In the rural Havana School District #126 in Mason County, Ill., nearly 65 percent of students come from families poor enough to qualify for free and reduced-price lunch. Superintendent Mark Twomey thinks the flipped classroom, which he learned about at a conference, is perfect for his at-risk students.
So in August, Havana High School will become one of the first in the country to flip entirely, with all 24 teachers participating in a method that presents lessons at home while students do “homework” in class. Twomey wants to start the reform quickly because, he said, “waiting for buy-in costs too much in terms of creating the urgency needed for this type of change initiative.”
Why is he sold on the flipped teaching/learning approach?
“I do not believe it is fair that a student’s success depends on the house they live in or who they live with,” he said. “The current model sends a great deal of the work with the student to be completed at home. Two equally motivated students go home with work. One has two educated parents that help the student until 10 p.m., [and] understands and completes the homework, while the other student receives no support at home. Each returns to school with very different grades put into the book. Of course, I am not drawing this comparison in each home because there are always exceptions. However, as subgroups, this paints an accurate picture.”