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FAST BREAK: Career and College Readiness Through Accelerated Learning by Dr. Barry Stern (540) 751-0601 , Presentation to _____ School District ____, 2009. Overview.

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FAST BREAK: Career and College Readiness Through Accelerated LearningbyDr. Barry (540), www.habermanfoundation.orgPresentation to _____ School District____, 2009

  • Demographic, socio-economic and high school performance trends in ______
  • Your District’s/School’s major challenges?
  • Assumptions to guide new approaches to career and college readiness
  • Fast Break Program
    • History of Fast Break
    • The what, why, who, and how of program
    • Evaluation evidence + why it works
    • Alternative target groups and costs
  • Discussion: Starting Fast Break at ____ District
major world problem unemployed and under skilled youth
Major world problem: Unemployed and under-skilled youth
  • Result = poverty, crime, gangs, social unrest, illegal immigration, migrant labor, tensions with surrounding nations.
  • Poorly prepared population, particularly in technical areas, slows economic growth
  • Acute problem among young men. Female participation in higher education much greater in many countries, including U.S.
u s leaders concerned
U.S. leaders concerned!
  • In so many meetings I have had in my district and elsewhere, employers say that our high school graduates are not ready for the workplace. Colleges say that our high school graduates are not ready for the college classroom. This is unacceptable. Congressman George Miller, Chair, House Education Committee, Speech on NCLB, 7/30/07
  • The American high school is obsolete. Bill Gates, Microsoft
  • The longer kids are in the American school system, the worse they do relative to their peers in other countries. Third International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS).
universal challenge schools keeping up with economic technological change
Universal challenge: schools keeping up with economic + technological change
  • Instructors who haven’t kept up
  • Obsolete curricula, assumptions about schooling, equipment
  • Dumbing down of curricula or lowering standards due to unprepared students
  • Lack of accountability, incentives to promote competition and quality
  • Minimal industry involvement in education
  • Bureaucracy

Industry + College Requirements

Capacities of Educational System/Programs

when gap gets too big major federal education initiatives follow
When gap gets too big, major federal education initiatives follow
  • 1957 – Sputnik
  • 1983 – “Nation at Risk” study
  • 1991 – America 2000 initiative
  • 2001- No Child Left Behind

National Defense Education Act

flurry of reforms and innovations
Flurry of reforms and innovations:
  • Better teacher training, standards, selection methods
  • Higher pay, merit pay, school bonuses
  • Smaller schools, schools-within-schools, alternative
  • Magnet schools, career/theme academies
  • School report cards, accountability
  • Charter schools, competition, choice
  • Dual enrollment in community colleges
  • Computer-assisted instruction, online courses, etc.
more money invested in schools yet
More money invested in schools, yet …
  • Reading and math scores barely increase
  • High school and college drop out rates remain high,
  • High need for remediation among college entrants
  • Low employer satisfaction with graduates
student population has changed
Student population has changed:
  • More ethnically diverse
  • More from single parent households, more half-siblings
  • More speak English as 2nd language
  • More low-income qualifying for school lunch program
  • More experiencing/witnessing abuse (drug, physical, mental, etc.)
  • More transience – changing home location
  • More with disabilities (e.g. autism + related brain disorders)
  • Worse basic skills
many with increased emotional load
Many with increased emotional “Load”

