Changing The High School Experience
Since its inception in the summer of 2018, the High School Project has been about much more than a building. The High School Project is also about changing the high school experience for T.C. Williams students by transforming the educational program. To be specific, we need to change the why, how and what we teach our students to provide them with next generation knowledge and skills before they graduate.
The Profile of a Virginia Graduate requires us to change our instruction to ensure students can show they have learned to think critically, creatively, collaborate and communicate well. Students are expected to be able to display academic and technical knowledge, demonstrate workplace skills and behaviors, build connections in their communities, show responsibility and align their personal skills, knowledge and interests with some career goals.
The School Board charged the High School Project team with building a Connected High School Network model that is steeped in equity and access for all students, all learners. The School Board asked ACPS to ensure the new model is based on academic research, the potential impact on academic achievement - including improving achievement for subgroups - and the potential impact on interpersonal, social and emotional skills.
For these reasons, we are taking a deeper dive into the research and have invited experts to work with our Educational Design Team, meet with staff and faculty and then with our larger community. We are providing an opportunity to be inspired by and learn from experts on evidence based practices that can advance our thinking on what is possible when developing an educational programming model that will meet the needs of our diverse learners. Each of their specialities aligns with the Virginia Profile of a Graduate and will help push our design team’s thinking beyond what they already know.
Inspiring Futures Experts
On January 8, 2020 national experts on high school redesign worked with our Educational Design Team. They also spoke with the Alexandria community to discuss a new high school experience for students at T.C. Williams.
Watch the video of the evening community meeting.
The experts and their information are below:
Dr. Robert Balfanz
Dr. Robert Balfanz is the Director of the Everyone Graduates Center at Johns Hopkins University. The center helps struggling high schools in high needs communities reinvent the high school experience. His work puts students at the center and employ evidence-based practices that generate engagement, motivation, and active learning. Dr. Balfanz also developed the Early Warning System.
Dr. Jaime A. Castellano
Dr. Jaime A. Castellano is a national authority on educating Hispanic/Latino students. It is his belief that educational equity, access, and high expectations create a quality education for Hispanic and Latino students and prepares them for a meaningful future. He also focuses on better identification of marginalized students as gifted.
Dr. Heidi Hayes Jacobs
Dr. Heidi Hayes Jacobs is the founder and President of Curriculum Designers, Inc. Her work helps transform curriculum and school designs and upgrade teaching strategies to ensure all learners have access to an education that will prepare them for life beyond the 21st century.
Dr. Pedro A. Noguera
Dr. Pedro A. Noguera heads up the Center for the Transformation of Schools at UCLA, committed to equity in academic outcomes for all students. He has researched and discussed the impacts of race and poverty on the classroom experience, as well as, the power of project-based learning or deeper learning reforms - that create equity in academic outcomes.
Dr. Jonathan Plucker
Dr. Jonathan Plucker is the President of the National Association for Gifted Children and Julian C. Stanley Professor of Talent Development at Johns Hopkins University. His work promotes practices that have been effective at raising student achievement.
Mr. Larry Rosenstock
Larry Rosenstock is the founder and CEO/Superintendent of High Tech High, a network of schools based on project-based hands-on learning and focused on creating opportunities for disadvantaged students. The schools he has created are connected to the cities they are in, allowing students to deepen their understanding of their studies while learning more about and participating in their communities.