Wednesday, November 14, 2012

What Does Deeper Learning Look Like?



In this video, you meet the students and teachers of City Arts and Technology (CAT). The high school experience at CAT is entirely focused on supporting students so they can be successful in college, career and life. Staff and students alike are very focused on creating an understanding, a culture, and an expectation of college-going. At the heart of the school's approach to teaching and learning is the school's unique deeper learning assessment system.

CAT's student assessment requires students to demonstrate mastery not only in academic content knowledge but also in those key competencies mentioned above—the same competencies that researchers, education leaders and business leaders say are essential for the twenty-first-century global workforce. Pay close attention to the part of the video that focuses on the graduation portfolio.

CAT opened in 2004 and is a thriving hub of project --based learning, rigorous standards, student and teacher collaboration, and community engagement. The building is literally humming with activity. The student population is 60 percent students of color, 57 percent first generation college bound, 51 percent free or reduced lunch, and 6 percent English Language Learners. Situated atop a hill in a tidy working class San Francisco neighborhood, it fits just perfectly....exactly what a neighborhood high school should be.

CAT is part of a small network of schools called Envision Schools. Envision is a charter management company based in Oakland that operates four college prep public charter schools. In total, these four high schools serve 1,300 students. Sixty-one percent of all Envision students are what they call "First Generation College Bound." Envisions is proud to share that 95 percent of their 2008 graduates were admitted to college and have stayed in college—a very important distinction considering that less than 60 percent of all students who enroll in college earn a bachelor's degree within six years per the U.S. Department of Education.

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I am the Director of Technology at a K-12 School system.