Monday, 9 November 2009

After lunch I attended a really brilliant session by Larry Rosenstock CEO at High Tech High...

"Planning is for pessimists"
In an amazing non-stop outpouring of passion, enthusiasm, energy and creativity, Larry argued that understanding arises from activity and that they believe that young people should be designing, inventing, building and creating things.High Tech High's key principles are all about
  • integration:
  • integration of cultures and classes;
  • integration of head and hand;
  • integration of pre and post secondary learning;
  • integration of private and public sectors.

High Tech High began in 2000 as a single charter high school launched by a coalition of San Diego business leaders and educators. It has evolved into an integrated network of schools housing a comprehensive teacher certification program and a new, innovative Graduate School of Education. They believe in a collaborative approach with small teams of teachers working together who have complete control of what they offer their young people; like in Finland they are not into command and control from the centre but believe that you should empower, engage and trust colleagues at teh front line to powerfully match work to students interests and needs. Larry believes that you don't learn anything by studying it, you have to do it and be it. Behaving like a biologist, a photographer, a writer, a designer encourages young people to do the job. They encourage their young people to work hard and have fun!

Four design principles underlie the work of High Tech High: personalization, adult world connection, common intellectual mission, and teacher as designer and reverses the separations of conventional schooling by integrating students, connecting school and community, and linking technical and academic studies. They believe that if you want to build a good learning environment for students, it must also be a good learning place for adults. The school measures and assesses the quality of the staff by the quality of the work their students produce and has achieved extraordinary success with a diverse student population, admitted by a post-code based lottery. High Tech High also has a fairly unique approach to staff development and trainingbased on the fact that ideas, energy and inspiration are high at the beginning of the day. They start work an hour before their students to provide 180 hours of training and development time every year for all their colleagues.

You can find out more about this extraordinary school by visiting

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