Most Likely to Succeed
Rockhurst community members and other STEAM enthusiasts from the metro area met September 4 to watch the documentary Most Likely to Succeed. The audience then discussed the film’s relevance after the viewing.
The documentary took an in-depth look at a charter school, High Tech High, in San Diego, California. At High Tech High, students do not have tests, finals, or bells. Instead, students learn through group projects and Socratic seminars. They have an exhibition night, which shows the community different projects that the students work on for the majority of the school year. Exhibition night serves as a checkpoint for parents to ensure that progress is being made throughout the year.
At High Tech High, teachers have full autonomy over what they want to teach. There is no curriculum to follow, and the teachers even admit that they may only cover 40 to 60 percent of what a traditional class setting may cover in a year. However, the school believes that the skills learned through these projects are what will make their students stand out to prospective employers.
The short term facts show that High Tech High does work. Students on average score 10% higher than their Californian peers, and 98% of students go on to a four year college. Little is known about how they do in college or how they fair getting jobs because this program is so new.
From a Student’s Point of View
High Tech High does a great job of preparing their students for life in a technological world because they build up students’ creativity and ability to work in groups. These skills are invaluable, but the same can arguably be achieved through co-curriculars.
Co-curriculars are in no way required, but as a students we should all want to be the best self that we can be which probably includes joining a few clubs, or writing for the Prep News. We should be able to learn what needs to be learned from the hours of eight to three, and then go use those skills that we have learned in the science club or Robotics team. School is a time for us to gain curiosity, while the time we spend in co-curriculars should be a time to explore that curiosity.
The way that we can best learn from High Tech High is by realizing that we live in a world of instant gratification. If I do not remember the equation for angular velocity, then I can just google it, or even ask Siri. Knowing this, we move forward by letting students use a cheat sheet on tests. The students would still need to know how to apply the ideas on the cheat sheet, but they would not have to waste their time memorizing something they would rarely have to utilize after the test.
We should look to help our students become more loving in the workplace. This can be achieved by having a group project every once in awhile to help push home a new concept. These projects would also help students develop those “soft skills” that High Tech High tries to build in their students.