Calendar of

HTHL Internship and College Advising Institute
Dec. 1st and 2nd 2005

HTH and HTHI Annual MANPOWER Academic Internship Showcase
Dec. 1. 2005

Other Issues:

October 15, 2005
September 15, 2005
August 15, 2005
May 15, 2005
April 15, 2005
February 15, 2005
January 15, 2005
October 15, 2004
September 15, 2004
August 15, 2004
June 15, 2004
May 15, 2004
April 15, 2004
March 15, 2004




HTHL Network News
In Issue #3, May 6, 2004
  1. Atkinson to Join HTHL Board
  2. CSAC Sites Hold Meeting
  3. MRCS² Holds Presentations of Learning
  4. HTH Learning Conversations: Community Based Learning
  5. HTH Science Fair Projects on the Rise
  6. HTH Learning Network Site Updates

    1.  Atkinson to Join HTHL Board

High Tech High Learning announced that Richard C. Atkinson, the former President of the University of California, has joined the board of High Tech High Learning. High Tech High CEO Larry Rosenstock hailed the development, noting that "Richard Atkinson will add immense insight and knowledge to the nationwide replication efforts of High Tech High Learning. Richard has been at the forefront of education system reform at the secondary and post-secondary levels."

Before becoming president of the UC System, Dr. Atkinson served as the chancellor of UC San Diego. Prior to that he served as director of the National Science Foundation and was a long-term member of the faculty at Stanford University. Atkinson was appointed deputy director of the National Science Foundation by President Gerald Ford in 1975. Two years later, President Jimmy Carter promoted him to director. At NSF, he had a wide range of responsibilities for science policy at a national and international level, including negotiating the first memorandum of understanding in history between the People's Republic of China and the United States, an agreement for the exchange of scientists and scholars.

Dr. Atkinson became interested in High Tech High Learning when he visited High Tech High and learned about the school's track record of success and its initiative to create 14 additional schools across the United States. HTHL staff are pleased to receive Dr. Atkinson's input about a range of issues including how replication sites may capitalize upon innovative partnerships with universities and colleges. Ideas that are being considered include summer study opportunities at universities for network students (like the program currently in place at Sci-Tech High in Harrisburg), as well as programs for postsecondary students to provide ongoing tutoring and assistance to students attending High Tech High Learning Network schools.

    2.  CSAC Sites Hold Meeting

On April 23-24, students, school staff, and community representatives from the six rural sites in Washington's Connecting Schools and Communities project (CSAC) met to discuss the following essential question:

How do students, schools, and community groups work together to develop rigorous community-based learning opportunities?

Rob Riordan, HTH Learning consultant, attended as a co-planner and participant.

Each of the six CSAC communities-Dayton, Ferndale, Forks, Friday Harbor, Quilcene, and Quincy-is the recipient of two separate grants from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to link school and community. As such, these sites are affiliates of High Tech High, adapting in local contexts the HTH principles of personalization, common intellectual mission, and adult world connection.

The conference, expertly planned and run by the CSAC staff and school coaches led by Rick Lear and Mary Beth Lambert, along with Alison Olzendam and Doreen Hauser- Lindstrom of the Bridging the Digital Divide project at Washington State University, included site updates and sessions on intergenerational conversation, developing essential questions, exemplary community projects, and rigor in community based learning. These topics were addressed in a variety of ways, including text-based discussions, job-alike sessions (students, teachers, administrators, community agency personnel), and a student-led session on developing essential questions from teacher passions, using a structured "Five Why's" interview protocol. In the end, site teams engaged in next-steps planning for increasing the power and reach of community-based learning back home.

In remarks to the conference, Kyle Miller, Program Officer from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, reminded participants that the work of developing rigorous community- based learning is essentially a project in high school transformation-that "tinkering around the edges" will not suffice. The distinctive, respectful quality of adult-student interaction over the two days, and the obvious inspiration that participants drew from the proceedings, offer the hope that such transformation is under way.

    3.  MRCS² Holds Presentations of Learning

Mirta Ramirez Computer Science Charter School conducted its third set of Presentations of Learning (POL's) and Exhibitions of Learning (EOL's) on April 7-8. Each school cluster, which is made up of 3 teams, conducted their own POL's/EOL's.

Cluster A's POL's focused on Energy. Parents were invited to view PowerPoint presentations in the classrooms and peruse student work exhibited throughout the school. Students gave presentations on the stock market, demonstrated parallel/serial processing, and exhibited research conducted on student-selected topics related to energy and the environment. Students also did fundraising before the event and provided food drawn from all the different regions and countries of Latin America. Food is always important, especially in Latino communities, in bringing parents and community into the educational process of their kids.

