The college connection.For students at Newport-Mesa Unified School District Newport Mesa Unified School District is a school district in Orange County, California that mainly serves the cities of Newport Beach and Costa Mesa. The district was founded on July 1, 1966. , flexibility is the way of the future. In a drive to give to its students what it calls "21st century skills," the district has made a flexible high school redesign one of the centerpieces of its new five-year strategic plan. Frederick Navarro, Newport-Mesa's director of secondary curriculum and instruction, says the district is following trends in higher education higher education
Study beyond the level of secondary education. Institutions of higher education include not only colleges and universities but also professional schools in such fields as law, theology, medicine, business, music, and art. toward satellite campuses, online opportunities and alternative class schedules.
College in high school: For the past five years, Newport-Mesa has run a Middle College High School on the campus of Orange Coast Community College.
Multi-tasking: High school juniors and seniors can complete their high school work while taking community college classes at the same time.
No bells in college: "They have a separate building by themselves. There are no bells and the school is run just like a college, except that the students have to complete their high school requirements in the morning. Then in the afternoon they can take any community college class they feel qualified to take," says Serene Stokes Stokes , William 1804-1878.
British physician. Known especially for his studies of diseases of the chest and heart, he expanded on the observations of John Cheyne in describing the breathing irregularity now known as Cheyne-Stokes respiration. , president of Newport-Mesa's Board of Education.
Starting earlier: Building on the success of the Middle College program, Newport-Mesa has plans to start an Early College High School next year.
Credit where credit is due: Designed as a five-year program for lower achieving students, the Early College school will enroll ninth-grade students in the hopes that five years later the students will have achieved their high school diploma A high school diploma is a diploma awarded for the completion of high school. In the United States and Canada, it is considered the minimum education required for government jobs and higher education. An equivalent is the GED. plus nearly a year of community college credit.
Online Intensity: After experimenting with online classes in the 2004-05 school year by adapting the Florida Virtual School Founded in 1997 by President and CEO Julie Young, the Florida Virtual School (FLVS) is one of the largest online middle and high schools in the United States. It is the only public online school--and likely the first of any kind of public school--to be funded on a performance basis. program to California standards, the district expanded its online offerings this year with some assistance from California State University, Fullerton California State University, Fullerton, commonly known as CSUF, CSU Fullerton, or Cal State Fullerton, is a part of the California State University system. The University is located in the city of Fullerton, California, in northern Orange County. .
Going online: Using Blackboard (1) See Blackboard Learning System.
(2) The traditional classroom presentation board that is written on with chalk and erased with a felt pad. Although originally black, "white" boards and colored chalks are also used. software, students at three-quarters of Newport-Mesa's high schools now have the opportunity to enroll in online economics and government classes.
Moving faster: "The online kids work faster, get through the curriculum more rapidly and spend more time on modules," says Navarro. "They seem to be pretty intense students."
Better communication: Students in last year's online pilot program reported feeling as though they had more one-on-one interaction with the online instructor than in class.
More interest: That's good news since growing numbers of Newport-Mesa teachers are expressing interest in developing online classes in their subject areas, including foreign languages.
No limitations: Underlying all of the district's moves toward flexibility is a realization that not every student will excel in just one setting. Some students want a traditional high school with a band and a football team, so Newport-Mesa will continue to offer that option.
More progression: Other students are ready to take college classes and learn on a college campus, so Newport-Mesa will provide them with the ability to thrive in that environment.
All online: And some students who are not stimulated by the traditional classroom environment thrive when given the opportunity to learn online.
Acceleration: Kent Williams
Kent Williams is an American painter, illustrator and graphic novel artist. From 1980 he studied in New York City at the Pratt Institute. , who teaches an online economics class, says, "Students who did not excel in mainstream classrooms often excel on the Internet. There are kids who don't ask or won't answer questions in class, but feel comfortable working on the keyboard on the Internet or in group work. They are outstanding."
NEWPORT-MESA UNIFIED SCHOOL COSTA MESA Costa Mesa (kŏs`tə mā`sə), city (1990 pop. 96,357), Orange co., S Calif., on the Pacific south of Santa Ana; inc. 1953. It is a transportation, residential, and light industrial center. , CALIF.
No. of schools: 31
No. of teachers: 1,500
No. of students: 22,524
Ethnicity: White 55%, Hispanic 38%, Asian 6%, African-American 1%
Per-pupil expenditure: $8,491
Dropout (1) On magnetic media, a bit that has lost its strength due to a surface defect or recording malfunction. If the bit is in an audio or video file, it might be detected by the error correction circuitry and either corrected or not, but if not, it is often not noticed by the human rate: 0.4%
Population: Costa Mesa, 103,523; Newport Beach Newport Beach, residential and resort city (1990 pop. 66,643), Orange co., S Calif., on Newport Bay and the Pacific Ocean; inc. 1906. It is a popular seaside resort and yachting center. Manufactures include electrical and medical equipment, computers, boats, and adhesives. , 70,032
Superintendent: Robert J. Barbot, since July 1998
Web site: www.nmusd.us
Aaron Dalton is a freelance writer based in Brooklyn, N.Y.