New England Secondary School Consortium

2012 Conference Archive

NESSC States

Connecticut Sessions

When I Grow Up: Designing High-Impact Postsecondary Planning Programs

Conard High School, West Hartford, Connecticut

To prepare all students for postsecondary success in the 21st century, Conard High School’s college and career readiness program provides personalized, student-centered learning opportunities that incorporate student interests, aspirations, and goals. Presenters will use multimedia to illustrate a wide range of interactive, real-world activities and outside-of-the-box strategies that have helped our school strengthen student transitions and increase postsecondary attainment, including exemplars of community partnerships and how they are utilized to enrich school-based and off-site learning experiences. Participants will also learn how parents, teachers, and district leaders at all levels promote a college-going and career-confident culture; how our school’s systemic accountability, support, and intervention program was implemented for all students while retaining a focus on underrepresented student subgroups; and how research-based models and resources were used to engage students and parents in early and ongoing exposure to college and career experiences that have a direct correlation to academic preparation.

Sessions
Thursday, March 22 | 3:45 pm; Friday, March 23 | 12:45 pm
Presenters

Julio Duarte (assistant principal), Courtney Heuitson (school counselor), Marylou Shand (school counselor), Cindy Vranich (teacher)

Contact

Julio Duarte, julio_duarte@whps.org

One School, Many Students: Creating Multiple Pathways to Success

E.O. Smith High School, Storrs, Connecticut

For schools with increasingly diverse student populations, finding the right educational program that will meet the needs of all learners can be an ongoing challenge. Faced with increasing demands to reduce dropout rates and prepare all students for postsecondary success, E.O. Smith High School is expanding its educational programming options and stretching traditional expectations of what a comprehensive high school can or should be. After becoming a Positive Behavioral Intervention Support school in 2006, our school has been working to create multiple pathways to success for all students. In this presentation, participants will learn about our school’s dynamic programs and gain insight into the thought process that helped our faculty engage students in new ways and address factors that contribute to social and academic failure. Whether you are looking to design a dropout-prevention program, a Big Picture learning environment, an 18-21 program for developmentally disabled students, or in-school interventions, this presentation will provide an overview of our strategies and a road-tested formula for their development, implementation, and evaluation.

Sessions
Thursday, March 22 | 3:45 pm; Friday, March 23 | 10:45 am
Presenters

Lou DeLoreto (principal), Christine Lee (director, STARR program), Brad Martin (director, Depot Campus-Big Picture School), Karen Paruolo (social studies department chair, professional development committee co-chair), Sarah Smith (teacher, professional development committee co-chair)

Presentation
Contact

Lou DeLoreto, ldeloreto@eosmith.org

The Comprehensive High School Redefined: Developing a 21st Century Curriculum in Concert with the Common Core

New Britain High School, New Britain, Connecticut

In July 2010, Connecticut adopted the Common Core State Standards. At that time, the Consolidated School District of New Britain, an urban district of 10,000 students in central Connecticut, decided to embark upon a systemic curriculum-development initiative aligned to the Common Core. At New Britain High School, this ambitious project has not only led to the creation of meaningful, rigorous curricula that will challenge 21st century learners, but it has also reshaped and revitalized our professional teaching culture. Participants will learn how our school found creative ways to schedule time for content-based Instructional Data Team meetings each week (to develop and manage curricula); how to demystify the process of connecting subject-area content to the Common Core; how student work demonstrating mastery of learning standards can be embedded in electronic portfolios; and how organizational strategies, developed by school leaders, can aid the process of curriculum revision as the nation moves toward next-generation assessment systems aligned to the Common Core.

