What We Have Learned 2018-03-02T12:53:42+00:00
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WHO WE ARE

Our mission is to transform the lives of students – especially those who will be first in their families to attend college – by preparing them for success in college, career, and life.   In three Bay Area schools and through coaching and consulting around the country, Envision prepares students for success through its acclaimed and nationally replicated Portfolio Defense model.  This model delivers the most important tools students need to thrive: leadership skills, academic content, the ability to reflect, and a mindset for growth.

WHAT HAVE WE LEARNED ABOUT TEACHING AND LEARNING?

We have learned that students and teachers have many of the same needs — that in order for teachers and students to be successful, they both need opportunities that are:

  • Grounded in strong relationships: Relationships provide the places for reflection and growth that are critical for real, sustained growth and change.
  • Sustained and sustainable: Learning and teaching are ongoing processes: all people need time and ongoing opportunities to integrate new ideas and knowledge.
  • Experiential: The most effective way to learn is to DO—to take the building blocks you’re given and make your first, second and third attempts to do something with them  

WHAT HAVE WE LEARNED ABOUT STUDENTS SHARING THEIR LEARNING?

The Portfolio Defense model is, essentially, based on students sharing their learning with authentic audiences, through multiple defenses, exhibitions and presentations throughout their time in our schools.  Sharing knowledge and insights helps students integrate information, empowers them to own their ideas, and helps them connect to new people and contexts.  The act of sharing keeps the learning alive and relevant and encourages future growth.

Do you want more information?  If so, please contact Justin Wells, Executive Director of Envision Learning Partners at justin@envisionlearning.org

WHO WE ARE

HTH is an integrated network of thirteen public charter schools serving approximately 5,300 students in grades K-12, as well as an attached Graduate School of Education. Our schools are intentionally diverse and integrated, enrolling students through a zip code-based lottery to achieve a representative population. Teachers recognize the value of having students from different backgrounds working together, and employ a variety of approaches to accommodate diverse learners without academic tracking.

WHAT HAVE WE LEARNED ABOUT TEACHING AND LEARNING?

At High Tech High, we have learned that engagement, ownership, and a sense of belonging are central to student learning.  Students pursue their passions through projects that integrate hands and minds, incorporate inquiry across multiple disciplines, and result in meaningful and beautiful work. We have also learned that the way we teach adults should mirror the way that we teach students. For example, we ask new teachers to publicly share their learning at the end of our new teacher orientation, so that they can experience what they are about to ask their students to do.

WHAT HAVE WE LEARNED ABOUT STUDENTS SHARING THEIR LEARNING?

When students share their learning, the stakes are raised, not just for the students, but also for the adults who work with those students. Asking students to share their learning publicly causes students and teachers to step up their game and produce higher quality work.

Do you want more information?  If so, please contact Ben Daley, Provost of High Tech High Graduate School of Education, bdaley@hightechhigh.org

WHO WE ARE

For over 20 years, Big Picture Learning has worked to put students at the center of their own learning. Today, hundreds of BPL network schools in the United States and around the world work together and in their communities to reimagine and reshape education. It is our vision that all students live happy and successful lives of their own design — in their education, careers and civic experiences — supported by learner-centered communities, caring mentors, strong inter-personal relationships and equitable opportunities to achieve their greatest potential.

WHAT HAVE WE LEARNED ABOUT TEACHING AND LEARNING?

For us — and for our network schools — there are three key ingredients to effective teaching and learning in a deeper learning environment. Pay attention to the whole student. Relationships with learners are built on finding out about their interests, passions, experiences, challenges, community and family; not just their grade point average and college they wish to attend. We focus on students’ strengths, not their weaknesses. We build upon what they’re good at, what they love doing, in order to inform opportunities where there might be gaps in learning. Finally, we encourage students to “leave to learn”, by embracing the opportunities to flourish that exist in their communities — beyond the school walls, often through internships and mentorships.

WHAT HAVE WE LEARNED ABOUT STUDENTS SHARING THEIR LEARNING?

There is something inherently democratic about allowing students to demonstrate their learning in different ways. Whether it’s presentations of learning, exhibitions, student-led conferences, speeches, music-recitals, or the serving of a four course meal, we know that there are many ways beyond standardized assessments that allow students to illustrate what they’ve learned. In Big Picture network schools, public exhibitions are celebrations of learning. They are opportunities to invite the community in, just as the community itself has invited Big Picture Learning students “out”. In this way, we’re creating a continuous loop — the school is as important to the community as the community is to the school.

For more information, please contact Chris Jackson, Chief Communications Officer, Big Picture Learning, at chris@bigpicturelearning.org.