Let’s Talk: How One Community Prepared for Its New School

In the current planning year before Sedona Red Rock High School opens in Sedona, Arizona, principal Rick Lear has scheduled discussion groups with parents, students, and community members on fourteen topics. Each topic was scheduled for three alternative times of day, to maximize participation; and each session ended with the question, “What implications do our views have for the design and operation of our high school?” The subjects for discussion follow, roughly grouped into three areas:

Goals, Values, Standards

  • What will make us most proud of our graduates? What will we expect of them?
  • Powerful learning: What is it, and how can we build it into the school?
  • Graduation and exhibitions, jobs and future opportunities
  • Standards: How good is good enough?

Sample Learning Activities

  • English and social studies Socratic seminars
  • Math and science: Complex problems
  • Integrated curriculum
  • Thinking and Problem-solving

Special Topics

  • Using the community: Field-based learning, mentorships, service- learning adult volunteers
  • Parents, teachers, and personalization
  • New technologies: Possibilities and realities
  • Co-curricular activities: Clubs and sports
  • School name, mascot, colors, etc., governance and operation
  • Curriculum design