Thursday, 24 January 2013

San Diego Update

While our students and colleagues write exams and battle the cold in Ontario, we are enjoying balmy temperatures and (mostly) sunny skies, walking to and from school every day.
The school we are attending is about two blocks from the hotel, and we have to be at school by 8:30 every morning, which is where we are served breakfast.

There are about 80 people attending the course, which has two tracks running simultaneously -- presentations and workshops or opportunities to wander among the various buildings on campus observing classrooms and talking to teachers and students.
One of the things that makes High Tech High remarkable in the American educational system is the fact that it is a charter school -- it is funded by the government but its founders were able to implement their vision for education that was authentic, hands-on and relevant. The students who attend this school are grateful to be here -- they have won the lottery, literally. While there are roughly 1,000 students between the three high schools, more than 8,000 apply every year, and the students are randomly selected by lottery.
During our stay, student ambassadors have toured us around campus, teachers have described the projects they have done with their students, and we have been awed by the amount of art and student work that is on display.
Teachers at High Tech High teach in teams, giving students opportunity to combine studies in science and humanities and leading them to produce innovative projects that use arts and technology to demonstrate science and math. We have seen beautiful artifacts, paintings, sculptures, podcasts, videos and many other examples of student ingenuity and creativity.
While High Tech High is doing groundbreaking and inspiring work, we are also realizing that so are the staff and students of Smithville Christian High School. There are lots of great ideas that we can implement at our school, but Smithville Christian is remarkable too. Our Portfolio Days, Sciencepalooza, Trails Project and the many other ways in which students are doing project-based learning are already innovative and authentic. We will be coming home with exciting ideas, but we are also grateful for the blessing of a talented and dedicated staff and students who seek to glorify God in all that they do.

Greetings from San Diego! We look forward to seeing you soon!
Mr. Harris, Mr. Lammers, Mrs. Greenham, Mr. Gerryts, Mr. T and Mrs. B