Youth arrive at school with heightened emotional affect

  • Home - Impact of divorced or single parent family or home with turmoil
  • Media - conflict images and language
    • TV Programming with emotional and physical violence (solving conflict through physical means)
    • Advertising to pressure youth to do/buy something
    • Youth reacting on emotional impulse rather than clearly choosing life serving behavior or learning
  • PTSD in high violence environments
    • Psychological symptoms in schools similar to that occurring in war torn environments
effects of youth with high emotional load
Effects of youth with high emotional load
  • Reduced attention span
  • Distracted focus and low productivity
  • Reduced and disrupted learning capacity
  • Bullying and displacing emotions
  • Tragic sexual expression
  • Excessive illness and/or lateness
  • Limited opportunities and no safe format for students to express/reduce internal and external conflicts from home or school
yet high schools have changed little in last 50 80 years
Yet high schools have changed little in last 50-80 years
  • Courses still called English, math, science, social studies, physical education, art, etc.
  • School day = 6-7 periods/day – students change what they do in response to a bell every 45-50 minutes
  • 50-minute foreign language classes despite evidence of minimal effectiveness
  • Dualisms - college vs career prep, knowledge vs skills
  • College counselor and career counselors are different people, etc.
  • Little awareness of changing world of work
and students have been signaling for a long time that they
And students have been signaling for a long time that they…
  • Are bored/ not challenged – Astin’s (UCLA) studies of college freshmen over 30 years
  • Believe many teachers don’t care
  • Feel alienated and don’t fit in
  • Enjoy after-school activities far more than in-school activities (sports, clubs, robotics/debate/voc skills competitions, etc.)
u s urban high schools teach anti work behaviors and attitudes
U.S. urban high schools teach anti-work behaviors and attitudes
  • No screening process for getting the job beyond showing up.
  • There is a "boss" who will watch what you do and see that you do it.
  • You can come and go as much as you want and still keep the job.
  • You can be absent as long as you have a note from a doctor or a good excuse.
  • If you are late or absent, you can simply start working again without having to make up for or even know what you missed.
  • You get paid for the time you spend at work, not for what you accomplish.
  • No matter how long you work, the job never changes.
  • You can get a raise because of the length of time you have "worked."
  • You don't have to really respect anyone who can't hurt you.
  • It won't matter if the place is successful or the work gets screwed up; that's not your problem.
  • It won't matter how many mistakes you make; you'll get another chance
  • You don't have to remember or follow the work rules if no one tells them to you.

Prof. Martin Haberman, “Unemployment Training”,, 2007, Phi Delta Kappan, 1997.


“Assembly line” high school unlikely to significantly improve reading and math scores, graduation rates, employer satisfaction with graduates, etc.

In its best days, never worked for half the students (most in authority benefited from current system)

Never really changed how h.s. classes are organized, or tapped into desire of adolescents to become part of a group with a higher purpose and winning mission.

Never asked teachers to work together and communicate about students they mutually teach.

Colleges more sophisticated but many still trapped in disconnected disciplinary silos that struggling entrants cannot relate to.

Fast Break approach: Better, faster, cheaper with more joy leading to result that is important to the student right now:
history of fast break
History of Fast Break
  • Focus Hope’s Fast Track program began in 1989 – readiness for Machinist Training
  • Colin Powell’s visit to FH in 1993 led to federal interest to replicate FH programs in other cities
  • $1 million grant from NSF to replicate Fast Track in Los Angeles – 3 year demo
  • “Operation Fast Break” in Michigan, 2000-03 – 6 sites + Fast Break Futures (welfare to work)
  • Alabama uses as front-end of workforce development programs – Roger Penske + Gov.
what is fast break
What is “Fast Break”?
  • Computer-assisted, intensive, accelerated learning / work preparation model that emphasizes reading, math, basic computer applications, employability and interpersonal skills.
Fast Break provides immersion-type curriculum that is effective and popular with young adults and teenagers
  • Cross-disciplinary, team taught courses with cross-trained instructors
  • Facilities, methods, and interpersonal relations that model high performance workplace
    • Workplace discipline and effective time management
    • Daily feedback on class and individual performance
    • Integration of “soft” skill training with “hard” academics
  • Heavy use of courseware (e.g. PLATO, NovaNet, Key Train, WIN) to manage instruction and reporting.
fast break provides
Fast Break provides ...
  • Strong career guidance and information to help select a career field (“menu’)
  • Fundamental learning and generic work skills to benefit from college or succeed in most entry-level career-track jobs (“meal’)
  • Certification of skills in math, reading, and basic computer applications (“dessert”)
  • Extended job/college placement and follow-up to ensure success (“social contract”)
career development stages and skill levels
Career Development Stages and Skill Levels

Education and Training for Careers(“meal”)

Skill Certification and Placement into Jobs or Further Education


Career Guidanceand Information



specific skills

Industry-specific Skills(Portable Credentials)

Generic Work Skills

How to use resources, process information, use technology,understand systems, relate to others, work on teams

Fundamental Skills

Personal Qualities

Responsibility, integrity, self-confidence, moralcharacter, loyalty, etc.

