On November 10th, the Obama Administration hosted the first-ever White House Summit on Next Generation High Schools. The event highlighted students, educators, philanthropists, and entrepreneurs who are reinventing the high school experience to better empower students to seize opportunities in today’s economy, and prepare students for success in college and career. As part of the President’s 2015 State of the Union push, the White House called for a national effort to create more Next Generation High Schools—schools that incorporate key elements of redesign, including more personalized and active learning, access to real-world and hands-on learning such as “making” experiences, deeper ties to post-secondary institutions, and a focus on expanding STEM opportunities for girls and other groups of students who are underrepresented in these high-growth, well-paying fields.
Principal of KIPP DC College Preparatory (KCP), Jessica Cunningham, attended the event to highlight KCP’s commitment as a Next Generation High School to double the number of students it serves and deepen investments in instructional technology to ensure that alumni have the tools and support needed to graduate from college, enter rewarding careers, and lead choice-filled lives.
Ms. Cunningham also presented a “lightning talk” on KCP’s innovative online professional development offering. Historically, professional development has been conducted in person and has required teachers, teacher leaders, instructional coaches, and school leaders to modify schedules and work around multiple logistical challenges. However, with the support of several online platforms such as Canvas, Hapara, and Torsh, KIPP DC has been able to gamify professional learning, incentivize teachers, and provide them with access to self-paced, online learning modules and micro-credentials that promote a culture of constant growth and propel student achievement.
These online professional development courses are created by KIPP DC’s top teachers and are available in 12-unit learning modules. Teachers earn “badges” as they complete individual units and earn a micro-credential and $1,000 stipend upon completion of each course. Behind the scenes, our Instructional Technology and Innovation team is closely monitoring data for trends around mastery and engagement, and providing real-time adjustments and coaching as needed. In addition to supporting a culture of constant growth at our own high school, we have partnered with other LEAs to share our learning modules and best practices beyond our network.
Hats off to the KCP team! We are excited to see what comes next at our Next Generation High School!