New England Secondary School Consortium

2011 Conference Archive

NESSC States

Connecticut Sessions

Make a Connection!

East Hartford High School, East Hartford, Connecticut

Connections—East Hartford High School’s comprehensive advisory program—engages students in activities and small-group discussions that strengthen interpersonal skills, encourage self-evaluation and goal setting, foster meaningful relationships between students and staff, promote academic achievement and social well-being, and develop positive connections between students and their community. Workshop participants will experience selected advisory activities and leave with a strong understanding of Connections and the strategies they need to build a successful advisory program in their school.

Session
TBD
Presenters

Cathy Barry (school counselor), Sarah Barry (teacher), Daniel Pichette (teacher), Michelle Marion (assistant principal), Christopher Sparks (teacher)

Presentation
Contact

Michelle Marion, marion.mt@easthartford.org

Great Expectations: The Senior Capstone Experience

Edwin O. Smith High School, Storrs, Connecticut

The senior project at Edwin O. Smith High School has been a cornerstone of our school culture for more than two decades. In addition to teaching traditional academic knowledge, the capstone experience engages students in personal inquiry, public presentations, and community service. Participants will leave with a deep understanding of the senior-project experience, its principal components, and the organizational structure that makes it work. We will also discuss the program’s evolution, including the skills that students are required to master, the cooperation that makes it happen, the enthusiasm it excites in the students, the contributions (and frustrations) of the faculty, and the community support that ultimately makes our senior projects a success.

Session
TBD
Presenters

Marilyn Archibald (senior project coordinator), Lou DeLoreto (principal), Deborah Veronneau (senior project coordinator)

Presentation
Contact

Lou DeLoreto, ldeloreto@eosmith.org

Planning for Success: Technology-Driven Personal Learning Plans

Simsbury High School, Simsbury, Connecticut

Helping students make the best choices and see their education in terms of a lifelong plan can be challenge for school counselors and educators. To make the job a little easier, Simsbury High School developed an online platform that helps students and parents visualize the entire arc of the developmental guidance program, while storing the critical artifacts—surveys, interest inventories, the student’s resume—that make up an effective personal learning plan. Presenters will give a demonstration of the online system, describe a postsecondary-planning process that can engage both students and parents, and share the development of “Student Learning Clusters,” which help our students select the right courses, extracurricular activities, and community connections. Participants will leave with a working model of a personal learning plan and the insights they need to develop a customized program for their school.

Session
TBD
Presenters

Tor Fiske (director of guidance), Neil Sullivan (principal)

Presentation
Contact

Maine Sessions

An Expedition in Rigor, Relevance, and Relationships

Casco Bay High School for Expeditionary Learning, Portland, Maine

How can school culture, program design, and common instructional practices be used to make rigor, relevance, and meaningful relationships a daily reality for every student? Faculty from Casco Bay High School will share the successes, struggles, and lessons we experienced since our school was founded six years ago. Participants will learn the key components of “learning expeditions”—the foundation of our curriculum. Expeditions are long-term, in-depth interdisciplinary studies that build fundamental academic proficiency, address authentic learning needs, equip students for success in adult life, and culminate in a project, product, or performance that can redefine what students believe they are capable of achieving. Session participants will also leave with several practical strategies for enhancing rigor, relevance, and relationships in their school.

Session
TBD
Presenters

Leslie Appelbaum (teacher, founding teaching strategist), Derek Pierce (principal), Scott Shibles (wellness teacher, dean of student life)

Presentation
Contact
Materials

Next Generation Learning…Now!

Gray-New Gloucester High School, Gray, Maine

In 2010, Gray–New Gloucester High School was selected to be a pilot site for the Partnership for Next Generation Learning, a national initiative created by the Council of Chief State School Officers and the Stupski Foundation. As an NxGL Innovation Lab, our school is working to make innovative student-centered learning a daily reality for every student. After developing a bold new district vision, we began the transformation from a reference-based to a standards-based education system, which required robust literacy strategies in all content areas, new course syllabi and assessments, and a comprehensive management system that allows us to track the attainment of standards across courses, subjects, grade levels, and learning pathways. While our school is still in the early stages of its work, we are already seeing strong indicators of success. Participants will learn about our change process from conception to implementation, and leave with a variety of concrete, nuts-and-bolts strategies for maintaining high standards in a student-centered learning environment.

Session
TBD
Presenters

Ben Braasch (teacher), David Coleman (teacher), Erin Maguire (teacher), Linda Morehouse (teacher), Paul Penna (principal)

Presentation
Contact

Paul Penna, papenna@msad15.org

When Two Schools Collide: Integrating Traditional Academics and CTE

Mt. Blue High School and Foster Technology Center, Farmington, Maine

In 2008, a building-improvement plan was approved for Mt. Blue High School and Foster Technology Center, which provides career and technical education to five surrounding high schools. The two schools are currently working together to create a new blended campus that will integrate the instructional practices, organizational designs, and leadership structure of two formerly distinct programs. A Futures Team was formed that brought together stakeholders, analyzed best practices from across the country, and proposed a bold new vision for the schools: program integration, greater collaboration, and flexible learning pathways for all students. The $64 million question that still remains is “How do we make this work?” Participants will learn about our trials and tribulations as we work to balance high school and CTE requirements, manage budget constraints, and blend distinct faculties into a coherent campus that serves every student well.

