New High School in Philadelphia Makes Learning Personal

By Dale Mezzacappa and Allison Welton
on Mar 25, 2015 01:13 PM
Students in culinary class

Hillary Van Anda supervises students in the school’s culinary studio. Without a kitchen, students use hotplates to cook. Photo: Allison Welton

Building 21 is one of three innovative high schools started this year designed to transform the educational experience for students. After a year of planning, it opened in September to its first class of more than 100 9th graders.

Like High School of the Future, it has a one-to-one technology program. Each Building 21 student gets a Chromebook, and work is done digitally. There are no textbooks and little paper is used.

Unlike HSOF, it doesn’t have a state-of-the-art building; it shares the former Ferguson Elementary School in North Philadelphia with the U-School, one of the other startups.

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