Below are a few examples of initiatives I have led (or am currently leading) while serving as Resident Director at High Tech Middle School (an integrated PBL-based public charter in San Diego, CA). Skim through here for summaries, or click on the images or links to watch some videos and get more detailed information.
Using Design Thinking to Include Student Voice in School Change
Can we turn teachers into designers to better serve our students and even re-think school structures? From the results of our first month implementing the Design Process at High Tech Middle School, it would seem that we can. I facilitated two all-staff professional development workshops on User-Centered Design to get our staff thinking differently about how we plan classes and projects for our students, and the process was illuminating - and fun. Learn more about how we used Design Thinking with staff and students.
"Protocol-less" Protocols: facilitating unscripted dialogues with teachers
I wanted to get a group of teachers in dialogue about feedback - and what encouraged them to give each other feedback, and what kept them from doing so. Due to the nature of the conversation, I did not want to limit our flexibility to ask follow-up questions mid-discussion, or spend more time talking about what the teachers found most important - so a strict "protocol" was not the right tool. However, in a school with a strong protocol focus, what would they think of my facilitation? Find out what teachers had to say about my facilitation.
documenting and assessing progressive practices
"Progressive" pedagogy can mean a lot of things, but, generally-speaking, it does not mean "traditional." The problem is, when not using traditional teaching methods (and standardized methods of assessment), how do you know that you are actually helping your students learn and be successful? As we found ourselves in the middle of a large-scale school "experiment" in progressive teaching (that we named "Projectopia"), it seemed like a good time to work with our staff to develop meaningful assessments of their students' work. Read more about this process.
Considering my experience working in a number of schools with very different visions for helping students achieve success (as well as ideas pulled from my non-school professional experiences), I have a lot of ideas of what "education" could look like. Therefore, when I was asked to come up with a School Design plan based on practical considerations and my vision for a school, it wasn't too hard for me to put something together. Read about my vision for what effective education could look like.
As a bicultural person of color, issues of equity have strongly shaped my identity and professional life, and I have subsequently spent a large portion of my career working with educational organizations and staff in creating safe spaces for self-reflection and action regarding these issues. Within an organization such as High Tech High that intentionally integrates its student population, these conversations and safe spaces become even more important, as integration without understanding can tend towards increased feelings of isolation by members of non-dominant groups, as well as general conflict between groups. Therefore, I chose to focus my Action Research on working to encourage consistent, constructive, and explicit discourse about issues of equity among staff and students across HTH sites. Read about how I went about this work and what I learned, as a result.