New England Secondary School Consortium

2010 School Redesign in Action Conference

NESSC States

Connecticut Sessions

Overcoming Instructional Hurdles: Improving instruction and Student Learning in a Connecticut Technical High School

A.I. Prince Technical High School, Hartford, Connecticut

A team from A.I. Prince Technical High School—representing one of the sixteen regional high schools in the Connecticut Technical High School System—will present its approach to school improvement that has resulted in a steady rise in standardized test scores. The story of A.I. Prince parallels the story of the Connecticut Technical High School System district, whose commitment to improving academic rigor and achievement has resulted in improved test scores. A.I. Prince not only embraced and adopted the district’s initiatives, but it also initiated several school-based approaches to instructional improvement, including research-based strategies, a school-wide focus on writing, instructional data teams, and student interventions such as labs in English language arts and math. A model for continuous improvement, A.I. Prince presents the journey of academic transformation that began in 2003 when the school was identified as being in need of improvement to today, where it now stands at the threshold of successfully achieving Adequate Yearly Progress.

Session
TBD
Presenters

William Chaffin (principal), Sal Randazzo (executive coach), Lisa Higgins (school counseling coordinator), Polly Innerarity (graphic communications department head), Deidre Shaw (science department head)

Presentation
Contact

William Chaffin, william.chaffin@ct.gov

Reap What You Sow! Promoting a Positive School Culture

Frederick Underwood Conard High School and William H. Hall High School, West Hartford, Connecticut

This workshop will provide participants with proactive, holistic strategies to create and sustain a positive, safe, welcoming, and high-impact school culture. Two sister schools will share highlights from their collaboratively developed programs, including their inclusive curriculum and various school measures intended to foster an atmosphere of acceptance, security, and encouragement. Educators will learn the dynamics of how school-wide activities, coupled with grade-specific programs, can promote recognition of diversity, reinforce respect, and reduce bullying and harassment. Homeroom advisories, diversity awareness showcases, educational assemblies that enlighten and empower students, and prevention programs that educate teens about healthy relationships and responsible choices are among the strategies and programs that will be profiled. Presenters will also describe the Student Success Team model (a “school watch” procedure for students to seek assistance for themselves or their peers when behaviors of concern emerge) and share successful outcomes of grade-specific programs and activities, such as a developmental guidance series, peer leadership/mentor models, and various student-driven transition activities designed to increase student engagement and feelings of pride and school-community attachment for every pupil.

Session
TBD
Presenters

Roszena Haskins (assistant principal, Conard) or Donna Namnoum (assistant principal, Hall)

Presentation
Contact

Roszena Haskins, roszena_haskins@whps.org

Student Success Plans: Planning for the success of all students

New Fairfield Public Schools, New Fairfield, Connecticut

Planning for the success of every middle school and high school student in New Fairfield, Connecticut, is key to our secondary reform goals. Beginning in middle school, every student works with a guidance counselor, team leader, and parent to create an individualized student success plan. This plan is revised every year from middle school through high school, helping students stay connected to their learning and achieve post-high school educational and career goals. The plan includes goal setting, monitoring of personal and academic development, postsecondary and career exploration, and a capstone project. New Fairfield’s student success plans integrate the best features of personalized education plans and advisor-advisee programs, and they culminate in a senior-year capstone project, known as the Senior Enrichment Experience. Our high school seniors led the inception of the capstone experience, co-designed the program with administration, and presented the idea to staff and the board of education for acceptance—and they continue to be an inspiration as they organize the entire program every year. Please join the assistant superintendent, middle school counselors, and three high school senior leaders as they share and discuss New Fairfield’s approach to student success.

Session
TBD
Presenters

Alicia M. Roy (assistant superintendent), Amy Jacques (middle school counselor), Megan Sheehan (middle school counselor), Mary Grace DeSantis (student), Christina Joseph (student), Ryan Murrin (student)

Presentation
Contact

Maine Sessions

Heterogeneous Grouping, Smaller Learning Communities, and Interventions: How to Raise Graduation Rates and Send More Students to College

Noble High School, North Berwick, Maine

Noble High School, with its 1,035 students, has eliminated tracking and grouped students into three vertically aligned academies. In this setting, students are known well by their teachers who meet regularly in interdisciplinary Professional Learning Groups to personalize learning and improve instruction. This highly personalized environment also ensures students receive the just-in-time supports necessary to stay on track and graduate on time. Over the last few years, the percentage of students meeting state standards has increased, as has the number of students enrolling and persisting in college, while the percentage of students dropping out has decreased. Participants will learn about Noble’s comprehensive approach to personalization, including the school’s effective dropout-preventions strategies.