Cluster B conducted their POL/EOL's during the school day, mixing up the teams so that students could see the work being done by students on other teams within the B cluster. The Integrated Curriculum Unit (ICU) connected Oceanography and Explorers, and resulted in the development of software and physical science projects. In physical science students built a submarine, and built underwater aquariums. Vilmary Morales, the physics and math teacher, said that the moments of the ICU that stood out most for her involved "watching students' eyes sparkle when they were working on their projects." And Bernardo Juarez the computer science teacher agreed, saying that "what engaged and inspired the students were the hands on components." Students were also engaged actively as audience members, taking seriously their role as evaluators of their fellow students, and asking clarifying questions while writing up their audience evaluations.

Cluster C's POL's focused on Energy, Physics and Computer Science. What stood out were the Car Races! The physics exhibitions included the "Mirta Ramirez 500" - a competition of small cars built by the students and raced around a circular track. Students also built models of wind, solar and steam energy locomotives, including a robotic demonstration of the age-old competition between the tortoise and the hare. In addition to the physics energy exhibits, the students presented a completely bilingual English/Spanish "Computer Museum," which provided an illustrated timeline of computer development from 1800 to the present. Hands-on exhibits included a comparison of computer input/output and the human brain, the evolution of the calculator, and the shift from mainframe to pc/mac to wireless technology. Many parents attended the event. It became clear that Cluster C parents have come to view the school as their own and taken on primary parent leadership roles.

MRCS2 will hold it's fourth set of POL's at the end of this quarter, and looks forward to having all the clusters conclude with POL/EOL's that will include parents and community members, and permit students from different clusters to see the work being done throughout the school. The POL/EOL's are the school's primary mechanism for getting students, teachers and parents engaged in the life of the school. They have been the key to building the MRCS2 school community.

    4.  HTH Learning Conversations: Community Based Learning

Editor's Note:
In this issue we introduce a second "HTH Learning Conversation." See what you think. Feel free to contribute to the conversation below-or to introduce another topic-by emailing Rob Riordan at

On April 22, New Urban High School (NUHS) in North Clackamas, OR hosted a meeting of community partners to begin to design a rigorous community based learning program for all students. Rob Riordan of HTHL facilitated the meeting, organized by Mike Kaiel and Tim King of NUHS and attended by 15 NUHS staffers and partners from local business, service agencies, and post-secondary institutions.

We share below some of the questions that emerged at that meeting, with brief responses, in the hope of generating conversation among HTHL sites as to the "why" and the "how to" of community based learning-all in connection with the HTH design principle of Adult World Connection.

1.  What are the elements of a rigorous community-based learning (CBL) experience?

These elements are similar to those of a rigorous classroom experience, with the added element of connection to the adult world beyond school. Many iterations and variations are possible, depending on local circumstances. Indeed, right here in the North Clackamas School District, a design team of teachers and community partners has articulated a useful set of elements for a Community Related Learning Experience, required of all students for graduation:
Presentation of learning
A significant adult connection beyond school
As we unpack these elements, other features appear. Inquiry as an element evokes essential questions that incorporate academic significance, application in the world beyond school, and student interest. Product implies a project and, at best, a contribution to the workplace or community. Presentations of learning beg the question of standards for evaluation, which tend to grow more rigorous over time as students and teachers view exemplary products. A significant adult connection may range from consultations with an expert via the internet to a full-fledged, in-person mentoring relationship.

2.   Shouldn't we start small and then build up?

Most programs start small. But too many programs start small and stay that way, with the result that the benefits of community based learning are available only to a few students. The key question is, what is the overall design? What's the plan for going to scale? It helps, even when starting modestly, to establish from the outset a well-defined CBL experience as a condition for graduation.

3.   How can we do this along with all the other things we do?

Ted Sizer says you can tell a school's priorities by how it allocates staff and student time. Schools make choices about what to do and what not to do; doing CBL may mean not doing something else. However, that oppositional approach isn't the only possibility. It's important to find ways to embed CBL in the academic program, via class projects, senior projects, and structured, academically rich internships. At High Tech High, for example, all juniors in a particular cohort are out in internships at the same time, with the result that the team of teachers working with them can be alert to possible connections in developing curriculum and making assignments.

4.   How do we get employers to buy in?

Students are the best advocates. This means having students well prepared for the ramp-up events, like power lunches and site visits. Do site visits in small groups, making sure that the students do research on the firm or agency ahead of time and are prepared to ask good questions. The HTH Mentor video, available from HTH Learning, offers convincing testimony from mentors of HTH interns. By the way, there is striking evidence, in a study conducted by the Autodesk Foundation, of a significant return on investment to businesses and agencies that host high school interns.

5.   What's the right age for students to go out in work places and other community sites? Isn't 14 or 15 too young? Shouldn't we wait until students are more mature?

