Haven High School Redesign
Haven high school is excited to launch into school redesign. The best part of the redesign process is the specialized development for our school, community, and staff. As a staff we have been able to give input and ideas that drive the process, controlling our future as a school.
Our story at Haven is unique. We presented the option to “redesign” to our school in the spring of 2018. We thought we could wait and see what other schools do, but it is possible we would be told how to redesign, and not get our own chance to create what was best for Haven. In deciding where to start our journey, thought it was best to hear from our most important stakeholders - students. We asked seniors, specifically, since they have spent the most time in our high school - What do you wish would have been different?
First part of our journey started with establishing our vision. Many rounds of brainstorming occurred (between staff and students), followed by surveys and information newsletters to stakeholders of the community. We wanted to be student centered and find what fit haven learners best. This inquiry of students led to our building level outcomes - how we wanted our students to graduate have accomplished (employable?, successful life). These outcomes were otherwise known as our WHY.
The journey wasn’t always easy, we hit a few roadblocks, including deep exploration into flex-mod. Ultimately, as this is teacher-driven, staff was not ready to jump completely of flex mod. However, we felt aspects of model were important and feasible here at Haven. Recently have built professional committees based around core goal areas, and are excited about strategies we want to implement.
We have developed 4 main areas. Improving Student learning was the first. We understand that through this process, everyone has developed their own definition of redesign. For us, at first, we thought it meant big schedule changes, and that was our focus. But, we just weren’t getting anywhere as a staff. Once we realized our definition of redesign wasn’t necessarily big changes, but better change, we finally felt we could move forward and create the best environment for our kids.
The redesign schedule incorporated PLT (personal Learning Time), which give students 60-80 minutes a day of freedom to plan and work with teachers, peers, or independently. Expanded learning is a time we have put aside every 2 weeks to connect with kids and teach outside the box. We focus on what students need to know, like how to change a tire or balance a checkbook. Continuing to focus on students, we developed small advisory classes. These small families with in our school help our teachers and students to become closer, helping enrich student connections with the school community, while providing them with solid social emotional supports. Curriculum wise we added career and life planning class. It was developed to give students the edge on where they want to take their lives. We also made changes to our upper level english courses, giving students more choice and customization. Individual Plans of Study are being implemented to help students track and navigate their plans for life. This process goes beyond a class and into a holistic realm of the high school experince. The hope is that students build a solid foundation for their futures and reach goals they desire, while providing themselves and their families with a quality life.
Improving student well-being through advisories is a concept we believe in. In addition to this initiative we want to support student soft skills. We have added the ACT Tessera, a test that helps students quantify their soft skills and compare lonitodal data. We have also added employability skills to our initiative. Employability skills include: Teamwork, Communication, Positive Attitude, Leadership, Problem Solving, Grit , Responsibility. It is our hope to create a universal vocabulary to help staff relay meaningful and familiar terminology during teaching moments. Relationship mapping also helps us to engage students in the school community. Asking who they connect with is an important part of reaching their needs. The mapping is arranged around all staff including classified. This holistic approach helps us to unite as adults and lead our students to success.
Improving community relations is a continuing growth area for us. We want to connect our kids with our community, not just the school. This will be accomplished through internships and shadowing, but also through establishing big events, including career fairs and Reality U presentations as well as community service opportunities. We also have added student based businesses that impact both in and outside of the school building. Inside the school is the DEN cafe. This cafe serves the students and staff specialty drinks and snacks. Outside the school is our community outreach company called green house goods. This is a produce distribution service for community members. These programs give real world experiences for our students.
The future's not set. As a staff we understand the redesign effort is one that is living. It is an organic process that never ends due to the ever changing needs of our students. With that said, we never want to forget who we are, and where we came from, and what makes Haven High School already so special.
Principal Haven High School