Overview of the Cleveland Infotech Infusion Project

The Cleveland Infotech Infusion (CITI) is an exciting new project designed to increase the motivation, retention, and education at Cleveland High School in Seattle, one of neediest high schools in the state. CITI’s goal is to expose Cleveland High School students to technology and real-world learning opportunities so that they will become independent learners with the attitude, skills, and knowledge to succeed. CITI is a partnership among Cleveland High School, the Alliance for Education, higher education institutions, and the business community. CITI is focused on four strategies: • • Establish a Career Academy focused on technology for 150 students in the 10th-12th grades. Establish a structured, supportive, personalized learning community for ninth graders, through the implementation of a program that integrates Language Arts, Social Studies, Science, and a required Introduction to Technology course to ensure that all 9th graders have the technology skills needed to do their academic work, e.g. research on the Internet, write reports, and do presentations. Provide Cleveland with a major technology infrastructure upgrade. Provide high-quality teacher training for the use of technology in the classroom.

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Why Cleveland High School? Cleveland High School serves the diverse populations of the South Seattle neighborhoods of Beacon Hill, Georgetown, South Park and the Rainier Valley. It is located just across 1-5 from Boeing Field. Its main building dates from the later 1920s; several other buildings and 11 portable classrooms have been added over the years. More than fifty percent of its 780 students receive free or reduced priced lunches, indicating the high rate of poverty among students. A similar percent reside with only one parent or live independently. By ethnicity, the students are: 46% Asian and Pacific Islander; 31% African American; 9% Latino; 2% Native American and 12% Caucasian. Most of the large population of immigrant students have limited English proficiency - at least 12% are enrolled in Bilingual Education programs. The school has an unusually high proportion of Special Education students (12%), almost all of whom suffer from learning or behavioral disabilities. Only a third of students attending Cleveland selected the school as their first choice. Cleveland students have among the lowest standardized test scores in the state. Results of tests conducted by the Seattle School District and the State of Washington - WASL, ITBS and the Direct Writing Assessment, among others show a consistent pattern of students entering Cleveland and exiting Cleveland scoring far below the norm. A relatively small proportion enter four-year colleges immediately upon graduation. Other objective measurements - rates of absenteeism, of disciplinary actions, of transience, of failure to progress toward graduation all add to a picture of a school facing tremendous challenges. It would be easy to write off Cleveland, but a closer look shows a school that is worth supporting. It is not a dangerous or violent school, and the teachers and administration are absolutely committed to transforming it over the next few years. The students there have grown up on the wrong side of the digital divide, and yet they have shown tremendous interest and achievement when given modern technology and engaging classes. Description of the Infotech Infusion Project In early 2000 representatives of the Career Academy Support Network from UC Berkeley were in Seattle exploring the possibility of creating new Career Academies within high schools in the Seattle School District. Career Academies, also called Partnership Academies, are a school restructuring effort championed throughout the country over the last 30 years to provide students with small learning communities that integrate rigorous college-prep curriculum with a career theme. This model has proven 1

highly effective at increasing engagement and performance of high-risk students. Cleveland staff responded, believing that such a program could act as a catalyst for positive change for the entire school, and chose to create an Infotech Academy for the 10th through 12th grades. As the project took shape, it was realized that there was a lack of technical infrastructure and student preparation for immediate implementation of an academy, and the broader Infotech Infusion was born. The goal of the Cleveland Infotech Infusion Project (CITI) is to transform Cleveland from one of the lowest performing schools in the state into a high school in which all students meet or exceed state standards. At Cleveland, the Infotech Academy integrates advanced technology coursework with core subject areas such as English and science; students spend at least half the school day in this “school within a school.” Teachers in the Academy share planning time, are leaders in developing Academy curriculum, and develop close connections with their students. Students in the Infotech Academy have a variety of opportunities to see and experience the connection between what they are learning in school and the realities of the career world. These include exposure to and relationships with industry professionals who serve as guest speakers, hosts for job shadows, mentors and internship supervisors. During their internships, students are challenged to improve their communication skills and see the connection between learning in school and “real life.” In addition, students are exposed to careers in technology through job shadows. In their junior year, all students are assigned a mentor from the high tech field. Between the junior and the senior year, each student completes a paid internship, working for an industry partner. Upon graduation, students are expected to be competitive in the job market and to qualify for admittance to programs at both two- and four-year colleges. The CITI project has brought much needed leadership and executive management skills into Cleveland through its Steering Committee, which includes members from local business, two Seattle Community College Deans, a professor from the University of Washington Department of Computer Science, Social Venture Partners, the Alliance for Education, Seattle Chamber of Commerce, Seattle School District officials, and Cleveland teachers, administrators, students and a parent representative. The committee has been highly active and engaged in both the day-to-day running of the program and in defining the program’s long-term vision and strategy. There has been some funding for the program from the District, and the over time, the school is incorporating elements of the program into its baseline budget. However, the needs of the school and this project far surpass the capacity of the public school system to support it. To date, funding has come from the Digital Blackboard Foundation, Social Venture Partners, Stuart Foundation, Allen Foundation, Ordinary People Foundation, InfoSpace, Puget Sound Center for Technology and individual contributors. Progress to Date CITI is in the third year of its five-year, phased, implementation plan. In the first year, the project focused on the 9th grade. A new 9th grade lab was created and a new required 9th grade course, Introduction to Technology, was created to ensure that all 9th graders had the basic skills required to do their academic work. Mini labs were also installed in some of the 9th grade core classes and curriculum was developed to integrated technology into these courses. In the 2001 - 2002 academic year, CITI continued to improve the 9th grade program and enrolled 58 students in the 10th grade Infotech Career Academy. The academy students started the year with an overnight retreat. They took 2 courses in Web Design and the curriculum was integrated with their Biology course. For example, all students built a web site on nutrition. They went to Microsoft and visited the Xbox team on a field trip and conducted job shadows at Coinstar, the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, and Immunex. Three parent nights were held to inform and involve the student’s parents in the academy. In the 2002 - 2003 academic year, the 11th grade portion of the Infotech Career Academy is being implemented, including a mentorship and internship program for the 11th graders. New academic courses will include database technology and introductory software programming. The following year, the 12th grade classes will be initiated and the first Academy class will graduate. 2

