Why are we unique?
In opening our high school, we want to exceed the needs of our students while remaining unique. In researching what our students will need, we determined that post-secondary options are their greatest concern. We will have students from a variety of backgrounds: some will seek to attend ivy league colleges, some will want to enter the job force upon graduation, others will enter the military, and many will want to attend one of the many excellent 2 and 4 year colleges within the state of Florida. All of these students will need to accomplish these goals in a 21st century environment. To ensure our mission and vision is realized, DHS will integrate the following components into its instructional model by utilizing the following statement that will serve as our definition of student success: By their graduation, ALL DHS students will have:
- Received a rigorous STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) education
- Mastered the 21st Century Skills set outlined in our vision
- Received Intensive College and Career Planning through the school’s advisory program
- Participated in Student-Led Conferences 3 times per year
- Created and presented a student led portfolio each year
- Completed at least one industry certification in technology
- Participated in a career-based internship or community service project
- Become proficient in the use of a various technologies needed in the 21st Century
Technology as a Learning Tool
Teachers will blend technology into their classes on a regular basis to ensure DHS is creating an effective 21st century learning environment. DHS plans to use technology to differentiate, remediate, challenge, and enhance classroom instruction through its use in direct instruction, collaboration, and independent practice.
The Advisor/Advisee Program
Each teacher will have a small group of students they will mentor throughout each year of high school. In this class, students will think into the future and plan where they want to be in 10 years – not like the traditional approach that plans for four years of high school only. Our plan takes students beyond college or career focus and allows them to set reasonable goals and plan how to achieve those goals. Each DHS student will set goals for the courses taken and acquire the 21st Century Skills needed to achieve success in the modern world.
Students today are struggling with communication, both articulating their thoughts and being self-advocates. Students are also becoming disengaged and lack ownership of their learning. To counter this, DHS will adopt a program of Student Led Conferences. Student Led Conferences will be a unique way for all students to talk about and present their learning to their parents, teachers, and administrators. DHS will also promote greater ownership of learning through the creation of student chosen goals that are vital to student learning. DHS students will track their progress toward meeting their goals. Within their presentation, students will demonstrate mastery of the goal and proficiency in other areas.
Each year a student is enrolled at DHS, he/she will be required to submit an electronic portfolio. The electronic portfolio will be managed through the Google Drive services and will be submitted as a student-created private website. Students who are prohibited from using technology or the internet by signing the technology opt out form or who cannot maintain appropriate access to the Internet or other forms of technology will be able to submit a hard copy portfolio to ensure all students have equal access to achieving success with their portfolio.
At the conclusion of each year, students will present their portfolios to their parents, teachers, and/or administrators and will explain how the project demonstrates mastery of their content areas. DHS is confident that the electronic portfolio will be yet another tool to ensure students maintain pride and enthusiasm in their work.
The Student Learning Progression Plan
At DHS, we believe that student ownership of learning is paramount. We also recognize that at the high school level students are just beginning the path of determining their future and what it will look like. To ensure that students are prepared to make these important decisions, DHS has developed a unique Student Learning Plan to ensure students have the tools needed to enter college or the career force with the needed tools. Below is a summary of our progression plan:
- At the core of the progression plan will be individualized college and career guidance. Students will be given the tools needed to meet the State of Florida requirements for graduation, as well as the tools needed to align their learning experiences at DHS with their college and career goals.
- To ensure all students meet their college and career goals, DHS will offer a variety of programs to meet the needs of all students.
- DHS will provide career guidance and preparation to those seeking to enter a specific career field or trade instead of attending college.
- DHS will offer rigorous and intensive courses to those students who are seeking to complete the standard requirements for a Florida High School Diploma and who are seeking to enter the workforce.
- DHS will offer rigorous AP, honors, regular, and innovative elective courses for those students who intend on graduating from DHS and attending college.
21st Century Lifeskills
The bedrock foundation of our high school is the 21st Century Lifeskills. These benchmarks are research-based skills that top employers seek in 21st Century employees. To help our students be successful in the post-secondary world, DHS will embed these skills into our daily curriculum. The DHS 21st Century Lifeskills are as follows:
- Ability to work on a team
- Ability to make decisions and solve problems
- Ability to plan, organize, and prioritize work
- Ability to communicate with people inside and outside of an organization
- Ability to obtain and process information
- Ability to analyze quantitative data
- Technical knowledge related to the job
- Proficiency with computer software programs
- Ability to create and/or edit written reports
- Ability to sell or influence others
By embedding these skills in our school, we will be able to accomplish our mission of ensuring students “become responsible, productive citizens in a changing world.
STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math)
By the year 2020, there will be a demand for 123 million high-skilled STEM employees and only 50 million candidates to fill those spots. We will have a focus on the types of learning and skills students will need to succeed in a 21st Century environment. This will include a focus on STEM education. Recent research has shown that the United States has fallen behind many countries with regard to education and career prep in STEM fields. At DHS, part of our core principles will be to ensure students have access both inside and outside of school to STEM programs, with an emphasis on mathematics, technology, engineering and science. Our STEM program will include engaging and relevant cross-curricular practical applications. Real-world unpredictable situations will demand that students construct explanations and design solutions that utilize 21st century skills. In addition, literacy skills will be required in order to obtain, evaluate, and communicate information as the students construct their engineering design plans. Students will be challenged to use creative, problem solving as they elicit ideas for constraints in possible design solutions. Career exploration, as well, will be a focal point. Students will be required to consider the goal, role, audience, situation, and product as they strive to develop design solutions for real-world problems. The STEM performance tasks or design challenges will provide authentic assessments of student understanding as well as demonstrate the interdependence of science, technology, engineering and math.
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