Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Notes from NASSP 2013...

How Removing Barriers Leads to Transformational Change
WM. E. Hay Composite High School, Stettler, Alberta Canada

WE. Hay is a high school that is seeking ways to make learning more accessible and teaching more effective. The leaders of this high school presented some great information at NASSP and I wanted to share some of the ideas and strategies that were shared. 

- Removing time from the equation was important. Can we 
  standardize the amount of time it takes to learn?
- Does time equal learning or is this based on the industrialized 
  model?
- The school utilizes some flex during which students can make a 
  more active role in their learning.
- The school's mixed grade level advisory stays the same over the 
  4 years of High School.
- When considering changing something at the school, the question 
  that is always asked is, "Are changes meaningful and 
  sustainable?"
- Principal quote, "High Schools are not broken, just becoming 
  obsolete".
- Are we really making connections with our students?
- The high school has longer blocks of time based on requests by 
  the students and these are not math and science normally.
- Teachers feel more validated when administrators give them the 
  freedom to share ideas.
- The school has a project week when students have longer blocks 
  of time in each class.
- The school is focused on building relationships and 
  personalizing education.
- The school develops an IEP for all students. (This is equal to 
  our 4 year plan).
- The school pairs student with older students based on 
  interests.
- The school believes that teachers do not teach in isolation, 
  the staff collaboration is essential.
* Love this idea! Advisory collaboration- a teacher pairs with 
  another teacher and they take turns going to 
  PD.
- The school has their academy students prepare a portfolio to 
  present to community members in their field of interest.
- They novice teachers are on a 2 day cycle with a veteran 
  teacher. They stay a day behind so that when a new concept is 
  being introduced, the veteran teacher can provide suggestions 
  to the novice teacher for the following day.
- The school has a student support program similar to our ER.
- This school has English and PE classes that are a combo class 
  with either a fine art of math
  Ex. Drama/English, PE/Math, etc...

More notes to come from other outstanding speakers and presenters!!

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