Program aims to expand students’ vision

March 8, 2011

Valleria Mattis is a critical thinker, a student leader and a technology-savvy teenager.

The high school senior is constantly solving real-world problems in small groups by learning how to use new research tools and helpful websites. She requires little teacher supervision, works well with others and always has her laptop.

Mattis, 17, is also an impressive public speaker, which is why the Lucia Mar Unified School District enlisted her help at a recent meeting to update community and business leaders on its VISION 2020 goals.

Understanding what 21st century learning skills are on paper can be tough, so the district brought in New Technology High School seniors Mattis and Anthony Biagini to show an audience what those skills can do for a student’s education and level of confidence.

“I have friends who go to other high schools and what we do doesn’t resemble what they do,” said Mattis, who lives in Napa.

New Tech High is a perfect model for project-based learning, said Lucia Mar Superintendent Jim Hogeboom.

That type of learning breeds the 21st learning skills Hogeboom wants to bring to his district, which include communication, problem solving and critical thinking, teamwork, technology, innovation and others.

Lucia Mar is still at the start of its five-year plan to improve its curriculum, student progress and administrative teamwork and collaboration through what it calls VISION 2020