Session
TBD
Presenters

Sam Dunbar (MBHS teacher), Charlie Fontaine (FTC teacher), Glenn Kapiloff (FTC director), Monique Poulin (MBHS principal)

Presentation
Contact

Monique Poulin, mpoulin@mbrsd.org
Glenn Kapiloff, gkapiloff@mbrsd.org

New Hampshire Sessions

Caring and Common Sense: Personalizing Culture to Enhance Student Learning

Goffstown High School, Goffstown, New Hampshire

Over the past decade, Goffstown High School learned that the value of healthy relationships simply cannot be underestimated. From our mission statement to the daily interactions that take place in our hallways and classrooms, our values—care, reflection, encouragement, and an unwavering focus on learning—shape our community dialogue at every level. In this session, participants will examine the leadership principles, institutional practices, and faculty and student dispositions that promote a positive culture and improve achievement. We will share examples of strategies that helped us establish a clear organizational identity, keep people focused on the bigger picture, and communicate effectively and openly, while always acknowledging and honoring the individual. Participants will leave with leadership and instructional models that can dramatically transform the culture—and performance—of their learning community.

Session
TBD
Presenters

Martha Benton (guidance coordinator), Kevin Farley (curriculum coordinator), Frank McBride (principal), Kim McCann (assistant principal)

Contact

Opening Doors: Using Competencies to Create New Learning Opportunities

Timberlane High School, Plaistow, New Hampshire

The past five years have been a time of profound transformation at Timberlane Regional High School. In 2007, the Department of Education mandated that high schools award academic credit based on the achievement of course competencies, not seat time. To meet these new expectations, our teachers redesigned the curriculum, adopted new instructional techniques, and integrated authentic performance assessments into virtually all courses. Participants will learn how our school’s move to a competency-based system empowered us to offer more flexible graduation pathways for students. These changes have also allowed us to expand our Evening Division Program, which students of all abilities attend. For example, accelerated students might attend the program to satisfy required courses and free up time for electives during the day, while other students can make up courses or work toward the GED option. Regardless of which pathway a student selects, graduation from Timberlane requires the same comprehensive demonstration of knowledge.

Session
TBD
Presenters

Robert Dawson (assistant principal), Peter Fisher (teacher), Scott Strainge (director of secondary education), Don Woodworth (principals), Timberlane students from the Evening Division Program

Presentation
Contact

Donald Woodworth, donald-woodworth@timberlane.net

Breaking Down the Barriers of Time and Place: Authentic Virtual Learning

Virtual Learning Academy Charter School, Exeter, New Hampshire

The Virtual Learning Academy Charter School—a virtual high school based in New Hampshire—offers more than eighty courses, including dual-credit and college-credit courses, to students across New Hampshire and New England. Our school’s anytime-anywhere learning environment provides flexible, authentic, personalized instruction that includes consistent one-to-one interactions our school’s 110 teachers who work from eight different states. Approximately two-thirds our 8,600 course enrollments come from traditional public schools, and VLACS recently implemented competency-based course requirements, which are state mandated in New Hampshire. Participants will leave this session with an understanding of how our virtual-learning model works and how they can partner with VLACS to support their students, multiply their learning pathways, and promote student-centered school transformation.

Session
TBD
Presenters

Kyle Cote (director of student services and guidance) Steve Kossakoski (chief executive officer), Ollire Lane-Wortley (director of academic support and professional development)

Presentation
Contact

Steve Kossakoski, skossakoski@vlacs.org

Rhode Island Sessions

Extended Learning for Every Student

Mt. Hope High School, Bristol, Rhode Island

In 2006, Mt. Hope’s School Improvement Team was charged with building a comprehensive support system for all students that would not only improve academic achievement, but also increase our graduation and college-going rates. Presenters will share the data-driven action-research and decision-making model that the team used to develop personalized interventions and support strategies for students. Mt. Hope’s Extended Day, Youth Experiencing Success, PLUS, and BOOST programs will be described, and participants will leave with practical, effective strategies for increasing student retention, performance, and aspirations.

Session
TBD
Presenters

Jaime Crowley (assistant principal), Tim Gardiner (BOOST assistant coordinator), Guy Murgo (assistant principal), Libby Pagano (BOOST assistant coordinator), Colleen Powers (YES coordinator), Don Rebello (principal)

Presentation
Contact

Don Rebello, RebelloD@bw.k12.ri.us

Our Global Best Practices: How We Personalized High Standards

Shea High School, Pawtucket, RI

In this interactive workshop, participants will create an individual learning plan, perform a course audit, and select a learning pathway—from a student’s point of view! Personalization is the main theme of this presentation, and participants will learn how Shea High School uses strategies such as digital ILPs, standards-based report cards, and school-wide rubrics to connect universally high academic expectations to student interests and learning needs, and to improve instructional quality across courses, content areas, and grade levels. Participants will also learn how our school used Global Best Practices, the Consortium’s self-assessment tool, to develop a comprehensive school-improvement plan.

