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Amolins said parents he's spoken with want to be assured the school is not experimenting on their children. They also have questions about how grading will work. But mostly, they're excited.
To account for that, each student will have three staff members identified as advisers, responsible to ensure a student doesn't fall behind.
Teachers, parents endorse the conceptMichael Amolins, a fourth year chemistry teacher, initially had reservations about giving students more control over what they learn.
"I liked the freedom to work with kids on a one on one basis," he said. "I think you can address the needs of all students at all levels."
He quickly changed his mind after visiting the school in Omaha. The rest of the staff has come around too, as it's been discussed for the last two and a half Converse Dainty Ox Navy
The high school has been experimenting for two years with project based learning, a student driven model that's become popular in Sioux Falls and a cluster of school districts in southcentral South Dakota.
Lein said research supports the new model, but the school is taking a risk by giving 15 year olds more control.
Omaha provides school modelThe seed for the change was planted four years ago as Harrisburg was considering the purchase of laptop computers for every high school student. Holbeck attended a conference on Apple computing products at Westside High School in Omaha, which has used flexible modular scheduling since the 1960s.
Lein said the model leaves room for traditional delivery methods of instruction, such as lectures and Socratic questioning. But there will be a clear emphasis on communication skills reading, writing and public speaking.
A dramatically different school day will facilitate that individualized study. Gone will be the 50 minute class periods, replaced by 21 segments of time, each 20 minutes long.
Parents have been accepting of the plan, too. After an informational meeting with the parents of eighth graders, no one spoke up during a public hearing on the concept during the following board meeting.
Relishing chance for one on one workFor Amolins, customized learning means no longer teaching to the middle, leaving some kids bored and others struggling to catch up.
The payoff, as Lein sees it, is the students will graduate more mature and better prepared for what comes next.
years. Each time the teachers have voted in the absence of administrators, he said, "more and more people have been on board."
With mass customized learning and flexible modular scheduling, Harrisburg will give its students more control over what they study. They'll have to learn the same standards as any South Dakota student, but generally they won't be reading or researching the same material as their peers.
"They're going to make the wrong choices sometimes," he said.
"They might spend three hours one day on science and the next day 20 minutes on science," Holbeck said.
presentations instead of traditional tests.
He identified two holdouts at the end of the last school year; one left for another job, and the other has embraced it after visiting the Omaha school.
"That's probably the most difficult part for teachers, is that letting go," he said.
"Many of our students that go off to college drop out and quit," he said. "And one of the big reasons is they have a hard time handling the flexibility and freedom that they have in college."
Principal Kevin Lein said the school will be assessing kids more often say, every two to three weeks to see whether they understand the material. If a student hasn't mastered a math concept, for example, she can adjust her schedule to spend more time on the subject.
mix multiple subjects at once, and teachers evaluating students through Converse High Tops Mens 13
"I came back more excited about their use of schedules than I was about Apples," he said.
A student who has a strong command of math would be able to move on to more challenging material or free up more time for a different subject.
"I think schools have done a disservice holding kids' hands all the way through," he said.
Harrisburg to explore bold school options
Harrisburg High School will start giving its students a lot more freedom next fall.
Harrisburg's version of mass customized learning isn't quite that, but common threads exist: the use of technology over textbooks, lessons that Converse Shoes Dark Red
"Now, we have the flexibility to do that, where in the traditional schedule they couldn't," Lein said.
Beginning with the new freshman Converse High Top Black Size 3 class, the school is transitioning to personalized learning plans for every student, along with a much more flexible schedule for students to pursue their interests and get one on one help from teachers.
The next year, the board hired Lein as high school principal, largely because he has a passion for trying new things in education.
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