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 Vista High School Launches New Model for Learning

Aug. 16 will mark the first day of the 2017-18 school year at Vista High School, and the launch of Vista’s reimagination of the high school experience.

“After a year of intense planning, this year’s freshman class of 670, along with a team of 30 teachers will embark on a new, more personalized approach to learning,” said Anthony Barela, Vista High School principal. “While we’ve come a long way in the past year, we are just at the beginning of this exciting shift from a traditional high school to a personalized learning experience that focuses on developing students as engaged global citizens who can solve big challenges.”

Almost a year ago, Vista High School was selected as one of 10 winners of XQ: The Super School Project to be awarded $10 million by XQ Institute to reimagine the high school experience for today’s youth. Vista’s vision is to create a schoolwide personalized learning environment where all students have voice and choice in their educational journey based on their strengths and passions and all students are collaborating with teachers and the community to carve out their own paths in life. Using the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals as a starting point and hands-on collaborative projects as a vehicle for learning, students will be challenged to explore, analyze, research and build relationships with their teachers, fellow students and their community to solve global problems.

Each ninth grader will become part of one of six Houses, which groups 130 students with four teachers who see the same group of students throughout the year. All freshmen will take the core academic classes of math, English and physical education as well as two electives of the student’s choice. New this year is a Challenge Course designed to build global literacy, engage in global challenges and take action to improve our world, as well as a Wellness Course that focuses on exploring self-awareness in order to be mindful, ethical, productive and healthy members of our community. The Wellness team of eight teachers will rotate between Houses each week and provide support to students for four hours, to help them develop soft skills. Concurrently, House teachers during that same period will meet to coordinate across disciplines and identify student challenges.

“It is exciting to think not only about the impact this new model will have for individual students, but how much of an impact we can make for an entire freshman class at the beginning of their high school journey,” added Amanda Peace, 9th grade math teacher. “We have spent the last year learning new approaches to teaching and supporting student growth, so I can’t wait to kick off the school year to put these tools into action.”

In the coming weeks, Vista High School will hold the following events, which are open to the press and public:

  • 9th grade orientation: Students will receive passports to get to know their teachers and familiarize themselves with the new learning experience Aug. 11, 8 a.m. to noon.
  • EIF Presents: XQ Super School Live viewing party: Vista High School will host a viewing party for XQ’s live telecast in the gym Sept. 8, 4:30 to 6 p.m.

For more information, please contact Kim Richards, XQ Vista High external director, at kim@digitalpromise.org or 619-708-4430. For specific questions about XQ Institute or XQ: The Super School Project, please contact KacTey Bonner at kbonner@wearerally.com.