Using Technology for Continuing Education at San Francisco International High School
High school is hard enough, but if you’re new to the English language, it can be quite a challenge. With the support of ACE, San Francisco International High School is starting a continuing education program for students that need extra time to master the language and pass the high school exit exam. Guest Blogger Kyle Halle-Erby reports on her students at the beginning of the school year, and will continue throughout the year giving updates on their success.
By Guest Blogger Kyle Halle-Erby, 5th Year Program Coordinator, SFIHS
This year at San Francisco International High School (SFIHS,) I am working with a group of 14 fifth-year students who have completed all of their graduation requirements but have not yet passed the California High School Exit Examination (CAHSEE.) All students at SFIHS are newcomer immigrants and English language learners. Our student body comes from countries all over the world and speaks seventeen different languages. In just four short years at SFIHS, students simultaneously develop English language skills and sophisticated content knowledge through collaborative, project-based learning.
For many English learners, it simply takes more than four years to master the academic English required to succeed on standardized tests. I am thrilled to be able to work with students this year on developing the language ability, content knowledge and test-taking ability necessary to earn their high school diplomas.
My students are tenacious and routinely demonstrate a true love for learning. Aside from taking class with me, my students are exploring their academic interests and preparing for higher education by enrolling in classes at City College of San Francisco (CCSF.) Helping students register for classes at CCSF was a highlight of the first week of school. Students poured over the course catalogues as French, biotechnology, history and criminal justice courses grabbed their attention. Students enthusiastically researched courses online and reach out to professors over email for more information.
My students are not afraid of a challenge. Still, preparing for a high-stakes test is difficult work that can easily hinder students’ motivation. Fortunately, this year my students are working with iMentor Corps to help prepare for the CAHSEE. iMentor Corps is a web-based computer program that tests students on the skills and content measured on the CAHSEE. The program provides immediate feedback and score projections based on student performance. Most importantly, the web-based nature of the program allows students to test themselves independently.
Leveraging technology in this way permits us to focus our class time on content instruction and strategy practice, which allows students to work independently and take more ownership of their learning. This way, we are maximizing our class time so that students have time to pursue their academic and career interests in meaningful ways beyond our high school.