I'm helped set up a Eaglebridge International school in Dandong, Liaoning, China. We'll be starting with two 1st grades, a 7th grade, and a 10th grade. I was originally a consultant, then Head Principal, then the International Director of Curriculum. It was quite a year and I learned a lot about the Chinese way of education and management, but perhaps more about myself and our own way of doing things.
I’m working on helping Dr. Dan Burke create our vision of a new “high school” (renamed the Triangle Learning Academy - TLA).
Picture all of the 9th grade in a school in Colorado on a giant treadmill trying to get to 10th grade. There's a teenager on the side in crutches who has been out for a couple weeks, another teen 2 years behind in Math and English, and yet another teen from Texas scratching his head trying to figure out where to get on. What we're trying to do is give each kid their own treadmill were the speed is adjustable.
The basic idea of TLA is that time is extremely variable because it is unusual for a teenager (any Learner) to be only in 9th grade for every subject and everyone to start and learn at the same speed as every other Learner (renamed from students). We're concentrating on maximizing instructional time at the Learner’s level, minimizing non-instructional time, and combining lessons through interdisciplinary focus, but will also extend the school day and year for Learners that need it. The high school (renamed Learning Academy) we're designing will assess Learners for 30 days on all areas -- academic, social, emotional, and physical and then set benchmarks for where they currently are compared where they should be for graduation. Then Learning Managers (renamed from teachers) would use as much of what we currently know in brain-based learning; computer facilitated learning and management; researched-based proven methods and interventions to empower each Learner to reach his or her goals.
For a great, in-depth discussion of extended and effective time, go to http://www.timeandlearning.org/caseformoretime.