1 Exemplary Schools best practices Orange Lutheran High School, Orange, Calif. Schools Are Places of Learning for All! Founded in Orange, Calif., in 1973, Orange Lutheran High School s mission is to help students internalize the Gospel message of salvation in Christ Jesus. As a faculty and staff, we work through our vocations to provide opportunities to learn in the classroom; online; on the stage, court or field; and in our community and beyond. Everyone is a learner at Orange Lutheran, and the following examples highlight some of the learning that is taking place at our school. Learning How to Leverage Technology to Educate in New Ways The seed for Orange Lutheran Online (OLO) was planted in Since then, it has grown to offer 73 online semester courses designed to allow students to broaden their academic experience. OLO offers several ways to introduce online classes into students school schedules. They can take all their courses online or choose a blended model with half online and half on campus at a lower tuition rate. Full-time on-campus students may also include a single class online to create flexibility in scheduling. In addition, we offer online classes to other schools to expand learning opportunities for their students. Starting an online school may not be a part of every school s mission. However, an online component to learning is something that can be woven into each course of study for middle school or high school students. During their adult lives, students will likely be required to learn online, be it in college or on the job, so it is important that students learn the skills necessary to be successful in this learning environment. Opportunities for self-paced learning, adaptive learning Students learn outside of class with online courses. and personalized learning are more easily implemented using technology. Individual teachers can leverage technology during an in-class learning activity or design learning that takes place outside of the classroom using technology, as evidenced by the flipped learning model gaining exposure over the past few years. Key criteria to keep in mind while designing an online or technology-embedded learning activity are: ensuring the learning goals of your lesson dictate the use of technology and not vice versa, offering different modes of learning content (e.g., video, reading notes, screencasts), leveraging technology to enhance collaboration or independent work depending on your goals, and preparing to teach students how to use the technology before you expect them to use it on their own. With these criteria, we have seen that many of our students are quite intuitive with technology and learn quickly! Exemplary Schools Best Practices Vol. 5 No. 1 September Header photo: istockphoto/thinkstock
2 It is helpful to have an App or Software Library to organize helpful websites and apps so teachers can learn from the technology use of their peers. Our teachers use technology in their collaborative professional learning settings, allowing for group charting and easy preservation of work from each session. Learning How to Better Uncover Students Strengths and Continuing Needs and How to Address Them in Subsequent Instruction Teaching does not take part separate from learning, so it is important for teachers to know what they want their students to know and be able to do in order to assess whether students are learning. This is only the beginning, however. The next step in the inner dialogue of a teacher is pivotal: Now that I know the continuing needs of my students, what am I going to teach and how am I going to teach it so they can learn? Students at Orange Lutheran take national standardized tests (SAT, ACT, PSAT), which show how students are doing in comparison to other groups of students. Grade schools also give exams that show how their students are performing compared to another set of students. Beyond this comparison though, these standardized tests often do not provide specific, actionable data about the continuing needs of students. We see the overall score, or even an overall score within a specific standard. What we don t see is data for students who answered the test item incorrectly to identify common incorrect responses that would illuminate an issue to be addressed is subsequent instruction. Our school developed the Global Assessment Development and Analysis program (GADA) to design coursewide assessments that would provide our teachers with this type of specific data. It is a four-step collaborative process undertaken by all teachers currently teaching a course of study. Here is the process: 1. Teachers begin by identifying the enduring knowledge and skills students need to know and be able to do using the following framework: Will we expect the students to retain the knowledge and skill over time? Will proficiency in this standard help students in other areas of the curriculum? Is it essential for success in the next unit, grade level or course? (Criteria are based on Douglas Reeves work.) Test items aligned to standards Data prepared to facilitate analysis Time to analyze and consider implicatons for teaching/learning A visual of our how teachers learn about student needs and work to address them in subsequent instruction. 2. Teachers intentionally craft test items aligned to the standards that have distractors (incorrect responses or anticipated incorrect responses for open-ended items) to illuminate common, persistent misunderstandings. 3. Teachers analyze the data to uncover issues to be addressed in subsequent instruction and craft ideas for addressing those needs. 4. Teachers implement their ideas at the next instructional opportunity. Some student needs feed into our collaborative inquiry work, called Learning Teams (LT), which occur on three Wednesdays a month. LT is a very specific type of professional learning community. Since 2005, it has been the framework for systematic inquiry around teaching and learning at Orange Lutheran. Teachers in similar subject areas meet in teams to choose a persistent, compelling need in student learning to investigate how to teach so students learn. The teachers work on addressing the need in a lesson that is carefully planned by the group and implemented by each teacher of the course. Teachers then analyze student work to uncover any pivotal nuances in the teaching that led to student learning. While the lesson is the means for investigating the teaching and learning, what the teachers learn can most often be applied to different contexts, making this Exemplary Schools Best Practices Vol. 5 No. 1 September
