Today’s schools were built and are staffed and organized to deliver lessons in textbook and lecture-driven ways, with a single teacher at the head of the class and students generally progressing through the material at the same pace.
School leaders need support to execute transformational change.
- Schools are using technology, but largely in additive ways; few school leaders promote completely overhauling the teaching and learning model.
- School funding policies that would permit virtual course enrollment and integration of new supplies are not controlled at the school level.
- The transformational change needed requires buy-in from teachers, parents, students and support staff who need to change the way they do their jobs.
Short time blocks per subject inhibit students' ability to rotate through multiple modules and learn online.
- Traditional Carnegie unit structure has institutionalized daily blocks per subject.
- AP courses require specified number of classroom hours per week.
- Majority of states mandate a 175-180 day school year.
Outdated and limiting school structures impact school leaders' ability to change model.
- Urban schools frequently share building space (e.g., over 60% of NYC charter schools share buildings with other schools) - most integrated models require re-configuration of physical space.
- Chicago Public Schools (CPS) spends $380M annually to operate and maintain its buildings; the average CPS school building is 73 years old.
Reliance on a single adult role in the school limits innovation.
- Any integrated model requires teachers to take on additional tasks (e.g., one-on-one tutoring), but only a third of public school teachers have dedicated or shared classroom support (e.g., assistant teacher or classroom aide).
Companies such as Ed Elements and Junyo are filling a market gap by providing schools with change management, leadership support and on-the-ground training as they transform learning and teaching models using technology.
School of One combined three math classrooms into one, lengthened math class to 70 minutes and staffed three teachers plus aides to each group of 90 students, all enabling greater flexibility and rotation.
Rocketship uses paraprofessionals to monitor computer activity, giving teachers 25% more time for training, lesson assembly and data analysis.
Carpe Diem has one teacher for each subject for all grades and hires assistants to monitor students. All classes take place in small rooms off of a large computer lab that resembles a call center.
High Tech High employs a model of project-based learning and trains teachers in a new teaching model at its graduate school of education.