The "WISE Prize" is awarded to Larry Rosenstock, founder of High Tech High

The WISE Prize has just been awarded to Mr. Larry Rosenstock, director, founder and principal of High Tech High, for his contribution to primary and secondary education and the fight against inequalities.

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Doha, Qatar – November 20, 2019. The WISE Prize has just been awarded to Mr. Larry Rosenstock, Director, Founder and Principal of High Tech High, a network of “chatter schools[1] ”, based in San Diego, California. Her Highness Sheikha Moza bint Nasser presented the Prize to Mr. Rosenstock during the opening session of the WISE Summit in Doha, in front of 3,000 participants from more than 100 countries.

The WISE Prize honors personalities who have contributed to radically transform and improve an education system at the level of a community, a country or internationally. Larry Rosenstock is recognized this year for his contribution to primary and secondary education and the fight against inequalities. He is one of the pioneers of project-based learning, whereby students acquire fundamental academic skills by working on concrete projects at the crossroads of several disciplines. This pedagogical model fuels students' curiosity and anchors learning in "real" life, by making them focus on solving current problems. The model developed by Larry Rosenstock also reinvents the role of teachers who become “designers”. The latter constantly adapt their pedagogy and the subjects requested according to the specific needs of each student. Throughout their schooling, students can thus try themselves both as budding scientists, engineers, as well as artists.

Improving the status of disadvantaged young people has been the driving force behind Mr. Rosenstock's professional career. Then a law graduate, Mr. Rosenstock chose, at the beginning of his career, to teach carpentry to high school students in the disadvantaged center of Boston in the 1960s, in the midst of a period of “desegregation”. This experience made him aware of the discrimination suffered by students from disadvantaged social classes and of African-American origin, despite their academic abilities. He will therefore dedicate his career to integrating students who had historically been set aside, by striving to rehabilitate vocational education. 

It will tackle this task in different ways by activating legal, educational and entrepreneurial levers. Starting out as a teacher for 11 years, he used his expertise in law to co-write legislation that increased funding for vocational education and demanded greater integration with academic education. By creating High Tech High in 2000, he proved to be an innovator behind a radically new model at the very heart of the school. 

High Tech High (HTH) breaks down many barriers: the obstacles that young people from disadvantaged backgrounds may encounter in accessing quality education, the separation between academic education and technical education, and the disconnection between classroom and the real world. The fight against inequalities is at the heart of HTH's mission: its students are also selected after a draw.

The innovative methods implemented at HTH have helped thousands of students of all levels and from all socioeconomic backgrounds to prepare for higher education, citizenship and a fulfilling professional life. This approach has also enabled students to reach their full potential, with 98 % of HTH students being accepted into the University (compared to 69 % on average nationally). 

HTH, a simple "charter school", has become an integrated network of sixteen schools providing courses from kindergarten to Terminale to nearly 5,780 students on four campuses. In 2008, Larry Rosenstock founded the HTH Graduate School of Education, which graduates and provides training. More than 5,000 teachers and school leaders from all 50 US states and 30 countries benefit each year. 

Larry Rosenstock and the model he developed within High Tech High are shaping a new approach to education by demonstrating the merits of project pedagogy, teaching 21st century skills and showing that it is possible to change the system directly in classrooms.

Stavros N. Yiannouka, CEO of WISE said: “Larry Rosenstock's work embodies the very essence of the WISE Prize: decades of commitment to education, seen as a force for positive individual and social transformation, tangible results and a method that can be applied in other countries and other contexts, finally qualities of visionary and social entrepreneur working for the common good. "

Upon receiving his award, Larry Rosenstock said, “I am honored to receive this award and to join previous winners whose projects have had a positive impact on education around the world. I hope the WISE Prize will allow us to share the work of High Tech High students and teachers even more widely. For me, this prize confirms two of my strongest convictions: that manual work and intellectual work can and must be taught together in our schools. And that all young people are capable of engaging in meaningful work, when given the chance. »

About the "WISE Prize"

Created in 2011 by Her Highness Sheikha Moza bint Nasser, the WISE Prize is the first international honor to reward an individual or a team of six for their outstanding contribution to education. The WISE Prize makes it possible to upgrade the status of education by giving it the same prestige as that enjoyed by literature, peace or the economy, for which international prizes already exist. The winner is awarded the gold medal of the WISE Prize, as well as the sum of 500,000 US dollars. He undertakes to produce four reports describing the progress of his project and the impact over two years of the amount received. The WISE Prize Laureates are inspiring role models for those who dedicate their lives to building the future of education as the foundation for a safer, more prosperous and sustainable world.

Members of the 2019 WISE Prize jury:

  • HE Sheikha Hanadi bint Nasser bin Khaled Al Thani, Founder and President of Amwal, Qatar
  • HE Serigne Mbaye Thiam, Minister of National Education, Senegal
  • Dr. Madhav Chavan, President, Pratham Education Foundation, India
  • Ms. Vicky Colbert, Founder and Director of the Escuela Nueva Foundation, Colombia 
  • Dr. Jörg Dräger, Member of the Executive Committee of the Bertelsmann Foundation, Germany 
  • Mr. Alan Chow, Executive Director of DH Chen Foundation, China

Previous winners of the WISE Prize: 

  • 2017 - Dr. Patrick Awuah, Ghana
  • 2015 - Dr. Sakena Yacoobi, Afghanistan
  • 2014 – Mrs. Ann Cotton, United Kingdom
  • 2013 – Ms. Vicky Colbert, Colombia
  • 2012 - Dr. Madhav Chavan, India
  • 2011 - Sir Fazle Hasan Abed, Bangladesh

For more information, Click here.

About WISE

The Qatar Foundation, chaired by Her Highness Sheikha Moza bint Nasser, established WISE, the Global Innovation Summit for Education, in 2009. WISE is an international and multidisciplinary platform designed to foster creativity, reflection, debate and concrete action in education. Through the biennial Summit, collaborative research and a series of programs, WISE is today an initiative on new approaches to education. WISE 2019 was held in Doha from November 19 to 21, 2019 around the theme: “Unlearning, relearning: what makes us human”. For more information on WISE, Click here.

SOURCE World Innovation Summit for Education

[1] “Charter School”: American model of schools financed by public funds and managed by private organizations. These schools are subject to a charter which defines their obligations. They benefit from a great deal of autonomy with regard to pedagogy and the recruitment of teachers. Education is free.

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