At LiHigh School, we don’t have grade levels that divide students by age. Nor do we expect that a student’s education ought to be dictated by the learning pace of their peers.
That is why we’ve designed a learning environment that has three specific goals: Meet students where they are; give students the opportunity to learn at their own pace; and only award diplomas to students who rigorously demonstrate that they are independent and mature learners.
To achieve these goals, we organize a student’s educational journey into three phases:
- Phase I: Guided Learners
- Phase II: Negotiated Learners
- Phase III: Independent Learners
Students in Phase I depend heavily upon the guidance of their advisors to create and complete the projects on their Learning Plan. These students probably don’t know what they’re passionate about, or aware of what really interests them in the world, or know what to do with that information if they do have it, which is why, throughout Phase I, their advisors will help them discover their strengths and challenges and learn to create interesting and authentic projects that are tied directly to who they are.
Students in Phase II have a stronger sense of who they are and what they want, but they may not know the best way to move forward. They work hand-in-hand with their advisors to develop projects and land professional internships in their fields of interest, while also increasing the depth and rigor of their accomplishments. The goal of students in Phase II is to develop the ability to take charge of their own lives.
Students in Phase III are on the cusp of adulthood. They know who they are, what they want, and how to get there. While their advisors and mentors are there to support them at every step of their journey, students in Phase III lead from the front. Their goal is not to simply take charge, but to show that they can be successful when they do so.
Along with increasing the student’s sense of independence, the phase levels also increase the academic depth and rigor of their work in each of the five Learning Goals.
To progress from one phase to the next, students must pass through a gateway review, during which they must demonstrate success in each aspect of the phase they are hoping to graduate from. This is achieved through the development of a portfolio that speaks to the appropriate set of Phase Level Expectations; the creation and management of this portfolio makes up a large portion of the student’s one-on-on work with their advisor. Students who successfully complete their Phase III Gateway are deemed ready to accept a LiHigh School diploma.
For more information on the specific expectations accompanying each phase level, see the following: