The Education Innovator #8
Volume II
Archived Information

The Education Innovator
 March 1, 2004 • Number 8
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What's inside...
High Tech High
What's New
OII announces two new grant competitions, State Charter School Facilities Incentive and Excellence in Economic Education; Institute of Education Sciences announces competition for research center on innovation; Secretary Paige confirms respect for the nation's teachers; South Carolina considers "Put Parents in Charge" Act; Secretary Paige issues letter on progress made since NCLB; Secretary Paige comments on DC choice initiative; Department to host Technology Leadership Summits; National Endowment for the Arts launches Shakespeare in American Communities; and receives $2.3 million in new funding.
Innovations in the News
Library in Michigan offers students; plus information on arts in education, school choice, charter schools, and writing.

Charter School Prepares Students to Lead in the High-Tech World
What do you do with an old Navy training center? How about turning it into a school--a charter school that embraces technology and how it applies to the world of work? So began the Gary and Jerri-Ann Jacobs High Tech High Charter School.

"High Tech High" (HTH) was founded in 2000 by a group of business leaders and educators. The newly designed former Naval Training Center in San Diego houses the small, but diverse, learning community that is supported by industry leaders, who provide funding and time to mentor students. The school's curriculum focuses on math, science, and engineering, with an emphasis on three principles:

  • personalizing learning;
  • making adult-world connections; and
  • working toward a common intellectual mission.
To help students become leaders in the high-tech world, the school uses the following approaches: performance-based assessment, daily planning time for staff, state-of-the-art facilities (including the Great Room, a large, open space equipped with computers and other technical equipment), required internships for all graduating students, and close links to high-tech work places. As part of the can-do attitude, students even provide custodial services on campus to save the school money, and, thereby, allow more funds for learning tools such as high-quality computer and networking equipment.

One technology application that students develop is the Digital Portfolio. The portfolio uses the Internet to showcase the student's best work when applying for internships and jobs or to apply to colleges. One portfolio from the class of 2004 has a display of a History Day project on the mass production of automobiles with a slide presentation using graphics, animation, and other design elements to enhance the historical content. The school uses an online tutorial to help students plan and launch their portfolios.

High Tech High also makes connections among core subject matter disciplines. For example, as part of studying the history of World Wars I and II, students build a human-powered submarine. To do the project they are required to become scuba certified and must study nuclear chemistry and marine biology. In addition to visiting war memorials in the San Diego area, they conduct research in marine ecology in Mexico.

Student achievement data show that High Tech High students are performing above average. According to 2003 Adequate Yearly Progress data, 85.7 percent of all students at the school scored proficient or above in English language arts, and 79.2 percent were proficient or above in mathematics. SAT I scores in 2002-03 were above the county and district averages, and 132 points above the statewide average.

The innovations at High Tech High are catching on around the country. In 2002 the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation founded a network of high schools based on the High Tech High model. In addition, the California Department of Education passed legislation to establish the High Tech High School Grant Program for school districts or charter schools to establish similar high schools. The high school's program and facility design will influence the design of 14 new schools to be built in San Diego over the next 10 years.

For additional information, please view

The U.S. Department of Education, Office of Innovation and Improvement provides support for charter schools through:

Note: The feature describes one school that is being viewed as a model by other schools, policymakers, and private organizations across the country. This description is not intended as an endorsement.


What's New
Funding Opportunity - State Charter School Facilities Incentive Program
The competition for the State Charter School Facilities Incentive Program was announced on February 23 and will close July 1. The application package will be available in the middle of March. The purpose of this grant program is to assist charter schools with school facility costs by providing federal funds to states to establish or enhance and administer per-pupil charter school facilities aid programs. (Feb.23 )

Funding Opportunity - Excellence in Economic Education Program
The competition for the Excellence in Economic Education Program opened on February 27 and will close April 14. This program promotes economic and financial literacy among all K-12 students. One award will be made to a national nonprofit educational organization whose primary mission is to improve the quality of student understanding of personal finance and economics. (Feb. 27)

Funding Opportunity - Institute of Education Sciences
The Institute of Education Sciences has announced the competition for funding of new research centers, one of which will be on innovation and education reform. The deadline for a letter of intent to apply is March 4, and the deadline to apply is May 27.

Focus on the Children
Secretary of Education Rod Paige expressed his respect for the nation's teachers, and commitment to children, in an article in the Washington Post. (Feb. 27)

Columbia, SC Governor Sanford Unveils "Put Parents in Charge" Act
A new "Put Parents in Charge" Act has been proposed in South Carolina. It is designed to restore parental control of education and expand educational opportunities for low and mid-income families. (Feb. 26)

Paige Details No Child Left Behind Implementation Progress
Secretary Paige issued a letter to Democratic members of the Senate Education, Labor and Pensions Committee and the House Education and the Workforce Committee detailing the progress made since No Child Left Behind was enacted. (Feb. 24)

Remarks of Secretary Paige at The OII Innovations In Education Exchange Series
Secretary Paige commented on the new options made available through opportunity scholarships and the DC school choice initiative at the latest Innovations in Education Exchange on "School Choices." (Feb. 25)

Technology Leadership Summits
The U.S. Department of Education will host two Technology Leadership Summits to highlight the role of educational technology in accomplishing the mission of No Child Left Behind . The first, to be held March 10-12 in St. Louis, is entitled "Empowering Accountability and Assessment Using Technology." The second, "Increasing Options through E-Learning," is scheduled for July. (Feb. 25)

National Endowment for the Arts
The National Endowment for the Arts has launched Shakespeare in American Communities to bring Shakespeare's plays to more than 100 communities in all 50 states and to 16 military bases across the country. The Endowment has also developed a multimedia educational resource kit to help teachers bring Shakespeare to life in the classroom. (Feb. 19) a Supplemental Educational Services Provider, an approved supplemental educational services provider in such states as New York, Indiana, and New Mexico, offers online information and learning services for libraries and educational organizations. The company has received $2.3 million in additional funding through existing investors. (Feb. 23)

Reminder: March Grant Application Deadlines
  • Teaching American History, March 2
  • DC School Choice Incentive, March 5
  • Magnet Schools Assistance, March 15

Innovations in the News

Romeo District Library (MI) now offers local students free help with homework questions through the use of (see What's New) [More-Source] (Feb. 13)

Arts in Education
Education consultant, Harriett Ball, uses songs with rhymes about mathematical principles to teach math. KIPP DC: Key Academy uses her methods, and this charter school had the largest middle-school math achievement gains of DC public schools in 2002. [More-Washington Post] (Feb. 24)

School Choice
When school registration opens in Lee County, Florida in early 2005, parents will see some major changes. The county's education board will create a school enrollment plan that promises to cut back on busing and give students more educational options. [More-News-Press] (Feb. 26)

Parents in Yonkers (NY) will participate in Ballot Week, the Yonkers version of school choice that kicks off with the annual ballot fair on March 13. Many resources are available to parents to help them make their decision. [More-Journal News] (Feb. 26)

Charter Schools
Two new charter schools following the High Tech High model have been approved in San Diego: one in international studies and the other in media technologies. [More-Sign On San Diego] (Feb. 25)

The Boston Globe offers quick facts about Massachusetts charter schools. [More-Boston Globe] (Feb. 26)

Teachers and school officials of the Pascagoula (MS) School District are planning "Writing on the Walls," to show the community how all forms of writing are incorporated into the school district's curriculum as a result of participation in the Live Oak Writing Project, an affiliate of OII's funded National Writing Project to improve writing in schools. [More-Sun Herald] (Feb. 23)


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Last Modified: 06/28/2011