What’s the first thought that comes to mind when you hear the name USC Hybrid? I think that most people would agree that “hybrid” sticks out the most. That leaves many with the same question: “How is USC Hybrid High School different from other high schools?”
I think the first step in answering that question is finding out what a more “traditional” high school is like. In the words of Ms. Padrón, a current Spanish teacher at Hybrid High, “A traditional school is usually categorized as a school where the classes 100% lead by the teacher with direct instruction.” If this statement is true, then USC Hybrid High School must have a different way of learning.
“Mastery based learning is where students have an individualized plan. Where they are able to go at their own pace and have multiple attempts to master a certain standard,” once again, Ms. Padrón provided me with valuable information.
Then I asked her, “Tell me about what you mean when students can learn at their own pace.”
“Students have a pace guide that teachers give them. They guide students every week. There are deadlines however. Students have an indefinite amount of attempts to master any assignment. This gives students multiple opportunities to really learn the material and receive support from peers or teachers.”
My response to this information is true amazement. Students learning at their own pace! I, for one, know how important that is. That means that when a student learns something, it will probably stick with them longer, throughout college and their future.
The interview goes on, and I decide to ask her to define something that students, teachers, and parents will find extremely important. “So tell me a little bit about what the learning environment is like both for the students and the teachers.”
She gave a thorough response, but unfortunately I had to cut some of it out. “It means to work with in groups with peers. There is also time where they are getting lessons from teachers or direct instruction, and times where there will be many groups or one-on-one meetings with students… Some teachers have whole group instruction where they’ll have a U-shape (with desks) and places where students can actually work in groups.”
If you go to any normal high school, it probably looks a lot different from USC Hybrid High. Most of the time, it’s purely desks facing the front of the class and a teacher giving a lecture. Everyone works on the same assignment, and if you fall behind you have to come after school or do makeup work.
Now it’s time for the big question: How is USC Hybrid High different from traditional high schools?
“In some regards USC Hybrid High School does compared to traditional schools in the fact that we do have teacher-led lessons but we also have student led conversations and discussions and projects… we have smaller school a smaller school setting… we also tend to have innovative approaches like using technology in the classroom, but at the same time, the way that learning happens is very similar but with more collaboration between teachers and students rather than teachers always leading.”
USC Hybrid High has a mantra that I find creative and unusual. “Create a positive multi generational change.” What does that truly mean? Let’s look at what Ms. Padrón had to say about it.
“Positive multigenerational change starts with our administrators or school leaders. They believe in this 100% and the mission of it is really that we believe that 100% of our students will attend a four-year university by being professionals ourselves. Then having graduated from universities ourselves, from there we change your family tree by motivating our own families to do the same thing. So what we want to instill in our students is that exact thing. To bring about this change in their lives, to change your family tree, to change your family trajectory, to being educated to having a sustainable life, to making change in the world beyond the four walls of this classroom.”
So there you have it folks. It seems to me like USC Hybrid High School is paving the road for future schools and setting the standards in high school education. The teachers are committed to giving their students an education that is different and more powerful than a traditional one. I can tell the students and teachers of USC Hybrid High School are dedicated to creating a positive multigenerational change.