New England Secondary School Consortium

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Consortium News

Stories from Connecticut, Maine, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont

  • Local Colleges: No Grades? No Problem.

    While some Burlington High School students worry that their school's shift to individualized learning will hurt their access to higher education, representatives from regional colleges say the change will have minimal impact on admissions. “I think it’s a major concern for students and families as they go to incredibly competitive colleges around the country,” said Jocelyn Fletcher Scheuch, the Burlington School District’s proficiency-based learning coordinator. The switch to proficiency or standards-based learning comes as Vermont law (under Act 77) mandates that public schools provide flexible and personalized pathways toward graduation. This school year marks the start of full implementation at the high school. Fletcher Scheuch believes the high school will maintain its reputation among college admissions officers of providing quality education and that the new system will boost confidence in what students have learned and how well they’ve learned it.

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  • Metropolitan Business Academy Tests A Non-Test Idea

    The point of the exercise wasn’t to convince students about the merits or drawbacks of charters. It was to teach the students a useful, lasting skill, apply that skill to a subject relevant to their lives, tell them the expectations in advance, and then evaluate their work in a common, rigorous way. Unlike high-pressure standardized tests, these projects — designed by teachers rather than faceless outsiders — aim to overcome racial and income biases to provide more meaningful measurements of learning.

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    New England’s High School Graduation Rates on the Rise

    New England’s four-year high school graduation rate increased by nearly eight percentage points from 2009 to 2015, according to an annual report from the New England Secondary School Consortium’s Common Data Project, which was publicly released today. This increase in graduation rates represents several thousand additional high school students earning diplomas in Connecticut, Maine, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont than would have graduated if rates remained the same as in the project’s baseline year of 2010. During the same six-year period, all five Consortium states enacted or strengthened education policies that support proficiency-based, student-centered teaching and learning practices. This is the Consortium’s fourth annual public report on Common Data Project findings.

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    Competency-Based Learning in Your Classroom

    The Student Centered Learning Podcast host, Arthur Eduardo Baraf, interviews Courtney Jacobs to discuss the “what” and “why” of Competency-Based Learning, and the “how” of implementation. Courtney is a senior associate at the Great Schools Partnership.→Listen...

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  • Under the Hood of Personalized Learning: A New Hampshire Teacher of the Year Explains

    Since its inception in 2002, Making Community Connections Charter School (MC2) has been committed to personalizing learning. Providing the conditions that enable all individuals to become empowered with the knowledge and skills to use their voices effectively and with integrity in co-creating our public global world, MC2 intentionally focuses on students’ gifts and abilities, leveraging learners’ strengths while providing multiple strategies for addressing challenges.

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  • How Deer Isle-Stonington High School Keeps Kids in School

    Three hours from Portland, Maine, and two hours from the state capital of Augusta, picturesque Deer Isle has two towns on it (Deer Isle and Stonington), a combined year-round population of about 2,500 people, and not a single fast-food chain—or any chain store for that matter. Those who live beyond the narrow, turquoise suspension bridge connecting Deer Isle to the mainland are called PFAs (“people from away”), even if they work or attend school on the island.

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  • Three Key Components of School-Community Engagement

    In Pittsfield, New Hampshire, community members have been involved in articulating our schools’ values, vision, and mission; in developing our long-term plan for school redesign; in redefining our professional roles; in managing our continuous improvement systems; and more. Still, we’re missing the mark in creating spaces for deep and broad engagement for all our families and community members.

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    Harwood Union High School Takes Student Voice to Heart

    On a winding road in rural New England, students are pushing the boundaries of their power to shape the way they learn and how their school runs. Unlike most American high schools, student leadership at Harwood Union High School isn't limited to campaigns for cleaner bathrooms or better cafeteria food. Here, teenagers are deeply involved in shaping the pillars of school life, from the daily class schedule to the styles of teaching and learning that work best for them.

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