Session
Friday, March 23 | 9:15 am
Presenters

Michael Foran (principal), David Messina (division chairperson, social studies), Sondra Sanford (department chairperson, career technology education), Heather Verdi (division chairperson, social studies)

Presentation
Contact

Heather Verdi, verdih@csdnb.org

Maine Sessions

You Can Get There from Here: Using Data, PLCs, and Teacher Leadership to Drive School Improvement

Deer Isle-Stonington High School, Deer Isle, Maine

In March 2010, Deer Isle-Stonington High School—a small island secondary school—was named one of the state’s ten “persistently low-achieving schools,” despite the fact that bold transformation work was already underway. Over the past two years, a persistent belief in the power of teacher leadership and professional learning communities, coupled with a unwavering focus on data-driven improvement, has helped our school implement an ambitious, comprehensive transformation plan that is beginning to produce measurable results. This presentation will discuss strategies for developing critical data metrics (beyond state test scores), creating effective goals for professional learning communities, and building the capacity of teachers-leaders. Participants will leave with a detailed understanding of our school’s promising model for using data, PLCs, and teacher leadership to drive school improvement.

Sessions
Thursday, March 22 | 3:45 pm; Friday, March 23 | 9:15 am
Presenters

Marion Austin (teacher), Judith Hotchkiss (teacher), Seth Laplant (teacher), Todd West (principal)

Presentation
Contact

Todd West, toddwest@dishs.org

Proficiency for All: Using Standards-Based Reporting, Senior Capstones, and Student-Centered Learning to Achieve Your Goals

Hall-Dale Middle/High School, Farmingdale, Maine

Hall-Dale Middle/High School is working to become a true student-centered learning environment. While its transition to standards-based reporting has been underway for years, the work of integrating authentic, student-centered learning began more recently in earnest. Measurement topics and learning targets for all classes have been developed, and student progress is being tracked through Educate. Students are given both voice and choice in their studies, and the school is working to incorporate more flexible learning pathways. Senior capstones are now a graduation requirement for all students, and an intensive, two-semester course helps students complete a multifaceted project that is driven by their interests and passions. The school’s ultimate goal: a performance-based diploma. Participants will leave with a strong understanding of what student-centered learning environment looks like in practice, the successes and challenges experienced by Hall-Dale, and a strong understanding of the school’s intensive capstone experience.

Session
Friday, March 23 | 10:45 am + 12:45 pm
Presenters

Kendra Guiou (teacher), Steve Lavoie (principal), Jen Sculli (teacher), Nora Segovia-Reed (teacher), Matt Shea (teacher)

Presentation
Contact

Steve Lavoie, slavoie@kidsrsu.org

Getting Off on the Right Foot: Launching Freshmen Success

Westbrook High School, Westbrook, Maine

The Freshman Teaming Program at Westbrook High School is purposefully designed to encourage student aspirations, promote interdisciplinary learning opportunities, and support the implementation of RTI and performance-based assessment. Benefits of the teaming program include measurable academic growth from eighth grade to ninth grade; documented quarterly academic progress resulting from RTI strategies; reduction in ninth-grade core-course failures; and a nearly 100% successful completion rate for rigorous exit performance criteria. During this session, participants will learn about the program, its impact on student learning, and how some of its key features and attributes might be incorporated into their schools.

Session
Friday, March 23 | 9:15 am
Presenters

Tim Eisenhart (teacher), Brian Flynn (ninth-grade team leader, teacher), Jessica White (teacher)

Presentation
Contact

New Hampshire Sessions

The Roadmap to Success: Competencies in the Classroom

Campbell High School, Litchfield, New Hampshire

Eleven years ago, the competency system at Campbell High School was the first to be implemented in the state of New Hampshire. When the competency system was adopted, it helped the school create new learning opportunities and multiple pathways for all learners. Competencies allow for the curriculum to be broken down into distinct parts that more accurately gauge what students know and are able to do upon graduation. And competencies also help students prepare for success in the 21st century by fostering behaviors, attitudes, and higher-order thinking skills that are not only necessary, but expected, in today’s increasing globalized world. During this session, participants will learn what a competency is, how it impacts student learning and achievement, and how clearly defined learning expectations can help teachers better prepare students to excel in every area of life.

