The school at 150 Jefferson Drive is scheduled to open for the freshman class in the 2019-20 school year. Over the following years, TIDE is expected to reach full enrollment at 400 students, with enrollment determined by lottery. Mr. Kuliga has been speaking with experts and investigating programs that might be suitable for the school. Among the institutions he cited: Boston-based nonprofit Jobs for the Future, SRI International in Menlo Park, and Valor Collegiate Academy in Nashville, Tennessee.
According to the Chicago-based Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning, another of Mr. Kuliga's resources, social and emotional learning has five components: self-awareness, self-management, responsible decision-making, relationship skills, and social awareness.
He cited an analysis of 31 social and emotional learning programs involving 271,000 students that showed an 11 percent gain in achievement after schools adopted these programs.
At TIDE, Mr. Kuliga said, the primary mission is to prepare all students for college and career success, to create "a supportive school community that helps all students reach their full potential, with individual attention in a small environment" and deep learning that is "personal, collaborative and authentic."
He described possible components of the curriculum:
• At least one college English and college math course for all students, either taught at the high school or at a community college. The program would include summer courses, goal-setting and regular check-ins with the students to make adjustments to their goals, Mr. Kuliga said, noting that it "won't work without copious support."
• A backstop for students at risk of failing a college-level class. The proposal would have students at risk stay in the same classroom with the same teachers, but shift to high school level instruction. Whereas a college-level student in the same class may be writing a 10-page paper, the high school level student may be writing six pages. It's a methodology that "keeps that cohesiveness," Mr. Kuliga said. "It doesn't ostracize anybody and continues to provide that support."
• Project-based learning as a methodology would be used in all four years at TIDE, starting with smaller projects and working up to a senior seminar. An academic year would likely include several projects, at least from 10th grade on, and all would include a focus on social justice, he said.
• Crafting internships that include feedback loops between industry and school staff to avoid outsourcing education to non-educators. While research on the efficacy of high school internships is non-existent, Mr. Kuliga said, research on a college level shows a relationship between internships and employment opportunities. One thing missing, and something that TIDE could address: collaboration skills, he said.
• Developing communication skills as a priority. Mr. Kuliga said that when he asked employers what they most wanted in entry-level employees, technical skills were not high on the list but communication skills were. He cited a 2015 study by Harvard University Professor David J. Deming, noting that Mr. Deming considered social and emotional skills as communication skills.
• Preventing tracking in classes such as math and world language that are vulnerable to students informally segregating themselves based on academic ability, and taking steps to address it. Among those steps: direct instruction from teachers, working in groups, computer-based learning, and reassessing students every three to four weeks and reforming the groups based on student learning needs.
This story contains 617 words.
Stories older than 90 days are available only to subscribing members. Please help sustain quality local journalism by becoming a subscribing member today.
If you are already a subscriber, please log in so you can continue to enjoy unlimited access to stories and archives. Subscriptions start at $5 per month and may be cancelled at any time.