This model was implemented as the new high school took shape to prepare students for the world of work and college after high school. The model for this comprehensive 9-12 high school was chosen because it will be the 1 and only high school in the school district, and we had the opportunity to start it from the inception of the school. The model does continue to change as we engage in ongoing action research and cycles of innovation. Blended Learning is new, and changing at all times. Our faculty and staff motto is "embrace ambiguity," and we truly mean that in the "growth mindset" kind of way. We expect ourselves to challenge the status quo, innovate, and adapt.
The biggest challenge was convincing the community that we were not just experimenting on their children. The model of blended learning, and mastery based grading is something that we continue to have to explain to parents. They did not learn this way, and are sometimes opposed to the philosophy and process. I don't believe we will ever "overcome" but our secret to success lies in our communication. We have regular community update meetings, we have established open lines of communication, and we focus on customer service to our stakeholders. We communicate through multiple electronic and analog means, and we make sure to focus on individuals. Our school's open door policy helps as well. Parents and community members may come and visit classrooms whenever they want, and we are willing to sit and discuss our philosophy openly. We are open to feedback, and constant innovation.
COMMUNICATE! It is important to help people gain access to the research, and to dissect it for them. It is important to get your message out, and to know that people WILL have a problem with it. You'll need to have thick skin at times, and be willing to overcome the immunity to change. Be willing to stick to your plan, and to communicate clearly to your community, your district administration and board, to your students and to your faculty and staff. This is exhausting work for professional educators as well. The tendency will be to fall back on old habits, so you will have to insist on moving forward by encouraging and spending the time necessary to help them move forward.
Both of the focus areas that I chose are related to one another. I have experience in planning, designing, implementing and running blended learning programs. I have the opportunity to continue in my current environment where I was formerly a board member in the district, then hired as the first principal of the high school, and then implemented and am currently running the blended learning high school. I have practical application experience to help people understand the challenges, pitfalls, and ongoing work that needs to be done to sustain the implementation of a blended learning environment.
Mountain House High School,a four-year comprehensive high school, is the first and only planned comprehensive high school in the Lammersville Unified School District. Opened in the Fall of the 2014-2015 school year, Mountain House High School initially began serving freshman and sophomores, and through the amazing growth of the community now serves all grade levels.
Located just outside the San Francisco Bay Area over the Altamont Pass, Mountain House High School serves students in the new master planned community of Mountain House, the rural areas outside of Tracy known as Lammersville, and a small rural area of Alameda County. Our district and school will continue to grow as the master planned community continues its exponential growth. Mountain House has become a bedroom commuter community for working professionals in the Bay Area looking for affordable housing, great schools, and a community with the hometown feel.
Mountain House High School's planned academic programs aim to continue the tradition of academic excellence that was established by the local K-8 schools over the last 100 years. Currently our district is one of the highest scoring public school district's in the San Joaquin County, and is poised to become an academic powerhouse as the high school adds its academic programs. Students and parents can expect a rigorous curriculum that is designed to prepare students for college and career readiness in a 21st century learning environment. MHHS opened its doors with one of the county's first 1:1 Chromebook initiatives, and a blended learning environment that adopts innovative teaching and learning methodology. The addition of a Mastery Based Teaching and Learning Environment where 90% of a student's grade is based on mastery assignments and assessments, students and parents can be assured that they are being prepared for the competitive and ever changing face of college and careers.
Contact: Ben Fobert
Mountain House High School
1090 South Central Parkway
Mountain House, California
70% of students received a passing score on the End of Course assessments.