Age 14 or 15 may be too young for full-fledged internships (indeed, there may be legal age limits in some circumstances), but entirely appropriate for other experiences such as informational visits to workplaces, job shadows, and community service learning. We have worked with a school in East Harlem that routinely sent all its students, grades 7 through 10, to community service sites for a half-day each week.

6.   What are some ways to prepare students in the long run for later internships?

In classes, be aware, and remind students, of the ways in which academic habits of mind (e.g., evidence, perspective, connection) are useful in later internships. A science exercise on the difference between observation and inference, for example, addresses a critical need for the internships: that students be good observers. In or beyond classes, organize power lunches, site visits, job shadows, or other events that put students in touch with adults who work in local businesses and agencies. At High Tech High, the first group of junior interns had a weekly second-semester seminar as sophomores on workplace expectations and possibilities.

7.   We have a small firm and don't have the resources to offer an internship. How else can we contribute?

There are many ways. Talk with a group of students at a "power lunch" at the school. Host a site visit by a few students. Offer occasional job shadows. Ask your school-side coordinator about the possibilities.

8.   What kinds of support need to be in place?

Staff support is most important-a CBL or internship coordinator for starters, hired well before the date when students will go out. In addition, it's important that the school's curriculum leader understands the academic importance and potential of CBL. Beyond that, one needs the support structures associated with any venture: a strategic plan, a promotional and explanatory materials, and sensible processes for communication and follow-up. See, for example, the Internship Field Manual on the High Tech High website, referenced below.

9.   What happens if students end up doing repetitive busy work?

Prevention is the best cure, in the form of clear written expectations and regular communication. For internships, it helps to have a single point of contact on the school side and a single mentor for each intern. Beyond, that, it is important to encourage and equip students, through discussion, problem-posing sessions and role-plays, to deal directly with worksite issues as they arise.

For more information on this topic, see the High Tech High web site: (click on "Internships")
(go to "Design Principles" and/or "Internships"in the directory)

    5.  HTH Science Fair Projects on the Rise

Science fair projects at High Tech High are growing exponentially. In 2002 there was one entry accepted into the Greater San Diego Science and Engineering Fair, in 2003 there were 5

entries, and in 2004 there were 16. The only school in the county with more entries accepted in 2004 was Torrey Pines which has nearly eight-times the student population as HTH.
The science fair projects by nature are extremely rewarding for the participating students. The projects:
  • build student self-confidence
  • bolster student applications for college admission
  • add greatly to student resumes for professional employment
  • may earn financial scholarship awards
Student Stories

Some projects started with simple ideas that shaped into sophisticated experiments with great relevance to problems facing society today. One such project was formulated by a senior, Ariane Salvador. Initially, she expressed some fundamental interest in math and beauty. This beginning transformed into discussions of beauty being defined by face symmetry and evolved into a study of biometrics. Eventually, Ariane digitized faces of her school peers and then designed a mathematical model to effectively identify individual students at HTH by unique facial features. Her project "To Find a Face" earned 2nd place in the Social and Behavioral Science Division and a scholarship from the Biomedical Research Institute of America.

While his classmates were collecting leaves from a campus eucalyptus tree for a class biotech project, Kevin Cheng became interested in the insects in the sandy soil at his feet. After collecting a few of the ant lions from their conical traps in the sand, he set about designing a novel experiment to test their ability to design optimal traps in various sediment types. He made his own sediment sorters and then collected sediment from the ant lion environment and sorted it into five grainsize categories. Kevin then found that ant lions make the optimal trap in the sediment type that makes up the majority of their environment. His project entitled "Ant Lions: The Farmers Best Friend" earned 1st place in the Zoology Division and has been invited to the California State Science Fair.

Other students literally cashed in with the success of their projects. Using C++ Programming, Blake English designed a very sophisticated computer-based model of fish schooling behavior. His model allowed for the testing of a variety of physical parameters that affect fish schooling performance. He also programmed a predatory shark that would enter schools and eat fish, temporarily breaking down the fish aggregate. Not only did his project generate valuable data from this fish schooling simulation, but it was visually enticing and very interactive. Blake's "Fish Sim 2.0" earned 2nd place in the Computer Science Division and a $1,000 scholarship from FGM, Inc., a homeland security software company.

    6.  HTH Learning Network School Updates

City High School, Tucson, AZ
The principal of CHS, Carrie Brennan served as a key note speaker for Arizona State University's Museum sponsors workshop for educators on April 24th, 2004. Ms. Brennan's speech highlighted using community spaces as text for pedagogy. CHS is preparing for a two week institute centered around the incorporation of local issues, history, and geography within their Humanities curriculum. The institute will take place early June. During the month of May, CHS will present information about the school at a neighborhood association meeting.

