Jose Hernandez started with a three-station rotation model in all classes. In this model, students rotated between 1) a direct instruction station, 2) independent practice station with on grade level work, and 3) fill in the gap station with differentiated practice. This model is still leveraged in many of our classes. Our model has evolved to account for the different ability levels of our teachers and the needs of our curriculum. We built a continuum for teachers on how their blended level implementation should look like based on their skill level. The math curriculum also demands a lot of group work and math talks which was more conducive in a two-station rotation setting.
One of the biggest challenges was implementing a blended learning model with a staff that had a significant population of inexperienced teachers. Implementing a three-station rotation model requires a high degree of classroom management, organization, and planning skills. Several of our teachers struggled to implement the model given their starting ability level. We created a continuum this year of what a blended classroom should look like based on the teacher’s ability level. This ensured each teacher was working at their level with new teachers working on foundational skills like classroom management and organization while more experienced teachers were pushing personalization in the classroom by pulling small groups based on data. This also provided a framework for our instructional coaches on which areas to focus on with their teachers.
Make sure to really think through how you are going to support your teachers. Shifting towards a blended learning classroom is a major shift. Make sure you know why you are making this shift and get teachers invested. From there, do an overview of where your teachers are in terms of their ability level and develop support structures based on this.
Personalization PD: As explained above, we moved from a one size fits all model for teachers to one where teachers’ implementation of blended learning looks different based on their ability level. In addition, during PD, different PD sessions are offered based on a teacher's level so they receive the right type of support.
Redefining Roles: Alpha will help resolve the teacher shortage by recruiting and developing highly qualified, diverse educators who reflect the rich diversity of our students and are committed to working in underserved communities throughout San Jose. These resident teachers work under the guidance of a lead teacher so they are familiar with our model. They are also leveraged to pull small groups so students get more personalized instruction.
Building on the strong academic results of their first school (Blanca Alvarado Middle School), Alpha Public Schools opened a second middle school in the Fall of 2014 and Alpha: José Hernández welcomed its first 6th grade class. Like all Alpha schools, students at Alpha: José Hernández Middle School participate in a cutting-edge blended learning model.
Alpha: José Hernández develops students into lifelong learners who will enter high school with the academic skills, strength of character, and passion for learning to succeed in and graduate from college.
Contact: Jin-Soo Huh
Contact Title: Personalized Learning Manager
Alpha: Jose Hernandez School
1601 Cunningham Ave
San Jose, California