Basic SkillsReading, writing,

speaking, listening, math

Thinking Skills

How to learn, create, solve

problems, make decisions, etc.

Source: Dr. Barry Stern, Career and Workforce Development Trends: Implications for Michigan Higher Education, FerrisState University, August 2003.

who are the participants
Who Are The Participants?

Anyone needing better skills and/or work habits to enter college or career-track work:

  • Out-of-school young adults (h.s. grads/dropouts)
  • High school students
  • College freshmen needing remedial education
  • Welfare recipients needing better skills + work habits
  • Ex-offenders
  • Displaced workers/homemakers re-entering job market
  • Incumbent workers desiring advance from basic level
  • Recent immigrants needing skills and orientation to U.S. system of work and education
critical elements of fast break
Critical elements of Fast Break:
  • Team approach –
    • Staff complement each other’s abilities and background
    • Haberman Star Teacher Interview protocol to select staff
    • Team challenges + customer service incorporated into instruction
  • Disciplined learning environment, attendance stds.
  • Academic entry and exit standards
  • Application of high performance workplace principles – touches all aspects of “human capital”
  • All instructors accessible to students the entire day
  • High intensity to accelerate gains (e.g. 5-8 hours/day for 8-12 weeks = 320 hours
critical elements cont d

Critical elements (cont’d)

Reading and math as workplace fundamentals

Heavy use of courseware, software to save time

Effective methods to reach students with different information processing preferences and degrees of “emotional loading” – teach emotional intelligence as teamwork component

Immediate outcome that grads value – e.g. job, college, faster advancement thru school/college

Strong business advisory committee

Data collection/entry on student performance and follow up what graduates are doing

eventually introduce into program
Eventually introduce into program …
  • Teacher visits to supervisors of grads in their workplace – one day per month; feedback from workplace that possibly can be incorporated into curriculum
  • Community service project
  • Opportunities for grads to give back to program
  • Catered “power lunch” with local business leader
  • Saturday morning special workshops, e.g.
    • Internet etiquette
    • Workplace safety
how does fast break work
How Does Fast Break Work?

Tightly scripted curriculum of high-level, highly integrated academics that are taught along with computer applications to solve work-related problems, while building workplace habits and personal character. Model uses a “boot camp” or highly focused approach to prepare students to succeed at the next level - a job or additional schooling.

fast break program details
FAST BREAK Program Details

The What, Why, How, & Who of the Program.

fast break

WorkKeys Level 3

Reading for Information

Applied Math

Commits to attend 5-8-hours-a-day for 8-12 weeks

Commits to going to work or school after graduating


WorkKeys Level 4 and + 1 level (math, reading, locating info.)

Satisfactory career speech

Satisfactory progress in basic computer applications (IC3 cert?)

Proper attitude (can work as team member, accepts criticism)

Certified attendance (no more than three unexcused absencesor tardies)

Remains drug free

operation fast break program
“Operation FAST BREAK” Program

Two Components:

  • Fast Break – job/college readiness
  • Step-Up – math/reading readiness for Fast Break through courseware-assisted tutoring, with mentors overseen by specialists
fast break1

Math (computer-assisted + small group)


Computer Applications- Word Processing- Spreadsheets- Databases- WINDOWS- Graphics Programs

Career & Employability Skills- Speaking, listening, bus. writing- Time management/calendars- Career selection- Resumes- Interviewing- Work habits


