Superintendent travels to Chile to help implement ‘flipped’ school model

By: Nick Mordowanec | Fraser - Clinton Township Chronicle | Published July 13, 2016

 Clintondale Community Schools Superintendent Greg Green stands with the principal of Colegio Mayor de Peñalolén and her students in Santiago, Chile, last April.

Clintondale Community Schools Superintendent Greg Green stands with the principal of Colegio Mayor de Peñalolén and her students in Santiago, Chile, last April.

Photo provided by MontesurEDU

CLINTON TOWNSHIP — The so-called education model of the future is reaching lands both near and far.

This past April, Clintondale Community Schools Superintendent Greg Green traveled to Santiago, Chile, to converse with educators, families and students regarding the “flipped” school construct that has twisted education on its head.

Green visited Colegio Mayor Tobalaba and Colegio Mayor de Peñalolén, two high schools in Santiago that had expressed interest in the past regarding the new wave in education.

The process started about two years ago, when eight educators from Chile visited Clintondale to investigate the model — which they enthusiastically embraced. The two aforementioned schools had goals of reinventing themselves, but they wanted to be privy to every angle of the model.

The flipped model is a learner-centered model that urges students to watch and dissect videos and lectures at home, so that when they work on assignments and “homework” in the classroom it can be done in a collaborative environment. Green says there is a greater opportunity to ask questions while receiving instruction from teachers.

It has been a success since being implemented in 2010, improving information retention while simultaneously boosting graduation rates and college attendance rates at Clintondale High School.

The failure rate has dropped from approximately 30 percent to about 8 percent.

Green, who spent 12 years as Clintondale High principal and just completed his first year as superintendent, said he originally had the idea of the flipped model while coaching his then-11-year-old son’s travel baseball team.

He began to share instructional videos with the athletes. Since some kids on the team traveled far distances to attend games and practices, he found it pragmatic to let the players make adjustments on their own time. When they met in person, more time was available to work with players’ individual attributes or problem areas.

It’s a model that can be utilized in different arenas.

“We want our teachers helping our kids,” Green said. “Parents haven’t had the specialized training, or are not familiar with a subject or it’s just been a long time.

“We have different strategies and studies. That’s why teachers are even more vital today, because of the complexity put in front of kids today.”

Green’s first foray to South America came on the heels of a visit by two Clintondale teachers late last year. After meeting with the teachers, the Chilean school educators wanted to ask administrators more specific questions — such as how to scale and implement the system.

“They’re terrific people and doing a great job down there,” Green said. “It’s an honor to be there and help others with the process.”

And it’s not just schools in Chile that are taking notice, either. 

Last year, CNN named Clintondale High as one of the top 41 most innovative schools in the United States. The flipped model has garnered major attention from nationally renowned media, like The New York Times and CBS News, and has been identified as educationally stimulating in countries like China, Poland, Canada, Japan, New Zealand and the United Kingdom.

This is just the beginning, Green said, and advancements to make the model work better and faster are continually in the works.

“I think imitation is the greatest form of flattery,” he said. “It’s not something that we brag a lot about, but it’s something that we’re really proud of. It’s validation.

“It’s really nice and just an honor that people think that highly of your work.”

For more information on the flipped school model, visit www.flippedhighschool.com.