High Tech High was founded in 2000 as a single high school. The school was founded by a coalition of educators and members of the business community with the goal of developing a diverse set of engaged learners who would excel academically and in the world of work. Towards this goal, High Tech articulates the following design principles: personalization, adult world connection, and common intellectual mission, and teacher as designer.
These common design principles have allowed the vision of HTH to remain clear as it has been expanded to thirteen schools which include elementary, middle, and high schools. HTH teachers have implemented these design principles by developing a project based learning instructional model. HTH has been globally recognized for this work in developing a culture and practice of project based learning and has developed a graduate school of education to further spread these best practices.
HTH serves over five thousand students while employing over six hundred employees. Consistent with the original mission to serve a diverse student population HTH utilizes a zip code based lottery in admissions. The student body across HTH is over 60% students of color and over 40% of students qualify for free or reduced lunch. On average 50% of graduating HTHMA are first generation college students.
HTHMA and Student Agency
High Tech High Media Arts first opened during the 2005 school year. Rooted in the HTH design principles the school seeks to develop a college going culture while providing students with a liberal arts and sciences education. Currently HTHMA serves a diverse group of roughly four hundred students.
During the last few years HTHMA has been a part of the Student Agency Improvement Community partnering with the Carnegie Foundation. This partnership reflects the importance and attention that HTHMA places on student agency particularly concerning student belonging and engagement. This year HTHMA is beta testing a student agency survey developed by the Carnegie Foundation to gain a deeper understanding of current levels of student agency. In addition, this student agency data has been disaggragated by gender, grade level, race/ethnicity, and free or reduced lunch status to identify trends concerning student agency within the diverse HTHMA student body. This focus within HTHMA reflects a unique belief amongst the leadership and teaching staff that the student experience matters and drives student outcomes. It also reveals why HTHMA is an excellent setting for a pilot implementation of a student consulting program.