What Defines a Next-Gen High School?
Jul 2023

What Defines a Next-Gen High School?

As students, parents, and policymakers question the purpose of high schools, educators worldwide are building novel secondary school designs. What makes them “innovative,” however? In this conversation, Shadman Uddin, a master’s Student in Education at Stanford Graduate School of Education, offered that what makes a school innovative is less its adherence to a list of “novel” ideas, but more its outcomes against the things that matter most in society today, which includes knowledge acquisition, but also things like real-world applicability and social and emotional development.

Against that backdrop, Ken Montgomery, co-founder of Design Tech High, known as D-Tech, and Keeanna Warren, the Assistant Executive Director at Purdue Polytechnic High School Network, joined me to talk about their school designs, in particular the importance of:

– helping students connect to something bigger than the school itself;

– offering competency-based learning pathways; and

– allowing students to find their creative purpose aligned to the common good;

– building a more permeable school that is connected to the community and offers a deep sense of belonging.

They also talked about the role of AI (artificial intelligence) and the anxiety that their students feel around its emergence, as well as the barriers that arise to building school models that break the traditional molds—from policy to human capital.


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