Our CCO ( Chief Catalyst Officer), Jean Kaneko has been selected to be a Fellow in the Graduate School of Education New School Creation Fellowship with a focus on creating innovative schools in Los Angeles. Co-founders, John Umekubo joins her in this fellowship and Cindy Beals in a full-time Resident at High Tech Middle.
Anyone who knows us, knows how much of a fan we am of the High Tech High Schools. After following it online for a few years, Jean finally got in the car in January 2015 and drove to San Diego for a parent information session. Walked into High Tech Middle and was floored - literally. Someone can crawled into her brain and built the school of her dreams. That led to her and her son moving to San Diego in July 2016. She was accepted into the HTH Graduate School of Education as an Education Leadership M.Ed. Resident and her son started 6th grade at High Tech Middle. It was the most eye opening, life changing experience of her 50 years. What made it so?
Equity - Since 2001, High Tech High has been an equity project. Their charter lottery is zip code based and as a parent, I was witness to the power of true inclusion. Jean's introvert son grew so much socially. In his words "everyone is different mom".
Intentional Design - Everything is intentionally designed - from the layout of the rooms, the # of grades, teacher collaboration schedules - everything. And everything is up for change. Teachers who thrive here, don't clock in and clock out. This is their life. They love their students, love teaching and love learning. They are ready to admit when something doesn't work and aren't afraid to make changes as long as it has the students at the center.
Autonomy - There are no teachers in silos here because collaboration is fun. When educators have autonomy as long as the design principles are upheld, its fun to design learning opportunities. When your work is fun, its contagious and students love learning.
Everyone is a student. Everyone is respected. The founders and directors at HTH will be the first to tell you that they don't have all the answers. They can just share their story. Through the GSE, they share their journey and bring together educators from all over the world to grapple with big questions and wonderings. They facilitate adult learning like they do with young people - with questions, not answers, with respect, not demands. .
There is so much to love and learn from High Tech High. Check out their work in the documentary - Most Likely to Succeed and on their website. Warning - you might find yourself sucked in for hours/days/weeks into all their amazing work.