3 more than just a powerful lesson. It also is powerful learning for our teachers. Twice a year, the faculty meets to read summaries of Knowledge of Teaching and Learning cases and articulate how they could apply key learning to their own area of teaching. Learning About the Global Community so We Can Learn to Serve, Be Compassionate and Share the Message of Salvation Through Jesus Through our theology curriculum, students learn to read and interpret Scripture, explain that salvation is by Christ alone, participate in a confessional and ecumenical dialogue, and understand the Christian ethos. One of the ways students extend this learning is through our Missions program, as we seek to give students the opportunity to learn about the community around them and how God works among different people in different places. Argentina, Mexico, northern and southern China, Taiwan, Korea, Vietnam and Romania. Local Outreach Partnership Events allow our students to partner several times a year with local churches and organizations to serve our Orange County community as a unified body of Christ. Ministry activities on these days range from construction projects, to working with children and prayer walks through the community, to evangelism and packing food boxes. Missions Class started on campus in 2010 in order to keep up with the Missions events and to further deepen Our hope is that our students, having been exposed to local and international places, cultures and discussions, will no longer be able to act and think without a global focus. We pray that they would see the positives and the problems, both in our culture and in other cultures; that they would be able to spot God s work among different people groups in different places; and that they would experience the global body of Christ. Our goal is not simply to train traditional overseas missionaries, but to help all students live out their unique calling, gifts and passions in order to represent Christ wherever they find themselves. Mission trips are one of the central avenues for helping our students learn. These trips provide great opportunity to experience new cultures, to experience the global body of Christ and to learn more about what it means to give of ourselves on behalf of others. Orange Lutheran sends out six short-term trips each year. We have been blessed with long-standing partnerships with the Paiute Native Americans in Bishop, Calif., and a wonderful ministry in eastern Kentucky. We continually marvel at God s work through these trips. Over the past several years, the Lord has led us to India, Ethiopia, the Dominican Republic, Top: Katie Bradley (Class of 2016) ministers at a rural elementary school with the 2014 Summer China Team. Bottom: Analyn Grasz (Class of 2016) and Karen Hamada (Class of 2014) prepare a meal at a soup kitchen. Exemplary Schools Best Practices Vol. 5 No. 1 September
4 our understanding and knowledge of missions. Over the years, the class has proven incredibly important for brainstorming, planning and promoting Missions events, along with providing students and staff very helpful theoretical and practical insights about missions. The class consists of engaging with books that deepen our understanding of missions; planning, promoting and organizing mission events; and building a community of students that know and love each other and the Lord. On-Campus ministry activities provide several opportunities for students to bless others without even leaving campus. These programs include recycling (earning about $10,000 each year and used for mission trips), collecting old cell phones (which are used to help purchase phone cards for overseas soldiers), collecting change in our Lancer Cafe to help buy computers for a school we visited in India in 2011, raising money through a child sponsorship program to support these same children in India, and collecting students used school supplies to distribute around the world through Operation Christmas Child. It is very humbling and a complete joy to be able to serve with students in these capacities. Learning to Design Programs of Focused Learning to Prepare Our Students for the Next Stage of Life Graduation requirements dictate the number and types of courses students need to take in specific subject areas. A trend in the past 10 years has been to look beyond those graduation requirements to see how to prepare our students for the next stage of their lives. Developing programs of focus allow students to delve deeper into a specific area of study and build unique learning experiences. Our science, technology, engineering and math program (STEM) at Orange Lutheran is an example of such a program. STEM students take a rigorous course load that includes 10 honors and AP math and science courses and one of our unique STEM-specific courses: honors engineering or honors molecular genetics. Students are accepted into the STEM program after the fall semester of their sophomore year. Students are required to complete an internship of approximately 125 hours. This is usually done the summer between their junior and senior years. The students that Top: Students share Jesus with the children of refugees during a summer VBS in downtown Houston. Bottom: Concordia students and staff pose in front of the home that was renovated in Costa Rica. Students in Bishop, Calif., garden in partnership with the Paiute Native Americans. Exemplary Schools Best Practices Vol. 5 No. 1 September
5 fulfill the course and internship requirements receive a STEM endorsement on their official transcript. The purpose of the STEM program is to ignite interest in and prepare our students for majors and careers in the high-demand fields of science, technology, engineering and math. We are looking to expand our program offerings in the future to provide students with other areas of interest an opportunity for focused study as well. Any school can consider their students needs and interests and design a program of special focus to meet that need. Some areas of education are moving to the concept of certification or earning badges that designate a specific set of skills beyond high school graduation requirements. We are blessed to be a part of the important teaching and learning that takes place in the lives of our students. We thank God for the blessing of each vocation that He uses to provide for the care and needs of others. We pray that we would be faithful stewards of our task as educators so that Orange Lutheran High School continues to be a place of learning for all. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all Ryan Chalman, Kevin Hwang and Susan Kim modify their team robot. wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him (Col. 3:16 17). Exemplary Schools Best Practices Vol. 5 No. 1 September 2014 Exemplary Schools Best Practices is an LCMS School Ministry newsletter published by The Lutheran Church Missouri Synod 1333 S. Kirkwood Road, St. Louis, MO Designer: Chrissy Thomas TO REPRINT: Permission is granted to reprint articles from this newsletter with the credit line Reprinted with permission of LCMS School Ministry. Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version, copyright 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.