HTHL Internship and College Advising Institute
HTH and HTHI Annual MANPOWER Academic Internship Showcase
October 15, 2005
Issue #12, September 2005
1. HTH Still Growing at Liberty Station
Spurred by public demand, the High Tech High family of schools continues to grow at a
phenomenal rate. This year the number of small schools at Liberty Station in San Diego has doubled, from three schools to six. The new schools are High Tech High Media Arts (HTHMA), High Tech Middle Media Arts (HTMMA), and Explorer Elementary, an exemplary, pre-existing charter
school that has elected to join the High Tech High Charter Management Organization. The new
arrivals will share space in Liberty Station's Building 83, an ample, three-story structure now
undergoing renovation, with a move-in date scheduled for January. Until then, the three schools
are holding classes in temporary quarters.
From a modest beginning with 200 ninth and tenth graders in September of 2000, HTH is now
a literal village of schools serving 1930 students, a number that will grow to 2190 students when
all the schools reach full capacity. The addition of Explorer Elementary makes High Tech High
a K-12 entity. Moreover, HTH already extends beyond grade12, as it runs a state-approved certification
program for its teachers.
Gary Jacobs, Board Chair for the High Tech High schools, says, "We never envisioned such
aggressive growth for High Tech High. In the beginning, our aim was to serve 400 students
extremely well and, having done that, the demand from students and parents has grown beyond
all expectation. The only 'unfun' day at High Tech High is the day after our lottery when we
have to turn away hundreds of students and parents. Fortunately, we have been able to develop
the village concept here at Liberty Station, a concept that allows six small schools to serve
approximately 2000 students. Even with this expansion, we find that we are still receiving more
applications than we have spaces for. So we continue to search the region for other growth
opportunities, in order to meet the growing demand."
2. HTH Bayshore Reinvented
High Tech High Bayshore opened its stunning new facility on August 29, 2005, to an excited group of 89 returning and 112 new students. In addition to its relocation from temporary quarters in San Carlos, CA, to its new home in neighboring Redwood City, the school has undergone fundamental changes to its leadership, staffing, student base, and academic program. HTH Bayshore became a member of the HTH Learning Charter Management Organization (CMO) in July 2005. As such, the school receives administrative support and program development services that insure a close alignment with the HTH design principles of personalization, common intellectual mission, and adult-world connection. HTH Bayshore welcomes into its community a new principal, Joe Feldman, a graduate of Stanford University and the Harvard Graduate School of Education. Joe has previously served as founding principal of the Thurgood Marshall Academy Public Charter High School in Washington, DC, as Director of Charter School Development and Support for the New York City Board of Education, and as an American History and English teacher in a public high school based in Atlanta. He has been on board at HTH Bayshore since March, 2005, familiarizing himself with the school and focusing on teacher hiring and student recruitment. The school's faculty, ten of whom are new hires, are now working under Joe's leadership to solidify their teaching teams and put into practice a range of projects they began developing at the HTH Summer Institute this past June. These include a 9th grade Physics/Math/Humanities project focusing on the research and development of musical instruments, and an 11th grade Biology/Math/ Humanities/Visual Arts project focusing on The American Dream throughout history. HTH Learning staff member, Rob Riordan, has been working closely with HTH Bayshore faculty to develop integrated projects and infuse writing across the curriculum. HTH teacher ambassadors from San Diego visit the school to support HTH Bayshore teachers in their practice. As a result of intensive recruitment efforts, HTH Bayshore has brought in a wonderfully diverse population of new students. At present, the school population is 63% students of color (46% Hispanic/Latino), 45% ELL (English Language Learners), and 36% Title 1 (students eligible for free and reduced lunch). The school has hired a full-time English Learner Coordinator, Doreen Bracamontes, who works with teaching teams to help them understand the unique needs of EL learners in the classroom. Doreen also works directly with students and teaches an English language development class during X-Block. Over the next few months, HTH Bayshore staff and students will settle into their new home and continue building connections to their Redwood City neighbors. Items on the school's 'To Do' list include expanding the student base through continuing outreach and building the 11th and 12th grade internship program. Speaking about the school's transition from San Carlos High School to HTH Bayshore, principal Joe Feldman says, "The teachers, the parents, and the students are so energized to be in our fantastic new facility. Its thoughtful and open design make it easier for teachers to create challenging, collaborative, and hands-on learning experiences for students, and there's an excitement about all the potential successes in store for us this year."
