How to Build the Best
High Schools, Ever
Organized by James Moudry
jamesmoudry@postoakschool.org
SXSWedu 2015 Resource
1
2
“The root of the problem is a
school experience that is
essentially passive, fragmented,
and based on skills.”
Alfie Kohn
T...
“Drudgery is the feeling that what one is
doing is important to future goals, but
pursuing those goals is not motivating o...
The Antidote for Drudgery
is Reality
5
If students do not feel emotionally connected to their
school,  if they do not feel that adults at the school care
about t...
Adaptability
“...this is the most essential quality; for the
progress of the world is continually
opening new careers, and...
“Many of the kids graduating from college these
days are going to hold a number of different jobs
in their lives, and many...
“Coming into this school I did not know much about
what it would be like, so in a way I was taking a gamble.
It paid off.”...
Student-Center
Choice
Reality
Independence
Activity
Environment provides
10
11
12
Measuring Engagement
13
“The teachers know how to challenge the students and
the community is extremely supportive.” -student
14
15
16
17
18
19
20
21
22
23
24
25
26
27
28
29
30
31
32
33
34
Museum Park Super Neighborhood
35
Joel Bartsch
President of the Houston Museum of Natural Science
36
“I see great potential for students to
benefit from focused relationships with
curators and staff at the museum—
building o...
Working closely with students also
benefits the museum, furthering our
mission to enhance in citizens an interest
in natura...
Paleontology Intern
39
Marine Biology Intern
40
Entomology Intern
41
Psychology Intern
42
Exhibit Docents
43
High School Survey of
Student Engagement
University of Indiana, USA
44
HSSSE seeks to assess the
extent to which high school
students engage in education
practices associated with high
levels o...
Since 2004
500 schools
40 states
400,000 students
46
47
Questions
Teachers engage me in classroom discussions
How much does your school emphasize
understanding information and id...
3%
1%
13%
15%
5%
13%
65%
58%
73%
14%
35%
Strongly disagree Disagree Agree Strongly agree
Q4g. Teachers engage me in classr...
4%
1%
12%
2%
7%
46%
27%
93%
35%
69%
Not at all Very little Some Very much
Q6b. How much does you school emphasize: Underst...
5%
1%
7%
16%
9%
13%
44%
40%
80%
31%
47%
Never Rarely Sometimes Often
Q9i. During this school year, how often have you: Wor...
10%
3%
26%
17%
40%
42% 43%
60%
17%
35%
Never Rarely Sometimes Often
Q9m. During this school year, how often have you: Conn...
7%
2%
22%
11%
20%
43%
39%
80%
24%
46%
Never Rarely Sometimes Often
Q9l. During this school year, how often have you: Discu...
“The school gives us
opportunities and we’re
treated with respect and
trust.”
54
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How to Build the Best High Schools, Ever

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Adolescence is a time of fiery, creative developmental energy. We are primed to explore, discover, argue, build, create, and dream. We must do these things so that normal development can take place. Typical high schools are obstacles to this period of growth; they stunt development rather than ignite it and are often places that the love of learning goes to die. Modern high schools can be different. They can be developmental, engaging, and interesting places with more ‘reality’ and activity.

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How to Build the Best High Schools, Ever