Hard work + high expectations

Earn way in and right to stay in

Integrated curriculum in applied work context

Continual feedback + improvement

Practice fundamentals daily, including learning on demand


Personal responsibility& discipline

Freedom from drugs

Reward for effort and excellence

Respect for others

Primacy of the customer

Employer driven

set positive emotional tone through
Set positive emotional tone through …
  • Total respect for “co-workers and supervisors” commensurate with high performance workplace
  • Language tools to deal with conflict and disagreement
  • Awareness of emotional functioning and how to manage emotional states
  • Use of “council” format to work through group challenges and acknowledge individual contributions
  • Parent support trainings to reduce emotional load at home (high school-based programs) and thus facilitate student accomplishment.
features of fast break environment
Features of FAST BREAK environment
  • Students buy in by 1st week – why they’re there
  • Little lecturing – instead, small group + computer-assisted to handle multiple ability levels in class
  • Class usually split in 2 – ½ computer lab; ½ classroom, and they switch periodically
  • No down time – everyone has daily plan + “plan B”
  • Math, reading, computer instructors assist one another + integrate curricula whenever possible
  • Career development and workplace applications throughout the curriculum
  • Staff meet daily after students leave to discuss day
demonstrated successes of fast break type programs
Demonstrated successes of Fast Break-type programs
  • 80% program completion rate
  • 80% placement rate of graduates into jobs or college
  • 2.5 grade-level gains in math and reading in 7 Weeks, i.e. 1-2 WorkKeys levels
  • Computer application skills (word processing, spreadsheets & data bases)
  • Higher college placement test scores
  • Self directed learners
  • High degree of employer satisfaction with graduates
employment impact
Employment impact

Employers say graduates…

  • Are more trainable than most they have hired
  • Demonstrate ability to learn on their own as well as work on teams
  • Are punctual, responsible, eager to learn
  • Saves them money on recruiting, turnover, absenteeism & worker accidents.
unusual outcomes
Unusual outcomes
  • Males do as well as females
  • Large classes (30-40) do better than small ones (15-25)
  • Military recruiters in L.A. loved Fast Break
  • University students would enroll in the summer to hone their math and English skills (FB was “free” – only small processing fee)
  • Some parents enrolled, too, after their kids graduated and got jobs
instructors benefit also
Instructors benefit, also
  • Learn to function in a team-oriented educational environment
  • Improve own basic skills
  • Learn how to use educational technology and office equipment
  • Learn about different careers and the local economy
  • Improve instructional effectiveness by obtaining feedback from graduates and employers
potential measures of high school success
Potential measures of high school success

Scores on Student Achievement Tests

High School Retention & Graduation

High School Attendance Rates

Enrollment in Advanced Placement Courses

College Enrollment & Retention

not yet tested in high schools but
Not yet tested in high schools, but …
  • $ millions federal + state have supported model for out-of-school youth (“wish they had it in high school”)
  • Content is secondary education
  • Some L.A. high school students successfully completed program during their summer break
  • Focus:HOPE has had success in using it to improve the college and work readiness of a number of Detroit high school students.
features of educational software
Features of Educational Software
  • Organized by Skill Level
    • Short Lessons
    • Identify Skill Gaps
  • Management System
    • attendance, time on task, lesson completion rates
  • Reports & Complete Tracking
  • Ease of Use for both Students & Instructors
    • Appealing Graphics
courseware aligned to work keys win or keytrain curriculum
Courseware aligned to Work Keys+ WIN or KeyTrain curriculum

Curriculum Content

  • Applied Math
  • Reading for Information
  • Locating Information
  • Writing

Workbooks Available

Other courseware (e.g. PLATO, NovaNet) can align to ACT test, G.E.D. and other assessments

career readiness credential based on 3 workkeys assessments
Career Readiness Credential based on 3 WorkKeys Assessments

