Today I had the opportunity to talk to the founding principal of a charter high school that will open in the fall. Her school won’t look or sound like any high school you are likely to imagine, and I liked so many things about what she said that I felt compelled to list them for you:

  • She said her school will be a hybrid. Does that mean that students will use technology to help them learn? Sure, but it means a lot more than that. Her school will be open seven days a week, 12 hours a day, so students can have flexibility in their schedules.
  • She said her school will not lower its expectations for any learner. The standards they set are non-negotiable. But she also talked about the social-emotional cognition and development having as much importance as any other goals.
  • Where is this school? No one knows yet. So far, no building has worked out, either due to finances, or zoning, or unexpected issues. She remained unfazed. “If I have to get a trailer, I will, but we are opening a school in September.”
  • Has she hired her staff yet? No. When she does, though, they need to know they need to do a month of professional development. In the summer. What will they do? They will start by learning together, and doing some of the very same activities they will be asking of the students.
  • During the induction of the first class, all students will write poems about themselves. Each year, they will revisit their poems, and revise them.

Why didn’t they have high schools like this in the 80s? I would have loved it.