Tuesday, March 30, 2010

New Madera Co. high school a model of the future

By Chris Collins / The Fresno Bee

O'NEALS -- Outside the high school library, a student carrying a camera grabbed Principal Michael Niehoff's attention. "Give me your game face," he said before snapping a picture.

Minutes later, the principal's photo -- his face scrunched and lips pursed -- had been uploaded onto a computer, posted onto an ad for a staff-versus-student basketball game, and broadcast on big screen TVs throughout this tiny, tech-savvy campus in Madera County's foothills.

This is Minarets High -- the county's newest high school and a model for what public education might look like in the future.

Here, every student gets a laptop. Classes are focused on group projects instead of homework and lectures. After school, students and teachers text each other and use online tools to complete assignments. The library, called the media lounge, is furnished like a coffee shop with large windows and couches. The books are packed in a few rows of shelves in a corner.

In PE class, students ride mountain bikes on nearby trails or jump over classmates in team-building exercises. When teachers go to conferences, they take students with them to help with presentations. And almost every student has a laminated profile posted in the school hallways. It features their name, age, interests -- and GPA.

Read More: http://www.fresnobee.com/2010/03/27/1875524/new-valley-school-a-model-of-the.html

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