3. Class of 2005 Goes to College, HTH Scores High
Like the two classes before it, High Tech High's third graduating class is going to college at a 100% rate. Of the 81 graduates in the Class of 2005, 65 (80%) are going to a 4-year college and 16 (20%) to a 2-year college. Twelve students (15%) will enter the University of California system, while 22 (27%) will study in the California State University system. Nineteen students (23%) will attend out-of-state public and private schools, including Smith, Brandeis, Simmons, Bryn Mawr, Northwestern, Fordham, Hampshire, Rensselaer Polytechnic, the University of Pennsylvania, and the University of Hawaii. Larry Rosenstock, High Tech High CEO, says, "From the very beginning, we've said we wanted to be judged on the college-entering rate of our students, since college is such a major gateway to productive lives. We're delighted that all our graduates have achieved this benchmark, and we're confident that they will go on to be contributors and leaders in college and beyond." Meanwhile, another tradition continues at High Tech High: last spring, the school was awarded two perfect scores of 10 on the statewide Academic Performance Index (API) for the fourth year in a row. This means that HTH's California state test scores place the school in the top 10% when compared against two sets of schools: the set of all high schools in California, and the set of all schools with similar demographics to HTH. Ben Daley, Principal, says, "We don't emphasize standardized tests at High Tech High, because they provide at best a crude measure of student achievement. Nonetheless, it is gratifying to see evidence that our project-based, indepth approach to learning serves students well on these tests."
4. HTH Team Explores Baja
We could call it "Real World Baja California." But unlike the popular MTV reality show, these 12 young people won't move into a plush mansion or be given cushy jobs. These High Tech High students will rough it for eight weeks with HTH teacher Theresa Gilly and her teaching partner and the group's scuba instructor, Greg Hatem, camping out in Cabo Pulmo and Bahia de Los Angeles in southern Baja while conducting a groundbreaking program of environmental research. The focus of the work is captured in the essential question guiding this ambitious undertaking: "How can humans preserve the marine and terrestrial habitat of Bahia de Los Angeles?" In addition to individual projects, the students as a group will focus on three specific features of the local ecology: whale sharks, marine turtles, and plankton. This semester-long excursion builds upon the many shorter trips Theresa Gilly and her former teaching partner, Jesse Wade, have led with students throughout Mexico. Gilly moved from teaching 10th grade to the HTH Senior Institute this year, based on her desire to support students in pursuing challenging, authentic senior projects. Gilly's environmental science program, which she will implement at the proposed High Tech High Environmental, has received generous philanthropic support, including a $250,000 anonymous donation for curriculum development, travel, and research supplies, funds which are being used to finance this semester-long trip. Nine of the 12 students embarking on this journey are seniors, and three are underclassmen. The students represent a wide range of academic skills, personalities, and cultural backgrounds. In addition to learning about marine life and environmental issues in Southern Baja, Gilly expects the students will learn a tremendous amount about themselves and their peers. And since the students are earning credit toward all academic subjects, Gilly and Hatem take seriously their responsibility to integrate the humanities and mathematics as well as science into the curriculum for the trip. In addition, the students spent a week prior to the start of school researching colleges, preparing applications, and lining up recommendations so that this trip would not disrupt their post secondary planning. Living in areas that lack infrastructure, the students will power their laptops with solar panels, with backup generators available to use as needed. The students will create a wireless network to allow data transfer between computers, but they will need to visit local internet cafes to upload data to their website, http://scuba.hightechhigh.org. They will have a satellite phone for emergencies, but will use e-mail as their primary contact with friends, family, and High Tech High in San Diego.
5. Funding Fundamentals
Did you know…
that it takes $1 million to outfit each new High
Tech High school with furniture, fixtures
During the first two years of each High Tech High
school, startup funds from the State of
By the third year, each
school is able to fund its basic operations on a combination of (1)
For questions about HTH fund-raising efforts and
needs, contact Robecca Haddock,
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