design, art, and technology formerly at
High School, Coronado, California
Blue Ribbon School, and
a New American
School and, beginning
1999, alive and well at
Diego Jewish Academy.
This page contains material presented at the
11th Annual California Association of Leaders for Career Preparation
(CALCP) and California Association of Regional Occupational
Centers/Programs (CAROC/P) Joint Conference, November 18, 1998, in
San Diego, California.
"WriteDesign, a unique class
developed at Coronado High School (CHS), is based on the integration
of writing, design, art, and technology. It is an outstanding example
of the school fitting the students instead of the students fitting
Jeffrey Davis, Ed.D., Principal, San Diego
formerly of Coronado High School
Under the enthusiastic leadership of Dr. Jeffrey
Davis, Principal, Coronado High School, our community joined in
Dr. Davis encouraged us to dream of classes that
were powerful for all students, classes we felt passionately about
teaching, classes we felt would excite the students who represented
the full spectrum of interest and ability but weren't being
stimulated and nurtured in a way that addressed their personal
learning styles and perspectives.
Dr. Dick Adams, Director, Coronado ROP, has fully
supported our efforts to integrate writing, design, art, and
Dr. Davis' focus on the "school fitting the
students" represents a major departure from the traditional
educational philosophy. Through his leadership and vision the faculty
and staff have created meaningful curriculum guided by student
interest with outstanding results. We have made dramatic changes, but
we are not resting on our laurels. Change is a constant in life and
at CHS. Stay tuned.
WriteDesign is a product of two teachers with
common goals who were encouraged to dream.
We recognized our mutual respect and passion for
our subjects, our students, and learning in general.
We realized when we worked together we
strengthened each others' skills.
We also recognized we had a mutual need for
challenge, stimulation, and a forum for our passions and
- a daily, two-hour workshop class in which
students create a variety of multimedia projects including
writing, design, art, and technology.
- two instructors team-teaching a course,
coordinating instruction to empower students.
- an opportunity for students to receive both
English and practical arts/computer literacy credits in an
- a workshop format encouraging personal
goal-setting, allowing students to grow and progress at their own
- instructors creating daily mini-lessons in
thematic units that develop a particular skill or project.
- instructors facilitating as-needed, on-demand
requirements with customized instruction.
Over the last three years we developed a set of
criteria intended to focus our drive toward a more meaningful
learning experience for both our students and ourselves. The
following seven criteria appear on the semester rubric and address
- Creating appropriate goals, focus, or topic
- Collecting and ordering information that
- Presenting that information with clarity,
grace; revision and editing are apparent.
- Up-to-date with required assignments. (you
must have completed ALL assignments to earn an "A" in course)
- Taking risks and showing
- Participating in class discussions, response
groups, peer editing, open easels and readings, email if you have
access, and other collaborative projects and
- Clearly reflecting on your learning (shared
with instructors) using metacognitive tools (journals,
sketchbooks, self evaluation, feedback from others,
Fueled by WASC Accreditation, and numerous
applications for grants and awards, the issues addressed in the
semester rubric are directly tied to expected benchmarks for
- WriteDesign easily and actively incorporates
the state frameworks for English and art, the district vision, the
Coronado High School Expected Schoolwide Learning Results, and
ROPESLERs. Examples of this marriage include:
- Self-directed learners are developed by
providing each student with tools and opportunities to think
- Interpersonal and team-building skills are
developed through the use of response groups, literature circles,
collaborative learning, and Canvass, the Coronado High School
literature and arts magazine.
- Fundamental knowledge is demonstrated through
rigorous projects that integrate writing, design, art, and
- School-to-career awareness is developed
through the use of individual goal setting including
self-assessment, and units on personal narrative writing,
resumés, and research on colleges and scholarships that
yield essays and applications.
- School and community involvement is developed
through submissions to the school newspaper; contributions to
school projects in writing, design, art, and technology; the
creation of Canvass; and our annual Portfolio Presentation
- Social conscience is developed through the
study of core literature, selected readings, and a varied mix of
media with global perspectives.
How We Use the Web
As a result of our interest in finding better ways
to deliver our messages, staying on the cutting edge (we expect our
students to take risks), and engaging our students, we developed a
book of materials that turned into a constantly growing and changing
web site. The WriteDesign online site explores alternative delivery
systems intended to provide interactive learning opportunities.
Although much of the site is, at this point, somewhat passive, we
have several tools in development that should prove to increase
Current course focal points include
- the majority of course information uses the syllabus as a jump
- Assignments - all assignments are
listed on the syllabus during the corresponding weeks and contain
relevant information including components of the assignment, links
to resources, and the rubric, e.g., The
- Rubrics - the assessment of student
work centers around a number of rubrics. Each assignment contains
a rubric delineating not only the criteria for assessment, but
also relevant support information, e.g., The
21 Club Rubric. There is also a rubric
for each grading period, e.g., Six-Week
- Resources - numerous resources, both on
site and online, exist to stimulate and facilitate student
understanding and knowledge, e.g., CerebralFlatulence.
- the "icing on the cake" for both our students and ourselves is
the student gallery. If there are pieces that "talk" to you,
please e-mail us so that we may share your feelings with the
Requirements for Teachers Considering Integration
- individual readiness as equated by a
willingness to make changes
- individually perceived incentives that are
sufficient to compensate for the additional time and
- administrative support (emotional,
- choice of teammates that share goals,
complementary skills and knowledge, and clear
- leadership and role definitions that divide
the responsibilities equitably
- planning and structure that facilitate more
organization and documentation
For more indepth information on team development
and peer coaching see the following sites:
As with any endeavor, both good and bad exist.
There is no doubt that in the WriteDesign collaboration, the good far
outweighs the bad. We encourage teachers and administrators to
embrace collaboration and integration. It works. (See links
listed above to peer coaching)
Shared ideas - two heads are better than
one - we have the opportunity to play ideas off each other, exploring
ideas not possible with only one perspective.
Divided workload - it is obvious that great
teams share skill sets - we have the ability to focus on our
strengths knowing that our partner is focusing on his/her own
Stimulation - how can you not be stimulated
when you have the opportunity to try new ideas and work with someone
who encourages you to push the limits?
Fun - use your imagination...if you're not
having fun, then you should be doing something else.
Compromise - at times you have to follow
your partner's dreams. Just do it, the rewards are
Time - when you work with someone else,
they usually push you to do more than you would otherwise consider
adequate, even more than you would consider excellent.
Reality check - watching someone else who
is a model of excellence gives you reason to question your own
ability. That's great, because without a benchmark for excellence you
never push yourself to excellence.
Money - when doing more for the students,
you inevitably want to do more than is perceived fundable, oh
well...if you're teaching for the money...?
Map | WriteDesign
of Thumb | Glossary
| Co-Teachers - Doug
E-Mail Doug at firstname.lastname@example.org
or Melissa at email@example.com