Session
TBD
Presenters

Joseph Findlay (principal), Richard Landry (assistant principal), Nancy Simard (guidance director), Shelly Lajoie (guidance counselor)

Presentation
Contact

Joe Findlay, jfindlay@sad60.k12.me.us

How De-Tracking, Open Access to AP, a Focus on Literacy, and Common Syllabi Successfully Transformed Our High School

Oak Hill High School, Wales, Maine

In just a few years since being placed on Maine’s list of Continuous Improvement Schools, Oak Hill embarked on a path toward successful transformation. A comprehensive school improvement plan was put in place that emphasized college-readiness for every student. Homogeneous classes were eliminated. All teachers participated in professional development emphasizing literacy. The entire school took part in a statewide initiative that supported the development of common syllabi that were reviewed by an external reviewer. In just two years, the percentage of students meeting or exceeding state standards as measured by the Maine High School Assessment (the SAT), rose dramatically in reading and math for the entire school and for each measurable sub-group.

Session
TBD
Presenters

Patricia Doyle (principal), Patti LeBlanc (teacher), Julie Boucher (teacher)

Presentation
Contact

Patricia E. Doyle, pat.doyle@rsu4.org

Standards-Based Grading and Reporting: Our School’s Journey to Make Sure All Students Are Ready for College, Work, and Citizenship

Searsport High School, Searsport, Maine

District High School committed to creating a fully standards-based educational program. This change will soon be the law of the land as the state of Maine passes a new high school graduation bill. While there will be a timeline for all high schools to comply, Searsport chose to be ahead of the curve, immediately implementing our program. With a comprehensive system of just-in-time interventions, professional learning communities, grade-level teams, and personalized learning, students at Searsport have made significant achievement gains, and the school’s standards-based graduation policy has become a model for other schools in the region.

Session
TBD
Presenters

Gregg Palmer (principal), Gerry Crocker (school coach, Great Schools Partnership)

Presentation
Contact

Gregg Palmer, gpalmer@msad56.org

New Hampshire Sessions

Creating a Community of the Whole Serves All of the Parts

Great Bay eLearning Charter School, Exeter, New Hampshire

The Great Bay eLearning Charter School faces the same daily struggles as any public secondary school—student uncertainty, parent mix-ups, teacher stress, and the administrative paper chase. However, the school has been able to both strive and survive by understanding that all members of the school community need a voice and need to feel valued. It is the strong community that supports the learning and success of Great Bay’s eclectic mix of alternative learners. In an environment where all students are accepted for who they are, not in spite of it, positive relationships are essential. The co-principals of Great Bay will offer insights about how the strong culture of this little school has evolved and improved over the past six years. They will suggest strategies for improving school climate and share stories of both their successes and failures. A student panel will be on hand to discuss the Great Bay learning experience from their own perspective.

Session
TBD
Presenters

Cheryl York McDonough (co-principal), Peter Stackhouse (co-principal), Cammie Proulx (student), Stephanie Ramsey (student), Taylor Nelson (student)

Contact

Cheryl York McDonough, cmcdonough@sau16.org

Using Benchmark Assessments to Improve Instruction: Why Process and Product Are Uniquely Important to Success

Nashua High School North, Nashua, New Hampshire

Nashua High Schools North and South are closing in on the final of five benchmark assessments in reading and math that have spanned two and half years. The data generated from these 8th, 9th, and 10th grade standardized tests have helped school leaders identify specific problem areas and make appropriate adjustments to instruction. The results have been dramatic—significant increases in reading and writing scores with rising scores in mathematics as well. While higher achievement is the ultimate goal, job-embedded professional development and a more viable professional learning community have resulted from the assessment work. Teachers have developed a common assessment language and a growing arsenal of activities that help them formatively assess students and improve classroom practice. This presentation will explain the process behind this successful strategy and provide a template for other schools to follow.

