Design pillars are used among all RBL sites to identify the essential design elements upon which each site’s student experience is based. The KIPP Houston design pillars are: Flipped Classroom, One-on-One Sessions, Student Agency, Competency-Based Progression, and Rigor. Based on year 1 experiences, KIPP Houston revised Year 2 pillars to include: Student Agency, Rigorous Lessons, Data-Driven Learning, Coaching Sessions, and Blended Learning Personalized Experience.
Through the Flipped Classroom model, students have control over their pace of learning content before entering the classroom, and complete checks for understanding throughout the video. During class time, activities such as teacher-facilitated conceptually driven discourse, leveled practice with feedback loops, and teacher-led small groups are planned in response to individual student data, which indicate the appropriate instructional level and pace for that day’s lesson.
One-on-One Sessions provide personalized attention to meet learners where they are in terms of emotional well-being, motivation, agency, and academic progress, and guide them along their path to being agents of their learning. During coaching sessions, students connect with teachers, review academic progress, and work on learning practices such as goal-setting, study habit, and reflection, for the purpose of elevating students’ awareness of the learning process and who they are as learners.
Student Agency refers to the level of choice, autonomy, and accountability that a student experiences in their education. This pillar can be manifested in the flexibility of learning environment, approach, and/or pace.
In order to stay true to Great Mind’s Eureka Math, which emphasizes teacher-facilitated discourse for conceptual development, KIPP Houston did not implement a Competency-Based Progression for students to move at their own pace. Instead, the lessons followed the pacing calendar, and the flipped model enabled deeper understanding of each day’s lesson while also identifying students who needed scaffolding that day. For year 2, this pillar was combined with “Flipped Classroom” and modified to “Blended Learning, Personalized Experience.”
For the final pillar Rigor, KIPP Houston relied on TNTP’s blended rubric and their own rubric to ensure rigorous lessons, defined as: throughout the entire lesson, all students engage in the work of the lesson, think critically and do heavy lifting on content that is grade-level, college-ready, or student-ready appropriate, and continually practice / receive feedback until they demonstrate mastery. Rigor was a significant focus area for Year 1, which will continue into Year 2.