Freshmen registering at Vista High School Friday entered not only a new phase of their education, but the next chapter in the school’s story, as the campus switches to a personalized learning model.
The orientation included typical packets of back-to-school paperwork and also games and exercises designed to prepare students and their parents for a different approach to high school.
Last year, Vista High won a five-year, $10 million grant to create a “high school of the future” in a national competition designed to spur educational innovation. The school is using those funds to convert to a system of personalized learning, in which students master skills at their own pace, set goals based on their interests and use knowledge gained in class to tackle real-world “challenges.”
“You want kids to be engaged in their learning,” English teacher Shannon Caponera said. “That’s the only way they’ll continue with learning for the rest of their lives.”
This year’s incoming freshmen will be at the forefront of that transition and orientation was their first taste of what’s to come. That included assignment to “houses,” which will be the students’ academic families over the next four years, and an introduction to the concepts that will guide their high school experience.
In the gymnasium, English teacher Jen Anderson showed students how to keep balloons aloft by blowing through the straw, an activity aimed at demonstrating the habit of persistence.
“It’s keeping at it, even when it’s hard, or events aren’t going the way you want them to,” Anderson said.
The balloon game was part of a circuit of…
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