For us, making use of Google Classroom was the easiest place to start. We spent time training our staff on this platform, and many of our staff became Google certified. It was the easiest way to introduce elements of blended learning to our staff.
Currently, one of our biggest challenges with staff has been finding the balance between having too much and not enough technology. This challenge comes directly from our students, who note that in some of their classes, it feels more like they are taking an online class. It is a work in progress to overcome this challenge, but we will do so with additional professional development for teachers on best-practice blended instructional techniques.
My best advice is to start with a small pilot group of teachers and students. Making any change on a small-scale first allows stakeholders to test various aspects of the model in a safe and somewhat controlled environment. Down the road, a successful pilot can also lead to buy-in on a school-wide level when people can see that the model has shown early signs of success.
Sanborn Regional High School is considered by many to be a national leader in the movement to competency-based learning. As Principal of Sanborn, I co-authored a book on this topic in 2017 by Solution Tree to help school leaders make this transition. The book is entitled Breaking From Tradition: The Shift to Competency Based Learning in Plcs at Work (TM). My co-author is Jon Vander Els, a former colleague and elementary school principal who was also a part of this journey.
SRHS makes use of a flexible learning period known as Focused Learning Time. This model has provided structure and support for our competency-based learning approach and could serve as a model to other schools looking to make a similar shift.
We currently are looking for opportunities to provide students choice and voice in our competency-based model.
For us, the first hurdle was to move to a one to one environment. For many years, we tried to implement blended learning strategies without this level of technology access and it was difficult.
Start with a group of early-adopters who are excited to try something new and are willing to be flexible with their instructional and assessment approaches.
Sanborn Regional High School is fully accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC). Sanborn is located in Kingston, New Hampshire and serves students in grades nine through twelve from the communities of Kingston, Newton, and Fremont. The enrollment is approximately 700 students. All three towns are socio-economically diverse, and all are residential, non-industrial communities.
Contact: Brian M. Stack
Contact Title: Principal
Sanborn Regional High School
17 Danville Road
Kingston, New Hampshire
In 2013-2014 New Hampshire used the New England Common Assessment Program (NECAP) to test students in grades 3 through 8 and 11 in reading and math, and in grades 5, 8 and 11 in writing. The NECAP is a standards-based test that measures specific skills defined for each grade by the state of New Hampshire. The goal is for all students to score at or above proficiency level 3.