We started the Met twenty-three years ago, and our model essentially looked identical to the way it looks today. All students receive laptops, which enable them to explore content and develop skills related to the goals outlined in their Individual Learning Plans (ILPs). Twenty-three years ago, there was not the same range and quality of software available as there is today. As digital resources have been developed, we have been able to provide students with a better blended experience.
Our model is focused on working with one student at a time, and the most important factor for us is differentiation. It is difficult to anticipate and deliver that next challenge each child needs to grow. The added difficulty with blended learning is that it is hard to know all the new resources available to be able to differentiate well. Because our model is rooted in authentic exploration, it is additionally difficult to assemble course resources specific to students' inquiries. For example, a student working as a pharmaceutical assistant may have a question about the chemical reactions that produce a certain medicine. An online general chemistry course would not provide answers to this very specific question; it would be too much. We wish there were more schools doing work this way so that we might have a repository of material better suited to authentic student inquiry. We are excited about the potential for online learning to facilitate such inquiry.
Don't get carried away with the idea that it's cool to be blended. A lot of schools go blended using low-quality online courses that do not facilitate the best or most relevant learning. Pedagogically, the most important thing is the student. Blended learning is part of the methodology for reaching the student.
The Met is a network of six small, public high schools located in Providence and Newport, Rhode Island. With high standards and strong family engagement, the Met’s individualized learning approach has proven successful in unlocking students’ passion for learning. The Met empowers its students to take charge of their learning, to become responsible citizens and life-long learners. The hallmarks of a Met education include internships, individual learning plans, advisory, and a breakthrough college transition program.
Advisors work with mentors, parents and students to build a personalized curriculum around the students’ interests, searching out professionals in the community to pursue those interests in the real-world. Once at a site, students develop a rigorous project that they can work on with their mentor and back at school with their advisor. These projects become the foundation for the student’s learning plan and provide opportunities for the student to explore and master content, skills, and reasoning.
The Met is more than the six schools in Rhode Island; it is the flagship school of Big Picture Learning, a model for 100 schools across the country and around the world. It is a leader in school reform and is consistently identified by a sweeping range of education leaders as one of the most effective models in the country.
The Metropolitan Career and Technical Center (The Met High School)
325 Public Street
Providence, Rhode Island
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