Ideas and Thoughts from Larry Rosenstock, CEO of High Tech High

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Image from TEDxAmericasFinestCity

Recently Danielle Rich, our ES principal, shared with me a video about High Tech High (HTH) and its CEO Larry Rosenstock. HTH and Larry Rosenstock has created a network of charter schools that uses its four designing principles (personalization, adult world connection, and common intellectual mission, teacher as designer) to create learning environments that are radically different than traditional ones. This led me to create a YouTube playlist of videos of Larry Rosenstock interviews. Here are some of the things I learned from him:

  • “Most Memorable Learning Experience” exercise where teachers share two learning experiences that they felt were memorable; common answers (project, community, fear of failure, recognition of success, mentorship, public display of work) that can be used in your own pedagogy
  • Project Phases: observation, reflection, documentation, presentation
  • STEAM instead of STEM because art and design are central to all aspects of STEM
  • Rosenstock’s Integrations: integration between the mind, heart and hand; integration of social class (accepted by lottery and never segregated in any way); integration of head and hand (need to use both well, not just one); integration of secondary and post-secondary (geared towards college acceptance) integration of school and community
  • Huge focus on production and not consumption; students can only play games that they created
  • Have students behave like or be like a professional since a huge part of adolescence is trying on new roles and identities
  • Rigor: Not only increased complexity of content, but “I would argue that rigor is being in the company of a passionate adult who is rigorously pursuing inquiry in the area of their subject matter and is inviting students along as peers in that adult discourse.” 
  • How do you know you are a good teacher? “The sophistication of your kids’ work. If your kids are producing work that’s worth doing and that has a lasting value and learning that’s worth learning, you’re a good teacher.”
  • Judge teachers by quality of their students’ work through public exhibitions
  • Use and bring in teachers’ interests; teachers’ excitement is a huge part of engagement
  • “Walls permeable” with the outside world through internship and community service
  • Take methodology of tech like group perform, team-taught, experiential, applied, expeditionary, and producing; connecting pedagogy of tech (not content) with academic content
  • Design of the school: Lots of glass (incubator or startup), so that student work can be showcased (curation), and allow students to see what is going on in other classes
  • Peer effect (social pressure is “you are going to college”);
  • Treat students with respect
  • Teachers have to collaborate: meet 1st block because that is when conversations are more productive; every morning of the year meets with different groups (different configuration of common planning time)
  • Catch yourself every time systematically mis-predicting who can or can’t do what among children.”
  • “Principals and public education that best gives you the opportunity to rise against disadvantage”
  • The goal is the change the world!