KPRC 2 took a camera inside Forest Brook Middle School, one of the New Education System schools identified by superintendent Mike Miles.
It may look like your typical class, but teachers follow Powerpoint presentations created by the district to instruct students, with lessons followed by a timer, so that way they can stay on schedule.
Learning objectives are posted clearly in every classroom daily, so students know exactly what they should be able to demonstrate by the end of instruction.
The first 45 minutes of class are dedicated to the day’s lesson. During instruction, students are encouraged to participate and work in teams.
Then the class takes a 10-minute quiz—which teachers grade on the spot to determine who understands the content, and which students need more time. Those kids stay with the teacher for the remaining 35 minutes of class.
Students who pass the test head off to a team center where they work independently on more advanced work related to the lesson of the day. A learning coach is nearby to help if necessary.
The team center is also the place where disruptive students are sent—with a Chromebook and headphones. Then they zoom back into their classrooms and continue the days’ lesson.
Three days into the school year—the NES principals we spoke to said they haven’t had to use this space for any misbehaving kids.
Superintendent Mike Miles says the reforms are necessary to close the achievement gaps among Black, Brown and White students in HISD. He said his goal is to make every student ready for a fast-paced society.