I'm lucky enough to be in Philadelphia this weekend for EduCon 2.1 at the Science Leadership Academy. I spent yesterday afternoon wandering around the school, talking to students and teachers, and enjoying myself.
I have no knowledge of high schools, having taught elementary all my career. My last experience with high school was when I was a student. As a result, I'm sure I didn't get as much out of my time yesterday as many high school teachers would have.
That said, I was beyond impressed with SLA and the students here. Two freshmen girls gave me a tour of the school and their excitement and enthusiasm were contagious. They talked about their teachers and classes the way elementary school students do. They clearly adore their teachers, principal, and school. Students in classes stopped to explain to us the work they were doing. They were completely comfortable talking with us as equals. It was highly impressive.
Chris Lehmann has created (I'm sure he would say, with lots of help) an atmosphere of learning that is unparalleled. Students have been as involved in EduCon as many of the teachers. They are clearly very invested in their own education in a way that, I think, most high students are not. It has given me a lot to think about.