In our first year 2003-2004: students were writing rubrics for their own learning standards. Then the teachers helped write them. Because student voice and choice was always a critical component at Highland, a blended model that allowed for an element of "anywhere, anytime" learning made sense.
We are a small school with a culture of bringing your own device. Things were so individualized from the start, so as technology became more prevalent and dynamic, we naturally moved to use more technology.
Initially, there were large variances in ability within each classroom. We had students who were working at different levels of content in one classroom. We also had very limited access to technology in the early days.
Now with Empower and a 1:1 environment we can put a core group of students who have similar skills in the same group or we can differentiate with varying activities based on readiness.
Standardized technology: Highland had a norm of bring your own device, so we do not have standardized devices. Ancient netbook..
**Training**: New teachers struggle to make the transition - they weren't used to have more autonomy in this new system, which was hard at first. Similarly, many students had that expectation that they would be fed too.
- Make sure the latest technology, best practices and the vision of the school are aligned.
- Create a safe, personalized, nurturing learning environment.
- Stay relevant with younger students.
Through trial and error and ongoing review of our practices, we believe Highland can be a lighthouse for schools just getting started with blended learning. Also, as a school that has engaged in some form of competency-based learning for over a decade, we understand the opportunities and challenges of such a system.
Highland Academy is a 6th-12th grade charter school that promotes competency learning through a student-centered, individualized approach and varied assessment strategies. Students take an active role in their education in order to master core content objectives, as well as the skills necessary for success in the 21st Century. Technology integration and project-based assessments are critical components of Highland's rigorous model. Course placement is based on academic ability, rather than chronological age, ensuring students are challenged each day. Highland's dynamic advisory program supports social-emotional growth and goal-setting, critical attributes necessary to give students voice and choice in their learning.
Contact: Michael Shapiro
Contact Title: Principal
Highland Academy Charter School
5530 E Northern Lights Blvd ,
Lower Lake, California