Giving Up Control with Michael Shapiro Transformative Principal 093

Michael Shapiro is serving in his second year as the principal of Highland Tech Charter School in Anchorage School District. A recent transplant from the Chicago area, he previously served as principal of Shepard Middle School in Deerfield, Illinois for seven years, during which time the school earned a U.S. Department of Education Blue Ribbon Award. Prior to that he served as an assistant principal for five years in two different schools. Mr. Shapiro began his educational career as a computer applications teacher and director of instructional technology. He is currently a doctoral candidate in Administration and Supervision at Loyola University in Chicago.

Highland Tech is a 6th–12th grade charter school that promotes personal mastery through student centered, individualized learning and varied assessment strategies. Student placement is based on academic ability, rather than chronological age, ensuring students are challenged each day. Students are encouraged to take an active role in their education and master core content and the skills necessary for success in the 21st Century. Technology integration and project-based assessments are critical components of Highland Tech’s rigorous model. 

  • Professional Development - content expertise and deep understanding of the standards.
  • Focus on building a curriculum that is standards-based.
  • Planning meaningful activities that align with standards.
  • Help teachers help students refine and revise work.
  • Time is a huge barrier.
  • Giving up control to students.
  • Advisory - take this incredibly seriously.
  • School visit in Michigan.
  • In the traditional model, we don’t demand that they master, we demand that they pass with an average.
  • Redos and Retakes
  • Be present. Be in classrooms learning every day.
  • Uncomfortable being called boss, because he is really a servant.

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