Thursday, March 29, 2012

It's Hip to be at HIPP

HIPP leader Bruce Dearborn and teacher Nancy Carroll with student Manny
Yesterday I had the great honor of visiting the Highline Interim Placement Program (HIPP). HIPP is a two year old program at the old Woodside school for students who need short-term education for a variety of reasons. Students at HIPP learn through a computer platform called E20:20. This approach begins with a pre-test to determine which concepts a student understands and then instructs students on material they have not yet mastered, allowing students to recover credit in a class they have sat through, but for whatever reason did not complete with a passing grade.

A science class on E20:20
  E20:20 presents students with three learning modalities on the computer screen at a time. In one corner of the screen are video lectures by an on-line teacher. At the same time, a student can view a PowerPoint, science illustrations, and other support materials on another part of the virtual desktop. Finally, the student can take notes in a small text box. Students take a series of quizzes as they move through each part of a course and if they are not successful, a HIPP teacher confers with they student after receiving a report on which areas the student is struggling in.

All of this adds up to a lot more learning for students who previously would have had little or no access to education due to circumstances such as long-term suspension, home hospital placement, or extreme truancy. The goal is for most students to return to their home school or an appropriate alternative setting, and the majority do. Most impressively, HIPP students earn two to three credits on average during their interim placement, whereas similar students prior to HIPP earned little or no credit.

A student takes notes on a history lecture

I have often said that technology will not replace teachers, but it should help us to extend the reach of teachers. For about 120 students per year (not all enrolled at the same time), HIPP is a perfect example of how technology has allowed students to continue education in a way that previously would not have been available to them. The technology allows students to engage in a variety of subjects at a cost and scale that the district can support. HIPP students participate through an alternative learning arrangement that requires a minimum of two 2.5 hour in person sessions per week, with the rest occurring via computer at home. While many students choose to participate in person as often as daily, teacher Nancy Carroll share with me that records indicate students signing in at all hours, even 2:00 AM. That's dedication!

Great job to Bruce Dearborn, who in addition to heading the program and working with students and families is the Pied Piper of HIPP!

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