1. Reading 2.Math 3.Locating Information

  • Bronze = Achievement at Level 3
  • Silver = Achievement at Level 4
  • Gold = Achievement at Level 5

Increasingly recognized by employers. Higher levels indicate more jobs that you can learn.

summary why fast break works
Summary: Why Fast Break Works
  • Intensive, total immersion strategy
  • Emphasis on reading and math + integrated, contextually relevant curricula + learning on demand (e.g. career sp.)
  • Powerful incentives (e.g. job, college, grade promotion)
  • Continual data-based feedback (individual and team)
  • Nurturing staff continually communicates about students
  • Model high performance business environment with opportunities for informal learning
  • Teachers visit job sites to follow up with employers and graduates
  • Focus on specific competencies + disciplinary standards
  • Manage instruction with computers - repetition, diversity
fast break sites in michigan
Fast Break Sites in Michigan
  • Flint - Mott Community College (with Workforce Board)
  • ** Detroit - TWW Associates, Detroit - now Fast Break Futures that adds MOUS certification - TANF + other $$
  • * Detroit - Focus:Hope Fast Track (18 years experience)
  • Plainwell - Michigan Career Technical Institute (individuals with disabilities)
  • Lake County - Workforce Board/Baldwin Community Schools
  • ** Macomb County - Lakeshore Adult School (with Workforce Board)
  • ** Hamtramck Alternative High School
  • ** Battle Creek - Strive/Urban League/Davenport College

* Developed original model. ** Program no longer active.

positioning fast break in high school options
Positioning Fast Break in High School: Options

12th grade/adult transition-to-work-or-college program,

9th grade unit of instruction to upgrade basic skills, provide career direction, work/study habits, and orientation to high school

Front end of technical training programs

Module during any high school year

Alternative education program

Summer school program + other of above option(s)

for high schools cost should not be issue to implement fast break
For high schools, cost should not be issue to implement Fast Break

Have faculty who can be trained to operate Fast Break

Alternative way of delivering math and basic English

Have computers, printers, networks, office equipment and most facilities required for Fast Break

Few student recruitment costs. If incentive structure is right, students will line up to attend

Major new costs would be courseware, pre-program staff training, technical assistance during first 6 months, placement services, and data collection to follow up graduates

If school did not redirect current budget and added Fast Break to current offerings, it could serve 300 Step Up and Fast Break students/year with 20-30 computer workstations with a budget of:

$660,000 in operating costs if you don’t overstaff (assumes nothing in place - staff, facilities or in-kind) and

$780,000 if you overstaff by 1-2 FTE

$2,500 per student for 320-hour program, or $7.80 per student hour.

Another $150,000 for one-time start-up costs - software, computers, furniture & office equipment, minor remodeling

program costs if starting from scratch
Annual Operating Costs = $780,000

Staffing + benefits for full-time Fast Break and part-time Step Up programs(incl. 2 FTE teaching assistants)

WorkKeys assessment and Key Train or WIN curriculum materials

Software renewals, books, supplies

Rent, amortization of equipment

Drug screens, insurance, advertising

Telephone, printing, duplication

Overhead @ 20%

Capital Equipment & Expenses= $150,000 (Start-up – one time)

Courseware licenses/student IDs

PCs, file server, printers

Copy machine, fax, telephones

Office, classroom, computer furniture, equipment, bookshelves, storage cabinets, white boards

Camcorder, VCR, TV, projectors

Remodeling, computer installation

Student smocks, tests, assessments

Program Costs (if starting from scratch)