  1. 1. How to Build the Best High Schools, Ever Organized by James Moudry jamesmoudry@postoakschool.org SXSWedu 2015 Resource 1
  2. 2. 2
  3. 3. “The root of the problem is a school experience that is essentially passive, fragmented, and based on skills.” Alfie Kohn The Schools Our Children Deserve (1999) 3
  4. 4. “Drudgery is the feeling that what one is doing is important to future goals, but pursuing those goals is not motivating or enjoyable at the moment.” Dr. Kevin Rathunde Professor Researcher: Optimal Experience University of Utah 4
  5. 5. The Antidote for Drudgery is Reality 5
  6. 6. If students do not feel emotionally connected to their school,  if they do not feel that adults at the school care about them, if they don’t feel that teachers are trying to teach them, and not just the content, students simply do not put in the requisite effort—and they do not learn, at least not up to their potential. John Chubb, President, National Association of Independent Schools, USA October 3, 2013 Engagement Matters 6
  7. 7. Adaptability “...this is the most essential quality; for the progress of the world is continually opening new careers, and at the same time closing or revolutionizing the traditional types of employment.” Dr. Maria Montessori Physician Educator Author, From Childhood to Adolescence (1948) 7
  8. 8. “Many of the kids graduating from college these days are going to hold a number of different jobs in their lives, and many of those jobs have not yet been invented. “For a world like that, what’s the best education? Seems to me it’s a very general education that enables you to think critically.” -Hunter Rawlings, NewYorkTimes, 2013 President,Association of American Universities 8
  9. 9. “Coming into this school I did not know much about what it would be like, so in a way I was taking a gamble. It paid off.” -student 9
  10. 10. Student-Center Choice Reality Independence Activity Environment provides 10
  11. 11. 11
  12. 12. 12
  13. 13. Measuring Engagement 13
  14. 14. “The teachers know how to challenge the students and the community is extremely supportive.” -student 14
  15. 15. 15
  16. 16. 16
  17. 17. 17
  18. 18. 18
  19. 19. 19
  20. 20. 20
  21. 21. 21
  22. 22. 22
  23. 23. 23
  24. 24. 24
  25. 25. 25
  26. 26. 26
  27. 27. 27
  28. 28. 28
  29. 29. 29
  30. 30. 30
  31. 31. 31
  32. 32. 32
  33. 33. 33
  34. 34. 34
  35. 35. Museum Park Super Neighborhood 35
  36. 36. Joel Bartsch President of the Houston Museum of Natural Science 36
  37. 37. “I see great potential for students to benefit from focused relationships with curators and staff at the museum— building on their coursework through real, behind-the-scenes experience with top professionals in the country. 37
  38. 38. Working closely with students also benefits the museum, furthering our mission to enhance in citizens an interest in natural science.” 38
  39. 39. Paleontology Intern 39
  40. 40. Marine Biology Intern 40
  41. 41. Entomology Intern 41
  42. 42. Psychology Intern 42
  43. 43. Exhibit Docents 43
  44. 44. High School Survey of Student Engagement University of Indiana, USA 44
  45. 45. HSSSE seeks to assess the extent to which high school students engage in education practices associated with high levels of learning and development. 45
  46. 46. Since 2004 500 schools 40 states 400,000 students 46
  47. 47. 47
  48. 48. Questions Teachers engage me in classroom discussions How much does your school emphasize understanding information and ideas for classes? How often have you worked on a paper or project that required you to do research? During this school year, how often have you connected ideas or concepts from one class to another? 48
  49. 49. 3% 1% 13% 15% 5% 13% 65% 58% 73% 14% 35% Strongly disagree Disagree Agree Strongly agree Q4g. Teachers engage me in classroom discussions 0% 20% 40% 60% PercentofResponseswithinGroup NAISHSSSE PublicYour School Post Oak School Bar Graphs Private Schools Public Schools Teachers engage me in classroom discussions 49
  50. 50. 4% 1% 12% 2% 7% 46% 27% 93% 35% 69% Not at all Very little Some Very much Q6b. How much does you school emphasize: Understanding information and ideas for ... 0% 20% 40% 60% 80% PercentofResponseswithinGroup NAISHSSSE PublicYour School Post Oak School Bar Graphs How much does your school emphasize understanding information and ideas for classes? 50
  51. 51. 5% 1% 7% 16% 9% 13% 44% 40% 80% 31% 47% Never Rarely Sometimes Often Q9i. During this school year, how often have you: Worked on a paper or project that r... 0% 20% 40% 60% 80% PercentofResponseswithinGroup NAISHSSSE PublicYour School Post Oak School Bar Graphs How often have you worked on a paper or project that required you to do research? 51
  52. 52. 10% 3% 26% 17% 40% 42% 43% 60% 17% 35% Never Rarely Sometimes Often Q9m. During this school year, how often have you: Connected ideas or concepts from ... 0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% PercentofResponseswithinGroup NAISHSSSE PublicYour School Post Oak School Bar Graphs During this school year, how often have you connected ideas or concepts from one class to another? 52
  53. 53. 7% 2% 22% 11% 20% 43% 39% 80% 24% 46% Never Rarely Sometimes Often Q9l. During this school year, how often have you: Discussed questions in class that ha... 0% 20% 40% 60% 80% PercentofResponseswithinGroup NAISHSSSE PublicYour School Post Oak School Bar Graphs During this school year, how often have you discussed questions in class that have no clear answers? 53
  54. 54. “The school gives us opportunities and we’re treated with respect and trust.” 54
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