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Q: What worked well for you on our trip to visit small schools in San Diego?

What worked best for me: It was good to go into classrooms and speak with students as well as observing the teachers. The best thing though was a very open conversation with a couple of students at Kearney during their lunch as well as a discussion with a group of students which one of the principals allowed at least one of the groups to do.

Q: What are your key lessons learned?

My Key lessons learned: That given time the idea of being in a small school within a larger campus is one students really do like. They feel like they are cared about as a person and they would not want to go back to the idea of a large school. The first few years might be hard because some of the students still hold to wanting to be with all their friends from th larger school but soon enough students find that theys still have ways of seeing those friends and later it tends to be most of their true friends are those they share daily work and schedules with. I think it is a good idea to have just one lunch time, or two since MPHS is so large, so that students can mingle between schools, this is something that is done at both schools visited which I believe helps keep students of different schools connected so that when they attend sporting events they can feel like one school supporting that event.

Q: What would you like to focus on moving forward as part of your school redesign team?

Moving forward focus: How the physical building will look so that it is possible to tell that it isn't just one big school but that there are schools within the school. I think students and staff would feel more like they are in their own school if there is a way to distinctly tell they at in their school. This can mean different thing for different people but I think it is necessary in order to feel more connected.

Q: What do you personally intend to do as a result of what you have learned?

I will continue to tell the community members that ask me about SLC's that I believe they work and give them examples of why I believe that to be true. I can give them bits of my conversation with actual students who are in SLC's and why they wouldn't change things if they could. I would be able to tell them how much it means to students to be known by all their staff, it was clear that at least at Kearney where I saw much more staff interaction with students, that staff knew students by name and students respected staff in a different way than they do here at MPHS.

Q: Anything else?

I would say that to me Kearney was a much better place to visit. Though High Tech High was good in some ways I didn't really see how staff instructed their students nor did we speak to many students . Since High Tech High is a charter things are very different there, many of their teachers aren't yet certified to teach for example, for me Kearney was much more like MPHS not only in what it looks like but in how instruction is happening. This of course is coming from a person who is not an educator. Those that work with students on a daily basis would likely see things better, like instruction that is done without working with the whole group or a specific portion of the whole group. As a parent and community leader it is important to me to see how instruction is taking place, many parents often tell me that their student will have one or more teachers that don't seem to teach well, they know the subject but that the students aren't understanding it the way it is being taught to them. This is why for me it it important to be seeing how instruction is taking place.

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