High Tech High Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA
HTHLA has joined forces and formed a formidable robotics team with another local high school. The team is known as in FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology). The successful coalition of the schools has enabled HTHLA to win second place at the Southern California Regional Robotics competition for HOMER (Human Operated Mechanically Engineered Robot). HTHLA will be hosting a robotics camp this summer in which students from the school will serve as camp counselors.

Mirta Ramirez Computer Science Charter School, Chicago, IL
MRCSC students will participate in an internship program with Time Dollar Tutor warehouse where their purposes will be to encourage peer tutoring and assist in closing the digital divide. Students will contribute to this effort specifically by rebuilding computers. The school will be hosting a group of 4 students from High Tech High San Diego for the Student Ambassador Program from May 5th through the 9th. The exchange of student information will take place via a school wide presentation and a question and answer panel session. MRCSC is excited to announce their school's grand opening to take place in May.

New Bedford Global Learning Charter School, New Bedford, MA
The NBGLCS Board of Trustees has approved a partnership with the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth that will provide expanded services for NBGLCS students, including access to athletic facilities and college level courses. The partnership also plans to create a professional development center for teacher training. Additionally, NBGLCS was selected as the recipient of an EIC (Environment as an Integrating Context) grant that will fund the creation of a multi-disciplinary "community connectedness" curriculum in which the New Bedford community serves as a research laboratory for students. Three NBGLCS teachers have also been awarded Coastal Studies Environment Education (COSEE) grants, and will have the opportunity to spend a week this summer training with marine scientists at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute.

New Urban High School, Clakamas, OR
The NUHS middle college program has been going exceptionally well. In partnership with Clakamus Community College, NUHS juniors and seniors receive college credit for introductory level courses taken on the college's campus. NUHS funds student tuition through savings on staffing costs for senior institute teachers. The latest round of NUHS Presentations of Learning (POL's) showcased an integrated unit focusing on statistics, probability, and gambling in connection to1920's history and culture. Students staged a "casino night" in which they exhibited projects ranging from theater pieces, to casino games, to historical research papers. This summer, the NUHS faculty look forward to finalizing plans for the school's senior internship program. HTHL consultant Rob Riordan led a community forum at the school this past month to assist staff in the creation of experiences that prepare 9th -11th grade students to be successful at their internship sites.

San Carlos High School, San Carlos, CA
SCHS has hosted a series of interactive and informative recruitment workshops for prospective parents and students. During the workshops, break out sessions were offered in which students used Stagecast software to create science based gaming projects to simulate project based learning. San Carlos will host a series of cable television advertisements in addition to talking to members in the community public venues to continue their on-going outreach efforts. Students at the school have been immersed in service learning projects such as search and rescue, working with elderly at Lytton Park, and assisting disabled students at a local ranch. San Mateo Community College has agreed to allow any San Carlos High student to take any course for a $1.00 fee per course for either high school or college credits. The school has scheduled college exploration field trips to UC Berkeley, San Mateo Community College, and Santa Clara University for students to gain exposure to these campuses.

Sci-tech High, Harrisburg, PA
Sci- Tech High will be hosting a Community Day Partnership Celebration on May 28th at the Hilton Towers in Harrisburg to thank everyone who has journeyed and partnered with them. Sci- Tech High students lobbied through a local city council to obtain funding for the event and earned a grant of $1500. Sci- Tech High will also have their first official walk through in their new building on May 19th.

High Tech High, San Diego, CA
HTH held its annual Spring Exhibition on April 1, 2004, in which every nook and cranny of the High Tech High and Senior Institute buildings were chocked-full of student work on display. Among the many projects exhibited were 9th grade students' entrepreneurial schemes for the "Millionaire Project," selected science projects from the Greater San Diego Science and Engineering Fair (see article #5 of this newsletter), student artwork and videos, Senior Projects, and "Casino" projects in which student card-sharks explored and demonstrated understanding of statistics and probability. HTH students and faculty alike expressed excitement at the consistently high level of student work. The bar truly does get raised with each successive exhibition!

High Tech Middle, San Diego, CA
HTM held their first evening exhibition on April 1, 2004. The event was well-attended, and offered a wide variety of projects on display, including student artwork, World War II research projects, and architectural drawings and models for student-designed houses. This month, most 8th grade students plan to spend one week in Washington D.C., exploring the nation's capitol as the culminating event for this year's U.S. History curriculum.

High Tech International, San Diego, CA
HTI teachers continue to meet regularly in study groups to plan various elements of the school's program. A three-day staff retreat in Mexico is scheduled in June for the purpose of team building and curriculum planning. The HTI building renovation is proceeding on schedule. Much of the wall framing and plumbing has been done throughout the building. This month, contractors plan to focus on erecting the structure for the second floor mezzanine and catwalk.


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