Our HH students live in San Francisco. They come from a variety of neighborhood districts from the Mission District, Excelsior District, Sunset District, and Bayview District. HH Middle School as of 2016-2017 had a total of 980 students where:
- 55% are Asian Americans
- 27.4% are Hispanics
- 65.8% are qualified for free and reduced lunch
- 15.6 % are English Language Learners
- 9% are students with special needs
Our school is an innovative school that provides a variety of experiences to prepare our kids for learning and applying 21st century skills across subject matters. Teachers at our school collaborate to provide real world dilemmas that students will need to solve. We also provide students with college and career readiness by providing them with field trips to colleges, universities, and workplaces so that all student have access to discovering a potential passion and purpose.
In this day in age, it is not enough to teach for the sake of a grade or reaching proficiency in a standard. If we continue with this trend for the next 10 years, all we will be doing is increasing the engagement and empowerment gap. Currently, we see the symptoms of this gap such as cutting classes, disruptive behaviors, boredom, playing games on their smartphone during class, and more. Our students are indirectly telling us something and we have to listen to them and empathize. Education, in general, is lacking a main element that will empower our students in owning their learning . . . that is learning for a relevant purpose. Once our students are instilled with a relevant purpose, they will be willing to learn the necessary skill sets and knowledge to solve their authentic dilemma and reach that purpose. The carriers of that knowledge and skill set must be invited to that mission to become that agent of change. Are we ready to invite our students into that mission?
My DIY summer professional development is to level up my own teaching practice in the area of empowering students by way of gamification of our STEAM courses' instructional design.
I will be immersed in actions research by reading a number of the chosen literature so that I can to redesign my courses to incorporates a variety of gamification strategies. The outcome of this professional development is to implement the redesigned courses for the upcoming 2018-2019 school year. As a way of sharing out what I learned, I will be writing a reflective blog article on my summer work and planning professional development at the upcoming STEAM Symposium and CUE Event so that others can use these strategies within their own practice.
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