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Model Overview

Program Overview

Year Launched
6 - 12
Blended Grades

Implementation Q & A

When you first implemented blended learning, why did you choose that particular model? (has your model changed? why?)

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.

What was one of your biggest challenges when going blended, and how did you overcome it?

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.

What's the one piece of advice you'd give to emerging blended-learning programs?

- 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.

Select up to two focus areas you feel that you demonstrate leadership in, and tell us why here:

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.

Blended Subjects

English Language Arts
Social Studies

School Overview

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.

Ratings Source: GreatSchools

Community Rating

GreatSchools Rating


out of 10

School Contact

Contact: Michael Shapiro

Contact Title: Principal

Highland Academy Charter School
5530 E Northern Lights Blvd ,
Lower Lake, California
United States

Telephone: (707)-994-3387

Highland Academy Charter School's Website


Total Students

Student Ethnicity


Blended Program Launched 2003