Session
TBD
Presenters

David Ryan (principal), Keith Richard (assistant principal), Chris Motika (assistant principal), Christopher Saunders (head English teacher)

Presentation
Contact

David Ryan, ryand@nashua.edu

Virtual Learning: Your Partner in Transforming Learning

Virtual Learning Academy Charter School, Exeter, New Hampshire

The Virtual Learning Academy Charter School is an online school based in New Hampshire whose mission is to personalize learning for all students. The school has become tremendously successful having grown from 700 to over 7,000 course enrollments in its first two years of operation. The school’s programming is available to students and schools throughout New England. Please join members of the Virtual Learning Academy staff and learn how the school’s innovative approach to teaching and learning in the 21st century can support your own efforts to transform education through personalized, online learning.

Session
TBD
Presenters

Steve Kossakoski (chief executive officer) and Gary Tirone (chief learning officer)

Presentation
Contact

Steve Kossakoski, skossakoski@vlacs.org

Rhode Island Sessions

Changing the High School Culture Through Accountability and Collaboration

Chariho Regional High School, Wood River Junction, Rhode Island

Over the last ten years the culture at Chariho Regional High School has changed dramatically by holding everyone in the school to a high standard of accountability and organizing the schedule to provide teachers with an opportunity to collaborate on a regular basis with a focused purpose. Chariho High School moved from a school that was low performing and not improving to a Regents Commended School. There is a clear focus on teaching and learning, and there are high expectations for student achievement and teacher performance. Presenters from the high school will share evidence of the transformation. Attendees will get some practical ideas on how they might handle situations related to job performance and holding the entire school community accountable to the mission of the school. Participants will be given opportunities to ask questions and network with other attendees.

Session
TBD
Presenters

Bob Mitchell (principal), Elizabeth Sinwell (assistant principal for teaching and learning), Stacy Haines-Mayne (guidance director), Margaret Arsenault (special education department chair)

Presentation
Contact

Robert Mitchell, ramit@chariho.k12.ri.us

Transforming a High School Using Common Assessments

Coventry High School, Coventry, Rhode Island

By using common assessments in all disciplines, Coventry High School has transformed the way in which students are assessed and how teachers examine student work to inform their instruction. By taking existing projects, which at one time applied to only some students in the school, the faculty developed assessment tasks with sufficient rigor and relevance that these projects became graduation requirements for all students. The presenters will relate the story, philosophy, and assumptions behind the inception and implementation of common tasks and assessments, as well as their journey to move 170 faculty and 1,800 students to this new school-wide practice. An easy-to-use framework for developing, validating, and applying the components of common assessments and tasks in their school will be shared with participants.

Session
TBD
Presenters

Arthur Lisi (assistant principal/guidance director), Chuck Branchaud (math teacher), Anthony Marsella (culinary arts teacher), Donna Tobin (English teacher), Kathleen Sullivan (science department chair)

Presentation
Contact

Michael Hobin (principal), hobinmichael@coventryschools.net

Multiple Pathways: Leading Our Students to Success in the Colleges and Careers of the 21st Century

Woonsocket High School, Woonsocket, Rhode Island

Woonsocket High School’s changing culture can be attributed to its embrace of new ideas and commitment to a fluid process of continuous improvement. Administrators and staff are building a foundation for student learning and growth that is driven by the core belief in college and career readiness for all. One of the school’s most transformative strategies, multiple pathways, developed naturally over the years as it became apparent—after analyzing data such as graduation and course failures rates—that the traditional high school model was not meeting the needs of all students, especially in a community as linguistically and culturally diverse as Woonsocket. At Woonsocket, conventional and non-conventional methods of transmitting knowledge, skills, attitudes, and values coexist and complement each other in an effort to help all students achieve their maximum potential. Early evidence indicates that this approach is working. For instance, between 2007 and 2009, the school’s dropout rate decreased by 12% and the college-acceptance rate increased by 16%. Please join educators and students from Woonsocket as they share the practical strategies that helped make multiple pathways a success.

