Me, Karina, Carla, Sally and Megan.
Knowing the Learner:
There was a real sense throughout the school that the staff were very responsive to the learners in the school. The school is situated very close to the Mexican border and therefore the students in the school reflected a very Hispanic demographic. The Mexican culture was celebrated through learning both in the school and within the community. Students were encouraged to seek leaning opportunities to engage and celebrate in their community and to extend the learning outside of the school classrooms. The students talked about how they felt included in their learning and that their prior knowledge and world views were acknowledged but also stretched and challenged.
Values and Dispositions:
Compared to the other High Tech High Schools visited this school very much encompassed a values education in a more formal and visible way. The students talked about the values "habits of heart and mind" and outlined how these values were important to their learning process. The values were visible throughout the school and some teachers also used dispositions to review and evaluate the learning in classrooms.
Careers and Pathways:
This school very much targeted pathways and internships. Everywhere I seemed to look there was a focus on Colleges and how to get there. Karina and Carla spoke very proudly of how 95% of students were accepted and went to College, the remaining 5% went in to family business or the military. The school actively encouraged students to apply to Colleges and to be critical engagers in their pathways. There were organised visits to colleges and internships to help students to decide what they reallywanted to do. Partnership business were created to support the internships. Over their time in high school students are able to try things out to ensure that they were in fact making informed decisions about what they wanted to do. Karina spoke about a College she had intended on going to but that after visiting it she decided it was not really the place for her. She changed her mind based on actually seeing and visiting the College.
I feel very affirmed with the decisions we have been making to include internships in our programme from year 11. The connections we make with our community is going to be critical to the success of this for our students.
Each flag here indicates a students and the college they have been accepted by and chosen to attend.
Extended curriculum opportunities:
Unlike the other High Tech High Campus, Chula Vista provides opportunities and encourages students to belong to clubs. These include a range of sports and activities that would not normally be on offer in the regular school day. I suppose I thought of this like the Rototuna Junior High School Flight time and sports programme combined. These were provided after school from 4:30 until 6:30pm. The senior students ran and led the 'hubs' for the middle school in this time also. The senior programme was called CRASH and involved outside people as well as teachers coming in to lead the programmes.
In conclusion I have taken so much from this trip and the visits to these schools. More than anything I feel affirmed in the decisions we are making and the reasons why we are heading in the direction we are wanting to with our curriculum. This trip has been absolutely valuable for us for a number of reasons.
- We can run integrated programmes in a deep and meaningful way to allow for students to be extended in their knowledge through contextualised learning.
- We can provide rich experiences of learning in collaboration with our community.
- We can ensure that students constantly receive feedback on their learning through multiple forms of assessment to make sure that they are progressing and being challenged to attain to high levels
- We can offer opportunities for students to experience multiple career pathways, ensuring that students are aware of what they need to do to and attain so that they can successfully navigate their own pathways.
- We can deliver a curriculum that provides and encourages both academic and personal success.
My job is to make sure that my team are skilled and prepared to make all of this happen. I believe that we can I trust that I have the right people to be able to provide the best for our students at Rototuna Senior High School.