In 2010, when Principal Greg Green decided to “flip” one class in his failing high school, it was considered a radical idea.
Flipping a classroom essentially turns the typical school day on its head. Students receive video lessons online at home and do their homework during class, freeing up time so they can receive more one-on-one help from their teacher.
While other schools had adopted the flipped model with some success, Green was cautious. He wanted to see the results for himself. So he ran a 20-week-long trial at Clintondale High School in Clinton, Mich., which at the time, ranked in the lowest 5 percent of Michigan’s high schools. The test run applied the flipped classroom teaching model to a civics class that included 13 failing kids and compared it with another class using a traditional teaching method.
Green says that the results were staggering. “The at-risk class actually outperformed the traditional class using the same teacher, the same materials — just a little different method.”
The next year, Green flipped every class at Clintondale, making it the first school in the nation to do so. Since then, the school has seen an increase in attendance, college acceptance and a fairly significant reduction in failure rates — from 35 percent to 10 percent in just two years.