Assume program serves 300 students per year with 20 computer workstations, 2/3 in Fast Break, 1/3 in Step Up

steps for institutional implementation
Steps for institutional implementation
  • Determine target group(s) and recruitment strategy
  • Develop incentives structure for institution, students, instructors – make sure it works for everybody
  • Select and train instructors (Fast Break full-time only)
  • Install computers in lab and student tracking software
  • Install educational software, purchase WIN or KeyTrain curriculum
  • Adjust school scheduling & staffing
  • Set benchmarks and outcomes
hints for start up success staffing
Hints for start-up success: staffing
  • For Fast Break, count on full-time staff (except perhaps director) whose only job is Fast Break. Step-up staff may be part-time or volunteers.
  • Make sure director is hands-on and can do almost everything instructors do.
  • Use Haberman Star Teacher Selection Interview to select staff
  • Overstaff initially since it is hard to replace instructors who are absent or leave program; surplus staff also provides opportunity to expand program after first year
  • Pay well to attract instructors who are cross-trained in 2-3 areas.
  • Diversity essential:

Gender, age, experience in education

Each site with at least one instructor with recent work experience outside formal education.

Supplemental to presentation:Learning and teaching hypotheses that guide Fast Break and ought to be tested scientifically
hypotheses re fundamentals of learning
Hypotheses(re. fundamentals of learning)
  • One cannot be too good at math, reading and writing. Test scores improve when these workplace fundamentals are practiced daily.
  • Reading and math skills (through Algebra I or II) improve faster when taught together rather than as separate subjects.
  • Students learn more when they practice their strengths as they address their weaknesses. Focusing only on weaknesses or achievement gaps will slow learning, impede integration of knowledge, demoralize students, and thus prove counterproductive.
  • The best way to remediate is to accelerate, and the best way to accelerateis to integrate and apply. – (Lessons from Adult Ed.)
learning and teaching hypotheses re standards
Learning and teaching hypotheses(re. standards)
  • When it comes to standards, less is more. Standards should be competency-based, few in number, carefully selected, and tap thinking and application skills as well as memory skills.

How to narrow these to a number that can be effectively managed and enforced: Ask the customers: the employers, colleges and universities that will receive the graduates.

learning and teaching hypotheses re human capital
Learning and teaching hypotheses(re. Human Capital)
  • Helping students acquire elements of human capital while they are learning skills is more cost-effective than narrow skill building approaches.
why human capital
Why “human capital” ?

According to David Brooks of the NY Times (11/13/05):

…skills and knowledge -- the stuff you can measure with tests -- is only the most superficial component of human capital. U.S. education reforms have generally failed because they try to improve the skills of students without addressing the underlying components of human capital.

more from david brooks
More from David Brooks

“We now spend more per capita on education than just about any country on Earth, and the results are mediocre. No Child Left Behind treats students as skill-acquiring cogs in an economic wheel…We pour money into Title I and Head Start, but long-term gains are insignificant.”

and still more
And still more …

“These programs are not designed for the way people really are. The only things that work are local, human-to-human immersions that transform the students down to their very beings. Extraordinary schools, which create intense cultures of achievement, work.

Extraordinary teachers, who inspire students to transform their lives, work. The programs that work touch all aspects of human capital.

so what is human capital
So what is human capital?
  • Cultural capital: the habits, assumptions, emotional dispositions and linguistic capacities we unconsciously pick up from families, neighbors and ethnic groups – early family factors.
  • Social capital: the knowledge of how to behave in groups and within institutions -- civility, dealing with bad news.
  • Moral capital: the ability to be trustworthy. Brains and skills don't matter if you don't show up on time.
  • Cognitive capital: along with inherited brainpower is the ability to evaluate one’s own abilities and sense what others are feeling.
  • Aspirational capital: the fire-in-the-belly ambition to achieve.
learning and teaching hypotheses re applied intensive formats
Learning and teaching hypotheses(re. applied, intensive formats)

7.Learning rates improve when students must apply skills to solve problems like those they will encounter at work and in life.

8. Infusing academics into career-technical courses will improve academic skills faster than infusing career concepts into academic courses. (“Learning on Demand” – Sticht research)

9. Intensive formats work better for many subjects. These include reading, math, foreign languages, and physical education. The intensive format provides sufficient time to practice skills, eliminate bad work habits and produce good ones, and create the conditions for curricular integration and the establishment of a high performance team.

learning and teaching hypotheses re course integration
Learning and teaching hypotheses (re. course integration)

10. Most people learn math (through Algebra II) better when it is integrated with something else, like science and career-technical subjects. This will require team teaching and longer class sessions (e.g. block/modular scheduling).

