Students, ed-tech company form extraordinary partnership

The CORE classes last about 22 minutes each day, and topics and projects are based on the Effective Schools Model, which is an organizational model for schools based on 40 years of research. Princeton High uses six of the seven correlates of this model:

1. Clear and Focused Mission
2. Frequent Monitoring of Student Progress
3. Safe and Orderly Environment
4. Opportunity to Learn and Time-On-Task
5. High Expectations
6. Positive Home-School Community Relations

Because students only have a limited about of time in CORE classes for projects or competitions, the school created a structure featuring a weekly topic that is connected to or driven by the purpose of each correlate.

CORE classes are based on a six-week cycle, with each week emphasizing a different correlate of the Effective Schools Model. The schedule looks like this:

Week 1 (Mission): Getting to know you; relationship games and activities; team-building activities.
Week 2 (Safe & Orderly Schools): Conflict resolution.
Week 3 (Frequent Monitoring of Student Progress): Setting my academic goals for first semester.
Week 4 (Opportunity to Learn, Time-On-Task): Organizational skills and time management at home and during the school week.
Week 5 (High Expectations): Building my four-year success plan beyond high school.
Week 6 (Positive Home-School Relations): “Where I Come From” poem; my family values.

Because there are six correlates and 36 weeks in a year, each correlate is discussed about six times per year.

Wilhelm described one goal-setting activity centered on a free-throw contest: “We had a basketball free-throwing contest, and the person who won would then be blindfolded and spun around, then we’d ask them to shoot. As you can imagine, they wouldn’t make the shot. We told them that this is like going through life without a goal, without aim.”

Another activity that struck the CEO was the “Where I Come From” poem. Each student writes two lines of poetry about where he or she comes from, then all the lines are joined together to make a complete poem that represents the students in the group.

“It’s heart-wrenching to read and to hear these students read, because you hear things like ‘Where I come from, men beat women,’ and ‘Where I come from, we are afraid of being raped.’ It really opens your eyes to these kids’ struggles,” Wilhelm said.

Meris Stansbury

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