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KPBS Midday Edition

Vista High To Expand Personalized Learning Program With $10M Grant

Bella Rivera and Craig Gastauer are pictured outside of KPBS, Sept. 21, 2016.
Brooke Ruth
Bella Rivera and Craig Gastauer are pictured outside of KPBS, Sept. 21, 2016.
XQ Super School: Vista Challenge High School
Vista High To Expand Personalized Learning Program With $10M Grant
Vista High To Bring Personalized Learning To Scale With $10M Grant GUESTS:Craig Gastauer, internal director of the XQ award, Vista High School Bella Rivera, senior, Vista High School

A high school in Vista has a grant from the super school project to help develop a model for the high school of the future. The super school project is funded by -- 700 schools applied for this money and Vista is only three schools in California to when the opportunity so it is pretty exciting. We are talking experimenting with how we need to help young people learn the skills to deal with our rapidly changing world. In the studio we have Craig Gastauer who is the internal director of the XQ award, Vista High School thank you for joining us. And we havewho is a senior at the high school. It is a variation on IQ. It is a new flexible needed for this world. We've gone from the switchboard to the smart phone and yet high school has remained frozen in time. This was a $10 million grant. How can personalized learning unfreeze our high schools? Personalized learning gives the students great opportunity to actually explore the world using their strengths and gives them a chance to find out what they are interested in and delve deeper to understand how their experiences and strains can help them take will and actionable experiences and make a difference in their community and at the school and globally becoming active change agent. You've been in the program for two years tell us how personalized learning works. It works in a way that you can be independent with your work and work at your own pace rather than sitting in the classroom getting instruction from a teacher and having to finish it within a certain prayer time. This model has helped each student just find their own path and take their time to challenge themselves and also become successful with all the work that they've been given. Give us an example of one of the projects that you worked on that used personalized learning. One project that really helped with this was a water project that we did. We head to further our investigation with water disease and waterborne diseases as well as purify drinking water. We dug deeper on how we can help our community globally and we presented it in a way where we can either play information of how we can help or we looked up ideas of how we can solve these problems with their water scarcity and the we then presented in front of the class. And helps you learn new things about what we are dealing with as well as giving awareness to the other students around his. You worked in teams and the individual you chose the aspect. Yes. We visited welcome to find out where top strains were. -- That means at the strain has help me talk to people and communicate with how to get my work done and also with the teachers in order to become successful. And helped me find my path. Building strength is a good thing so how does that help you to strengthen your weaknesses? We do not focus on our weaknesses. We focus on our strengths. You do not want to focus on your witness and what you can work on. You want to work on your strains to succeed. By focusing on your strengths they are able to increase their opportunity to work on their weaknesses. So if a student is having trouble writing by -- writing become -- does it become a tour and they are able to learn better ways of increasing their opportunities to write well. How else are students being encouraged to address problems? We were learning about the work in Syria and we were looking at the news and watching all the things going on and we interacted with students from around the globe by sending pinwheels to Syria to help the students and the kids over there feel like other people care about what is going on. We were able to interact with them and did a video chat with them and talked about how their education is and how we would want to help them and we were able to share our ideas and how we can just change the world. To piggyback on that in the future our students will be working with the UN sustainable development goals as their main contacts. So as a result, students can take a look at issues that are concerning to the entire world like education and how it is impacting students not just here but what a might look like in other countries and how we might able to help students improve. What does poverty mean? How to we help students away from Vista and send Inyo County but also how we can help our own population to improve in the face of poverty. $10 million is a lot of money. How we would to spend that over the five years? It sounds like a month -- a lot of money but it is going to go quick. It is going to be used to help train students, teachers, and parents. We are also going to be using a lot of that money to help reinvigorate the classroom settings so that students can work independently our work collaboratively and in small groups and to make sure that the students have access to the technology so they can't interact with the global society. Will you be hiring more staff? That is a goal but not with that $10 million. We want to make sure this is sustainable. Really interesting. This can be a model for schools around the country. What did you learn from being on that committee? I learned that each student does have a voice. I really do not think that what I was saying was going to impact anyone in any way but being on this committee actually helped create this whole model, which gave me a sense of accomplishment that each student really does have a voice in order to change what they really need for success. This is very exciting and I wish you both the best of luck. Thank you very much.

Vista High School has 10 million reasons to celebrate. The school was recently named an XQ Super School and the designation included a $10 million grant that will allow the school to expand its personalized learning program to all its students beginning in 2017.

The grant, which is funded in part by a $50 million donation from Steve Job's widow, Laurene Powell Jobs, aims to reimagine American high schools. Vista High's proposal was one of 10 selected out of 700.

Craig Gastauer, the internal director of the XQ award for Vista High School and a teacher for 23 years, said that through personalized learning students find out more about how their strengths are connected to their learning experience.


Gastauer and Bella Rivera, a senior at Vista High School, join Midday Edition Wednesday to discuss the current personalized learning program at Vista High School and how it will be expanded through the project funded by the grant.