Capturing The Essentials: High Schools That Make Sense, jointly produced by NPR, Inc. and the Coalition of Essential Schools (CES), is a classic professional development video that introduces viewers to the Coalition's powerful model of whole-school reform. This model for creating optimal learning environments is based on nine common principles, which are detailed in the book Horace's Compromise, written by CES founder Ted Sizer. They are:
In the video, the late Dr. Sizer explains the CES model in his own words, and discusses the concept of localism and how it can positively impact the structure and operation of a school. The video profiles three exemplary CES high schools that bring to life the common principles of the Coalition in their daily practice by creating learning environments that are simple, flexible and humane. Viewers hear directly from students and parents about the ways in which their learning environments are profoundly different from the traditional models that have governed secondary schools through most of the twentieth century.
Capturing The Essentials is a valuable resource for secondary administrators, educators, board members and parents who interested in transforming their schools. It provides a framework for structuring dialogue within a given community, raising important questions such as, Does the community want active classrooms utilizing group work? Should we teach using "essential questions"? Should assessments include exhibitions and portfolios?
No discussion about standards, higher graduation requirements or formal testing is complete unless you have seen Capturing The Essentials: High Schools That Make Sense!
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