Session
Friday, March 23 | 9:15 am
Presenters

Justin Ballou (teacher), Shawn Flynn (mathematics department curriculum facilitator), Linda Frost (science department curriculum facilitator), Robert Manseau (principal), Laurie Rothhaus (assistant principal)

Presentation
Contact

Robert Manseau, rmanseau@litchfieldsd.org

Keeping the “Person” in Personalization

Great Bay eLearning High School, Exeter, New Hampshire

The concept of creating a personalized learning experience for every student is not new, and great teachers have been doing it for centuries. However, research on high-performing schools has revealed strategies and structures that, if purposefully chosen and systemically implemented, can enhance personalization and dramatically improve student engagement, knowledge acquisition, and educational outcomes. Due to its small size (150 students across grades 8-12), Great Bay eLearning Charter School is a supportive, close-knit community—still, we don’t leave individual attention to chance. In this breakout session, presenters will share the many strategies that Great Bay uses to enable and encourage personalization, while also inviting participants to share what they are doing in their schools and classrooms. Participants will leave with broader understanding of personalized education and a variety of concrete practices they can bring back to their schools.

Sessions
Thursday, March 22 | 3:45 pm; Friday, March 23 | 9:15 am
Presenters

Eric Feldborg (dean of students), Lisa Hammond (teacher)

Presentation
Contact

Eric Feldborg, efeldborg@gbecs.org

Own It! Moving from Teacher-Centered Instruction to Student-Centered Learning

Pittsfield Middle High School, Pittsfield, New Hampshire

Q: How does a school create a student-centered learning environment? A: By closing the student-accountability gap and moving away from teacher-centered instruction and toward greater student ownership. Staff from Pittsfield Middle High School will describe how our school used its advisory program to increase student voice and ownership over the educational process, and how common planning time was used to support and align grade-level advisories. Participants will leave with a comprehensive overview of a high-impact advisory program, including how student-led conferences work, how personal learning plans can be set up, and how to make common planning time successful.

Session
Friday, March 23 | 10:45 am + 12:45 pm
Presenters

Jessica Bickford (teacher), Ronda Fernald (teacher), Mary Ann Hatab (library specialist), Shawnda Hopkins (teacher), Jenny Keller (teacher), Susan McTague (teacher), William Mitchell (teacher)

Contact

Rhode Island Sessions

Transformation in Action: Lessons Learned from Central Falls High School

Central Falls High School, Central Falls, Rhode Island

School districts throughout New England are facing a complex challenge: dramatically improving low-performing high schools. Join teachers, students, parents, and administrators from Central Falls High School as they share insights into the challenges and successes of a school that is tackling systemic transformation head on. Participants will learn about the three strategic goals that guide our school’s improvement work and how to create a culture of high achievement that reflects current research, successful practices, and the characteristics of high-performing schools that serve high-need students. This presentation will discuss strategies used to establish standards for excellence in teaching, provide teachers with formal and informal feedback and professional development, address low graduation and high drop-out rates, create personalized support systems for students, and improve school culture by successfully engaging and mobilizing parents and community members.

Session
Friday, March 23 | 10:45 am + 12:45 pm
Presenters

Maria Cristina Betancur (parent), Victor Capellan (deputy superintendent for transformation), Carolyn Ferris (guidance counselor), Marcela Garces (teacher), Joshua Laplante (principal), Elizabeth Ochs (ELO coordinator)

Contact

Victor F. Capellan, capellanv@cfschools.net

Surviving and Remaining Sane…While Implementing RTI

Ponaganset Middle School | Ponaganset High School, North Scituate, Rhode Island

Using the Global Best Practices self-assessment process, with additional support from the New England Secondary School Consortium and the Rhode Island Department of Education, our schools work together to implement a Response to Intervention and Positive Behavioral Interventions and Support system designed to help struggling students and make sure they not only stay in school, but graduate prepared. Our schools learned that implementing successful interventions cannot wait until ninth grade, and that it requires a strong partnership and ongoing collaboration between the middle school and the high school. Participants will learn how to identify potential issues, overcome challenges, and work with teachers and support staff—using only existing resources—to build an intervention system that will accelerate learning and prepare all students for postsecondary learning, work, and adult life.

