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The Case for Change

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Team Case for Change


1. We are looking to develop Collaboration High School in a lower Manhattan location. The student population will be diverse - a large percentage of black and latino students with an emphasis on students with special needs. Based on data collected by the New York Department of Education in 2019, college readiness rates for black and latino students were below 50%. The study implies that the expectations of our school system aren’t high enough and how we are teaching our students isn’t effective. The project based curriculum that is implemented at CHS will be one with high expectations for our students while developing 21st century skills and knowledge. According to the Research Alliance of New York City Schools, “Black and Latino students, and low-income students are also disproportionately served in non-inclusive, special classrooms.” We believe that having these students mostly segregated from students without disabilities is a disservice. At CHS we will be looking to combat this issue by having smaller class sizes and an integrated co-teaching model in every classroom so we can meet the needs of all of our students and avoid a non-inclusive environment.


2. Since the beginning of this design process we made it a priority to collect empathy interviews and invite students to design meetings. Over the past few months we have heard about their experiences, education, and opportunities. We have found that the three commonalities mentioned were a desire for student voice, meaningful learning opportunities, and supportive environment for social emotional growth. These threads have become the framework for our school mission.  Student voice will be at the forefront of designing, governing and operating our school. A project-based curriculum will provided meaningful learning opportunities while developing 21st-century skills and knowledge in real-life settings and applications. Finally, social emotional growth will be promoted through an extensive advisory program, restorative justice, and counseling.

3. Young people learn and grow best in supportive, academically challenging environments that provide them the opportunities to participate in purposefully constructed, engaging learning experiences. Productive struggle, guided by student choice and with appropriate support, will be at the forefront of our school. Pairing social and emotional development with academic tasks through rigorous projects, internships, and authentic learning experiences will support Black, Latinx, and special education students in developing as whole people. Student strengths, needs, and voice will shape the instruction, governance, and ongoing development of the school. When students engage fully with problems and tasks and struggle through the process they are more likely to process the skills and information into long term memory. 


4) Project Based Learning is where student engagement and rigor meet. When a student is given the opportunity to produce a project of their own choosing it is up to them to act upon their goals. When a student is independent in their project they have to find solutions to problems they might not have ever imagined would arise. With surprising challenges students must find creative solutions in order to continue. Without acting, the project cannot continue, therefore they must engage in rigorous challenges. With PBL, student engagement and rigor are symbiotic. 

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