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Partners in Learning Network

MicroSoft Partners in Learning

Highland Tech Charter School

PIL – Mentor School 2012

The Highland Tech community is both honored and humbled to share their on-going journey in building a world-class educational system with the Pathfinder Schools they will be mentoring. The journey to transforming teaching and learning is unique for each school, however Highland will be supporting others as they empower Students’ Voice and Choice in their formal educational.

The Microsoft Partners in Learning program is designed to support educators and school leaders to connect, collaborate, create and share their most powerful and innovative practices so that students can realize their greatest potential. Having returned in early November from the Partners in Learning Global Forum we were filled with new ideas and innovations to share with staff and students. Further, we engaged in deep conversation with many schools from around the globe who are doing incredible things with children.

Membership and participation in the network is free and provides the opportunity to engage with educators from across the globe to develop new approaches and material for a new type of learner. The network serves as a global professional development network that connects like-minded educators. Transparency is at the center of the network where learning from and with others is key. Additionally, school leaders work together to develop a culture where innovation is encouraged for both staff and students.

For schools that embrace the deeper level work that comes with transforming traditional education systems, Microsoft Partners in Learning has created the Pathfinder and Mentor School Programs. Highland has been invited to participate as a Mentor School due to many factors. Among these is our belief that shared leadership promotes a high level of Student Voice and Choice where students are active participants and decision makers in their learning and in how their school operates.

Further, Highland Tech is a competency-based school where mastery learning is expected, free of the traditional seat time model of education. Integration of technology devices, software, and web-based programs are integral to student learning. Students move at their own pace while developing 21st Century Skills in a learning environment that promotes innovation through risk taking. Staff is also encouraged to think outside the box in order to provide top-notch teaching and learning experiences for students. Shared Leadership and Continuous Improvement (hallmarks of our school) facilitate a reciprocal relation where all members of our community are active learners.

Tying together our current practice with the resources provided through participation in the Microsoft Partners in Learning Network allows us to reach outside the walls of our school to learn within the growing global environment where our students will eventually be employed.

For more information on Highland Tech Charter visit our website
Highland Tech Charter School – Website


New Year – New Beginnings

Welcome to the start of a new calendar year. While the school year is at its midway point there are many new and innovative ideas taking shape at Highland Tech and in education in general. Pushing the envelope to bring optimal learning for students and adults, we are exploring the implementation of a “digital” classroom in our Social Environments – Level 1. We continuely strive to discover new and powerful ways to best harness the vast array of technologies to build a strong foundation of  21st century skills for students.

A shift is underway to move from an emphasis on content to an emphasis on “thinking skills.” Skills such as problem solving, creative thinking, communication, and collaboration. This blog will continue to explore and chronicle our learning and innovation.

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Changing Education Paradigms


It’s Not a Matter of Time: Competency-Based Learning Summit; Denver, CO – March 3-4, 2011

A of convening of practitioners, innovators and policymakers developing competency-based pathways.  One hundred leaders from across the country have come together to meet each other, share expertise and discuss how to advance efforts to redesign the education system around student success and competency-based approaches.

Richard DeLorenzo of the Re-Inventing Schools Coalition presented the following idea:

Change is never easy, especially in a system that has been in place for over 150 years and we will defend it even if we know it doesn’t work because it is all we know.


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New School Technology Blog

Blog Article

It’s easy to walk into a traditional classroom and measure engagement. Depending on how you defined engagement, you could find several different ways to determine if students are engaged in the learning process. During classroom lectures, you could simply look to see how many students raised their hands and participated in the discussion or whether or not the students were on task. Student engagement could also be viewed by the level of academic challenge for the students, or their ability to actively collaborate with other students and the teacher. Nevertheless, over the last two decades there has been significant growth in the awareness of and the ability to assess student engagement.

Technology and Student Engagement: (Click the link to read more)

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ASTE Update

I heard Lee Crockett speak at the General Session this morning. Lee’s presentation challenged prevailing thoughts about our current reality and the rate of change in which are lives function.

A couple of thoughts sparked my interest. I wonder what others think about these:

1. As educators do we function in a system that prepares students for “our past” or for “their future?”

2. New technologies do not necessarily bring on new “habit of mind.”

What do you think?