The vision of the new high school is to offer a high quality secondary (9-12) school education that will equip our high school students for learning and service, especially as they consider their options post-high school graduation. Such a secondary education will be:
- Grounded in student development, stewardship and service.
- Emphasizing stewardship and service will help students understand what it means to live as a responsible citizen of this world.
- Exceeding the minimum state high school graduation requirements
- The high school is set to offer learning experiences that go beyond the traditional, state-mandated minimum coursework expectations for high school graduation.
- Aligned with knowledge, skills and competencies required for the 21st century
- Instruction should include developing key fluencies required for the 21st century. A 21st century fluency represents a level of proficiency and skillfulness in a key ability needed to function successfully in a rapidly changing society.
The list offered here represents those fluencies as articulated by the 21st Century Fluency Project:
- Create – Students need to be equipped to think creatively in both digital and nondigital environments.
- Collaborate – Students need to be equipped with the ability to work with others in both physical and virtual environments.
- Communicate – Students need to be equipped with the ability to communicate by text, speech, visually and in multi-media formats.
- Access and interpret information – Students need to be equipped with the ability to research, access and interpret information for their learning.
- Solve problems – Students need to be equipped with the ability to solve complex problems.
As I was working with a private Christian school, I designed the high school curriculum to be Christian in nature, guaranteed in structure, viable in schedule, and rigorous in quality (Marzano, 2003):
- Christian – The curriculum will be offered from, and foster within, a Christian worldview of learning and living.
- Guaranteed – The curriculum will be organized such that students are able to learn and master the content expected of them.
- Viable – The school schedule will be one where an adequate amount of learning time is offered to cover the curriculum.
- Rigorous – The curriculum will aligned with state and Common Core standards. The curriculum will emphasize mastery learning as evidenced by proficiency-based assessments.
The high school is developed as a hybrid, or blended learning, institution. Blended learning is any time a student learns at least in part at a supervised brick and-mortar location away from home and at least in part through online delivery with some element of student control over time, place, path, and/or pace (Innosight Institute, 2011, p. 5). Our school is comprised of three instructional formats or components:
- The on-campus “core” component
- An online/community-based component
- An electives “à la carte” component