Session
TBD
Presenters

Monique Jacob (director of teaching and learning for secondary education in Pawtucket), Roberta King (guidance chair), Chris Lord (principal), Grace Malkasian (science chair), Melitzi Torres (12th-grade student)

Presentation
Contact

Chris Lord, lordc@psdri.net

Transformational Leadership: Our Journey Toward Excellence

Smithfield High School, Smithfield, Rhode Island

Five years ago, a new administrative team took over at Smithfield High School, which presented new challenges and new opportunities. Using accreditation standards and Rhode Island’s regulations as a starting point, the team set out to strengthen faculty collaboration and use student-performance data to drive a systemic school-improvement process. In a few short years, discipline referrals dropped, student achievement went up, and faculty collaboration and morale improved dramatically. Although refinements are still being made and the model is not yet perfected, the faculty, staff, students, and parents are coming together to help lead our school’s transformation. Participants will learn about Smithfield’s collaborative reform process, including how the school used performance data and the Consortium’s Global Best Practices tool to structure our journey toward excellence.

Session
TBD
Presenters

Daniel Kelley (principal), Renee Palazzo (assistant principal), Alan Tenreiro (assistant principal)

Presentation
Contact

Daniel Kelley, dkelley@smithfield-ps.org

Vermont Sessions

Many Voices, One Mission: Democratizing School Transformation

Harwood Union High School, South Duxbury, Vermont

Democratization has become the engine of transformation at Harwood Union High School. Inclusivity, openness, shared leadership, student voice—these are our foundational values. A team of students and faculty will showcase our collaborative decision-making model—the H-1 Change Process—and several innovations that have fostered a more democratic school culture: student-run assemblies, the H-term (a two-week block of instructional time devoted to student voice and choice), a Big Picture Learning school-within-a-school model, local food-service partnerships, the Youth and Adults Transforming Schools Together Team (which uses action research to guide transformation), and our performance-based graduation portfolio that ensures our school is fulfilling its mission. Participants will leave with the insights and strategies they need to enhance democratic learning in their school.

Session
TBD
Presenters

Helen Beattie (YATST director), Ellen Berrings (employment specialist), Jean Berthiaume (teacher), Kathy Cadwell (teacher), Anna Church (student), Addie Dettor (student), Marcus Grace (teacher), Susan Hennessey (media specialist/librarian), Paul Morris (chef), Yuka Oiwa (student), Duane Pierson (principal), Zak Williams (student)

Contact

Duane Pierson, piersond@harwood.org

Embracing the Big Picture: Real-World Learning for Every Student

Rochester High School, Rochester, Vermont | South Burlington High School, South Burlington, Vermont

For the past two years, Big Picture South Burlington has provided a rigorous, relevant, and flexible high school education to its thirty students. In South Burlington High School’s school-within-a-school, students design their own curriculum and engage in real-world learning experiences every week. After two years of research, Rochester High School, a rural small school located in central Vermont, launched Central Vermont Big Picture Academy last fall with fourteen students in one advisory in grades 9–12. In this joint presentation, students and staff from both schools will share the triumphs and struggles entailed in starting up a new school, and participants will leave with strategies for building effective small learning communities.

Session
TBD
Presenters

Sarah Bertucci (internship coordinator), Brian Greenfield (advisor), Kerith Lewis (advisor), Jim Shields (advisor), Andy West (curriculum director), students from BPSB and CVBPA

Contact

Andy West, awest@wnwsu.org
Sarah Bertucci, sarah@bigpicturesb.net

Tearing Down Walls, Building a Brighter Future

Vergennes Union High School, Vergennes, Vermont

In 2006, Vergennes Union High School received one of the few transformation grants given by the state of Vermont. Over the past five years, our school has taken a systemic approach to school improvement that includes (1) a positive Behavioral Supports System with learning-pathway options, daily intervention time, and a strong morning meeting model linked to grade-level Educational Support Teams; (2) multiple opportunities for teachers to self-identify as leaders, determine school-wide professional development, and establish and lead study groups and support teams; and (3) a school-wide effort to work toward performance-based graduation requirements that will ensure high academic expectations across courses and learning pathways. Presenters will share a brief history of our integrated system, including obstacles, confusions, and resolutions encountered along the way. Participants will also learn about our shared leadership model and how we are transforming our learning culture.

Session
TBD
Presenters

Beth Adreon (teacher), Nancy Ambrose (teacher), Matt DeBlois (teacher), Kristine Kirkaldy (teacher), Sarah Thompson (teacher), Ed Webbley (co-principal)

Contact

Kristine Kirkaldy, kkirkaldy@anwsu.org

Return to top