Session
Thursday, March 22 | 3:45 pm
Presenters

Sandra Nolan (principal, PHS), Patricia Marcotte (principal, PMS)

Presentation
Contact

Sandra Nolan, snolan@fg.k12.ri.us
Patricia Marcotte, pmarcotte@fg.k12.ri.us

Balancing Act: Holding Ourselves Accountable While Helping Everyone Get There

Smithfield High School, Smithfield, Rhode Island

School leaders often struggle to find a successful balance between accountability and capacity building—yet achieving this balance is absolutely critical to improving teaching and learning. Rhode Island was recently awarded the federal Race to the Top grant, which presented our school with both new challenges and new opportunities. Using Race to the Top support, proficiency-based graduation requirements, and the new Common Core State Standards, Smithfield High School established clear student learning outcomes that are aligned with instructional strategies, assessments, and professional development. Participants will learn about Smithfield’s school-wide action plan (“Plan on a Page”), the professional development our school provided to the faculty, and powerful strategies for increasing student achievement in ways that balance both accountability and capacity building.

Session
Friday, March 23 | 9:15 am + 10:45 am
Presenters

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

Presentation
Contact

Daniel Kelley, dkelley@smithfield-ps.org

Vermont Sessions

Making It Meaningful: Performance Assessment in Project-Based Learning

Cabot School, Cabot, Vermont

When students tackle complex learning projects that require them to apply knowledge, solve challenging problems, and connect learning to real-world issues and contexts, performance-based assessments can demonstrate understanding to both evaluators and community audiences. Cabot School has initiated a project-based teaching and learning model in grades 7–12 that allows multiage groups to investigate problems through expert research, Socratic seminars, hands-on discovery, the arts, and community connections. Summative assessment is accomplished through individual or small-group demonstrations of learning—in many cases, community events—that use rubrics provided to students at the beginning of the project. Participants will view still and video footage of several performance assessments in action and learn how Cabot’s teaching teams and students have developed performance assessments that are supported by standards-based essential questions and rigorous learning opportunities.

Session
Friday, March 23 | 9:15 am + 10:45 am
Presenters

Brian Boyes (teacher), Julia Hewitt (teacher), Jennifer Lindert (teacher), Dave Schilling (teacher), Karen Stewart (principal), Peter Stratman (teacher), and Students

Contact

Karen Stewart, kstewart@cabotschool.org

School-Based Academies: Personalizing Learning through Multiple Pathways

Essex High School, Essex, Vermont

As part of its transformation process, Essex High School made a commitment to supporting students, personalizing learning, and developing multiple pathways—all within a comprehensive high school model. One strategy was the creation of “academies” for students interested in either the arts or the fields of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). In 2013, our Academy of Visual and Performing Arts will enter its third year and our STEM Academy will enroll its first students. Working within the existing governance structure, Essex created integrated “schools within a school” to support student interests and aspirations through strategies such as seminars, capstone projects, master-teacher workshops, and career internships—all of which still allow students to maintain a sense of belonging in the larger school community. Essex educators will share their stories, successes, and struggles, and participants will learn about the leverage points we used to advance our work and the barriers our school overcame to develop and sustain our academies.

Session
Thursday, March 22 | 3:45 pm
Presenters

Kim Audette (STEM director), Julian Bradshaw (AVPA director), Amy Cole (curriculum director), Rob Reardon (principal)

Contact

Amy Cole, acole@ccsuvt.org

One Student at a Time: Making Proficiency-Based Graduation Work

South Burlington High School, South Burlington, Vermont

At Big Picture South Burlington, we created a set of proficiency-based graduation requirements that use power standards and performance assessments to personalize instruction and make sure all students acquire the essential knowledge and skills they need to succeed. Today, every student graduates based solely on the competencies they can demonstrate. At our unique “school within a school,” students pursue an individualized curriculum that is built around their interests and aspirations, and that incorporate internships, college-level courses, independent projects, workshops, travel, and service-learning trips. Our proficiency-based graduation requirements ensure that our school provides a coherent educational continuum that maintains consistent learning expectations across the diverse learning experiences and pathways we offer. In this session, participants will not only learn about how we developed our standards and requirements, but they will leave with a roadmap for putting a proficiency-based graduation system into practice in their school.

Session
Friday, March 23 | 10:45 am + 12:45 pm
Presenters

Jason Cushner (program coordinator), Jim Shields (advisor), and Big Picture Students

Presentation
Contact
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