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Monday, April 16, 2018

Idaho Paper Profiles Incoming Highlands Principal

Perhaps the best way to know what Highlands High School may be getting in their new principal, Matthew Bertasso, is to examine him in his current element at Compass Academy in Idaho.

Bertasso, a 1997 Highlands graduate, will begin serving as principal on July 1, 2018.

He is presently serving as the director/principal of Compass Academy in Idaho Falls, Idaho, a position he pioneered in a newly created school and has held for six years.

Bertasso earned his bachelor’s degree in Music Education at Brigham Young University and master’s degree in School Administration and Supervision at Indiana State University.

Here's the article, written by The Post Register's, Nathan Brown:

Compass Academy’s principal is leaving after this school year to become the principal of his alma mater.

Matthew Bertasso is leaving the Idaho Falls School District 91 magnet high school to lead Highlands High School in Fort Thomas, Ky.

“It’s been a successful high school for many years, and they’re kind of going down a similar path that we went down when we opened Compass,” he said. “(They) were looking for a principal that had some experience in creating an innovative school, and creating a school that’ll meet the needs of the 21st century student.”

Bertasso was the director of instructional technology in a school in Indiana before he came to Idaho in 2012 to run the newly founded Compass Academy. He had some familiarity with the area before, having graduated from Brigham Young University-Idaho in 2004.

Compass is a “New Tech Network” school, the only one in Idaho but one of about 200 across the U.S. and Australia. The idea originated with the New Technology High School in Napa, Calif., which opened in 1997, and has grown from there into a network of schools that emphasize access to technology and lessons that seek to replicate real-world experiences. Having worked at a “new tech” high school in Hamlet, Ind., before, Bertasso was excited about the opportunity to help found one.

“It’s a model that uses technology and project-based learning and really looks to meet the expectations of the employee/employer world, (and the) post-high school environment,” he said. “The focus is really on the project-based learning and the authentic, real-world type learning.

The district has already advertised the job. Once the candidates are identified, district spokeswoman Margaret Wimborne said she expects the replacement process to involve the students, parents and faculty at the school.

“Matt has done a great job of operationalizing the board’s ideas of deeper learning and has built a great program at Compass, with a really strong culture for students and staff, and he is definitely a passionate advocate for deeper learning in the district,” she said.

The inspiration for Compass, Wimborne said, came out of the debate eight or nine years ago around the “Students Come First” laws pushed by then-Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Luna, known to opponents as the “Luna laws.”

One of them included providing a laptop computer to every high school teacher and student, which got the Board of Trustees thinking about how to implement that and how to use technology to improve education in general. Wimborne said the board visited New Technology High School in Napa and wanted to create something similar in Idaho Falls.

“The focus is really on technology that empowers students and staff,” she said. “It’s about a culture of respect and responsibility and this engaging instruction.”

Read the full article here. 

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