11. Students are more likely to learn about teamwork if their teachers model it. High school and community college teachers of the future must know not only their subject and how to teach, but how to integrate their subject with those taught by other teachers.

learning and teaching hypotheses re marketable skills vs college prep
Learning and teaching hypotheses (re. marketable skills vs. college prep)

12. When students experience academic success and have a career plan, they will likely choose college on their own; you won’t have to persuade them.

13. High school graduates with a marketable skill (i.e. have met standards for a career entry position) will more likely enter college than those without. Thus, by getting students ready for work, you will be getting them ready for college.

learning and teaching hypotheses re counseling and guidance
Learning and teaching hypotheses (re. counseling and guidance)
  • Counselor-student ratios unlikely to improve (not affordable). Regular academic program must provide career guidance through: career academies or Career Pathway departments, CTE programs, and career information that students can obtain from the Internet (e.g. state career info system, Bridges).
    • Counselors add value by leveraging school resources to involve employers, workers, colleges and universities in the provision of guidance activities.
    • College and career counselors should be the same people.
learning and teaching hypotheses re courseware
Learning and teaching hypotheses (re. courseware)
  • Courseware enables students to progress at own speed and makes competency-based certification more feasible/popular.
  • Courseware facilitates teaching of students of different ability levels in the same class.
  • Courseware does not produce much learning unless teachers incorporate it into their lessons on a daily basis. Why? Because teachers quickly forget how to use courseware if they only use it occasionally.
learning and teaching hypotheses courseware cont d
Learning and teaching hypotheses (courseware – cont’d)

18. Integrating courseware into regular instruction is more cost-effective than placing it into remedial centers or programs that engage students for short periods of time.

19. Availability of “virtual” courseware from the Internet is only now becoming sufficiently diagnostic and interactive to engage struggling students. Even if it were, students (struggling or otherwise) tend to learn more when they are part of a group whose norm is to help one another achieve and exceed expectations. Some struggling students prefer “bowling alone,” but most like to be in a group.

If aforementioned hypotheses are true, how would you redesign learning for teenagers and young adults?
  • Frequent, intensive practice of fundamentals
  • Much more course integration
  • Little ability grouping – instead an “opportunity culture”
  • Multiple opportunities to apply skills in work and community settings
  • Students stay together and form work team rather than dash from class to class
    • No bells to distract learning (instead, morning + afternoon modules)
assumptions about human nature consistent with such hypotheses
Assumptions about human nature consistent with such hypotheses
  • People want to be part of, help form, COMMUNITIES – families, religions, groups, teams, …gangs
  • People like to be really good at, and admire institutions that are really good at, SOMETHING!
  • Adults/teachers like to work with peers not just kids
  • Both students and teachers like high performance environments – high expectations, continual feedback, teamwork, learn new things daily, incentives that make sense
  • Teenagers want to become adults. Thus, they like opportunities to learn in workplace-like settings.
Question: What would a school look like that made students want to exceed minimum standards and not merely slide by?
  • Answer: an interscholastic team (sports, robotics, debate, etc.) that emphasized daily practice of fundamentals; daily feedback on individual and team performance by position coaches; continual communication among coaches (viz. teachers) on how to do better the next day; continual opportunity for students to practice skills in competitive ("real world" game like or workplace-like) situations; expectations of helping fellow teammates (classmates) to improve; integration of knowledge to help players (students) understand why they are learning something in a particular way; and the targeted use of technology to diagnose and improve abilities.
program in action supplementary to presentation
Program In Action(supplementary to presentation)
  • What’s Next
    • Details on why and how the Fast Break model works

(used normally to train Fast Break staff in how to operate the program).