Session
TBD
Presenters

Lourenço Garcia (principal), Lynne Bedard (career and technical education center director), Janet Sullivan (special education coordinator), Daniel Richard (JROTC program coordinator), Mike Ferry (coordinator of technology and e-learning), Brad Fesmire (Riverzedge Arts Project director), Maggie Koosa (21st Century Community Learning Centers site coordinator) Jintana Souvannavongsa (student), Emily Luther (student), Jacob Khaled (student), Rachel Miale (student)

Presentation
Contact

Lourenço Garcia, lourenco.garcia@gmail.com

Vermont Sessions

A 21st Century Curriculum: Relevant, Project-based, Student-centered Learning

Milton High School, Milton, Vermont

Two years ago Milton High School undertook a complete revision of its core curriculum in grades 9–12. Using the conceptual framework developed by the Partnership for 21st Century Skills as a starting point, Milton High School set out to design curricula and instructional practices that modeled creativity, innovation, critical thinking, and collaboration using relevant, project-based, student-centered strategies that focused on real-world skills that students could apply outside of high school and in whatever life path they chose. To avoid the trap of incrementalism and stay within tight budgetary limitations, Milton developed a comprehensive, systematic improvement process that fluidly moved from development of new curricula to the implementation of a 1:1 technology initiative starting with this year’s freshman class to the delivery of the professional development needed to make it all successful in the classroom. Join educators from Milton High School as they share the challenges and successes faced on the way to realizing a 21st century learning program for every student.

Session
TBD
Presenters

Kerry Sewell (director of curriculum), Anne Blake (co-principal), Scott Thompson (assistant principal), Katri O’Neill (technology integration specialist), Karen Hammond (teacher), Angela King (teacher) Jason Gorczyk (teacher), Amanda Notman (special educator)

Contact

Scott Thompson, sthompson@mtsd-vt.org

Windham Regional Collegiate High School Program

Windham Regional Career Center, Brattleboro, Vermont

Young people from middle and upper ends of the socioeconomic scale are almost five times more likely to earn a two year or four year college degree than those from low income families. The Windham Regional Collegiate High School Program reaches out to first generation high school students and others who may not have succeeded in traditional classroom settings in ways that will make a college education possible. The program offers students the opportunity to spend the last two years of high school enrolled in a course of study through which they can receive both a high school diploma and college credit.

Session
TBD
Presenters

Ron Stahley (superintendent), David Coughlin (director), and Tom Yahn (program director)

Presentation
Contact

David Coughlin, dcoughlin@wsesu.org

NESSC

Global Best Practices in Context: An Internationally Benchmarked Self-Assessment Tool for Secondary Learning

New England Secondary School Consortium

Following an extensive review of research on high-leverage educational policies and best practices across the globe, the Consortium distilled the findings into a comprehensive set of descriptions and strategies that schools can use to benchmark their performance and school-redesign work. Yet rather than merely present school leaders and teachers with a simple list of recommendations, Global Best Practices in Context was created to equip schools with a self-assessment process they can use to determine where they are in their school-improvement efforts and which direction they may need to head in. The strategies presented in this tool reflect both domestic and international educational research, and efforts have been made to extract proven practices that are common to the world’s highest-performing school systems. Participants in this session will have an opportunity to review this tool and to use it to reflect upon the work in their own schools and inform possible areas of transformation strategies.

Session
TBD
Presenters

Mark Kostin and Barbara Miller, Great Schools Partnership

Presentation
Contact

Designing and Implementing State and Local High Leverage Policy to Transform Secondary Schooling

The New England Secondary School Consortium

The Center for Education Policy Analysis was commissioned to conduct an in-depth examination of “high leverage policies” to inform the New England Secondary School Consortium. The resulting High Leverage Policy Framework draws upon the literature and research conducted in the Consortium states on policy formulation and implementation. The Framework is intended to serve as a tool for policy makers seeking to enact transformative change in schools. During this session, participants will learn how this framework can be used to guide the formulation of policies at the state and local level that can lead to successful school transformation.

Session
TBD
Presenters

Casey Cobb, Center for Education Policy Analysis at the University of Connecticut, David Ruff, Great Schools Partnership, Roy Seitsinger, Rhode Island Department of Education, Anysia Mayer, Center for Education Policy Analysis at the University of Connecticut

Presentation
Contact
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