Moving America Forward

This School Turned Itself Upside Down to Help its Students

December 14, 2013
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This School Turned Itself Upside Down to Help its Students
Chris Hondros/Newsmakers/Getty Images
The idea sounds crazy, but it worked wonders for this Detroit community.

Test scores at Clintondale High School near Detroit ranked in the bottom fifth of all schools in Michigan until the principal decided to try an untested idea called “flipped classrooms.” Now students at Clintondale work on “homework” in class with the help of their teachers, and watch videos of their teachers’ lectures, Khan Academy math instruction, and other digital resources at home. They can review the lectures as many times as they need to understand the concepts. Since many of the students at Clintondale can’t afford computers, the school provides them extra time in the school’s media lab each day. One senior who raised his GPA from a 2.5 to a 3.5 since the flip is able to watch the videos on his phone during his long bus commute home. The principal reports that since the school flipped its classrooms three years ago, graduation rates have soared to 90 percent, college acceptance rates are now at 80 percent, and ACT scores have gained at a rate that’s double the national average. Now that’s worth doing a handstand over.

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