The infrastructure upgrade has proceeded at a breath taking pace. Two years ago, 450 10 Cleveland had only a few, low-end 400 40 computers, no local area network, and no 350 120 high-speed Internet connection. Today, 300 127 there is at least one workstation with 250 104 network/internet access in every 140 200 classroom; four networked computer labs; 42 74 143 150 six mini-labs; a local area network; and 60 two servers with backup and emergency 100 150 118 power supply. Cleveland has its own T1 50 80 80 line for high-speed Internet access. There 0 is a student to computer ratio of 2.3 to 1. 2000 2001 2002 2003 There are not only significantly more computers, but the quality of computers has increased significantly (see chart for details). In addition, CITI funds two part-time computer technicians to be at Cleveland to maintain and support this infrastructure.

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Technology in the classroom is only useful if it is integrated into the curriculum. From the beginning, a core focus of CITI has been teacher training and curriculum development. The teacher training hours increased from 100 in the first year of the program to almost 400 last year. Our vision is that by SY 05-06 all the teachers will have the skills and integration knowledge to use technology to enhance student learning. This means providing teachers with both the technology skills to create the curriculum and the experience to know when the technology adds to their lessons. A secondary vision is that teachers will document their use of technology integration to show interested parties that Cleveland is using technology to help students and is a flagship in the District for technology integration. One of the most exciting parts of the project is its ability to connect the community with Cleveland High School. CITI has brought over 60 volunteers into the school. Last year we had over 20 guest speakers in the school and more than 10 so far this year. Guest speakers go into a classroom (usually of 25-30 students), talk to the students about their profession, and do an activity that teaches the students something about their work. For example, Microsoft Vice President Robbie Bach described Xbox’s business model, its competition (Playstation, GameCube), the importance of attracting game developers, and the decision process the game developers go through. He then asked the students to be game developers with a $10 million budget and decide which games for which consoles they would build. Volunteers have also contributed as teaching assistants going into the classrooms on a weekly basis to work 1-1 with students, as technology coaches for teachers, hosting job shadows, and helping CITI with fund raising, marketing, and evaluation. In each of the past two summers, 15 Cleveland students participated in internships, gaining valuable work experience and exposure to career possibilities. Positive momentum is building throughout the school. For the first time in decades, Cleveland started this year with a waiting list of students wanting to go to Cleveland. Two years ago, teachers were reluctant to bring technology into their classrooms; now, the teachers keep asking for more. Through the academy parent nights, parents are coming into the school more. CITI funds have kept the computer lab open after school and there are always students in the lab working on projects and homework. Outcome data is being collected to see the quantitative impact of this program on student achievement, and the early signs are good - class attendance and assignment completion are up among Academy students. Finally, CITI is serving as a model for change within Cleveland. Working with the Gates Foundation, Cleveland is planning to turn the whole school into a set of small learning communities, similar to the Infotech Career Academy. CITI’s steering committee chair Bill Ellis was invited to join Cleveland’s Building Leadership Team that is responsible for charting the course for Cleveland’s transformation. By inciting a change in beliefs and attitudes about what Cleveland is and what its students can achieve, CITI has begun to tip the scales towards real change.

January 1, 2003 3