Teachers at Wheeling HS initially chose their model of individual rotation because it was a great way to differentiate instruction for students. Because the school does not subscribe to an online learning platform, teachers create their own playlists for students, rather than a completely flex model.
There is ongoing professional development for teachers on how to best implement blended learning, which is conducted through the district's internal university, so practices are constantly improving. As teachers, students, and parents become more used to the model, more and more teachers have begun to use it in their classrooms.
Wheeling's infrastructure is not yet conducive to its blended model on a larger scale. There is only one common space in the school for students to gather, the library. The school is currently creating more space, which will be used for individualized blended learning.
Also, many teachers and administrators are struggling with a tension between free and flexible learning and pragmatic concerns. For example, some teachers and administrators worry about students' safety in the halls, liability issues, and how to keep students on task if they are not being constantly monitored. Teachers are working on changing their colleagues' mindsets to be able to empower and trust students to be responsible for their own learning.
Have all vested parties on the same page before you start. For Wheeling, the implementation process was a bit rocky because teachers and administrators were not always on the same page.
The district has an internal university which is used to conduct professional development for teachers. This resource helps teachers be as prepared as possible for blending. There are also book clubs and instructional coaching--teachers are constantly improving their blended practices.
Wheeling High School has also made an enormous amount of space for teacher voice. Teachers opt into blended learning. They are not forced to do it. Having this choice creates more teacher buy-in and ensures that all teachers feel respected and heard.
Wheeling High School is a large public school located in a suburb of Chicago. The school is "majority minority," with almost 60% of students identifying as Latino. It is a comprehensive high school with a STEM focus. The school has a close partnership with Eastern Illinois University, which offers dual credit classes taught by Wheeling's high school teachers.
Contact: Rebecca Kinnee
Contact Title: Teaching and Learning Facilitator
Wheeling High School
900 S. Elmhurst Rd.
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