminar rooms, and support offices. From the entire village housing High Tech Middle, High Tech International and High Tech High, down to the smallest production area, it’s all about learning.

HTH International with Country Logos

Open, Lighted, Commons

Shared Teacher Workrooms

Student Tables in Team Seating

HTH brings technology and curricular content together in relevant project-based learning HTH focuses on knowing their clients, from small school and class size, to going to the student’s home HTH bridges the student world to the adult environment and vice versa The HTH model of secondary education is here