Tagged “High School”

Putting Youth Dialogue Front and Center

Barnstable County, Mass.

Barnstable County, Mass., a four-time winner of whole child partner America's Promise Alliance's 100 Best Communities for Young People recognition, has set the stage for youth dialogue in its community.

A variety of innovative partnerships have helped promote this dialogue, thanks to the Barnstable County Council for Children, Youth, and Families. These include

  • The Cape and Islands Youth Congress, a diverse group of high school students who encourage their peers to step up to challenges and be positive agents of change.
  • The Cape Youth Force, which enables youth participants to become involved in the grant-making process.
  • The Cape and Islands Gay-Straight Youth Alliance, a youth-led group that networks with fellow youth organizations across Cape Cod.

Barnstable County is definitely doing its part in promoting the value of youth engagement.

Elements Come Together to Create Positive School Atmosphere

B. F. Terry High School, Rosenberg, Tex.

The elements are coming together at B. F. Terry High School in Rosenberg, Tex., as staff, parents, and students work together to create an environment that promotes effective learning. Although 6 out of 10 students at B. F. Terry live in poverty, gone are the days of poor school culture and marginal engagement in class.

Principal Vera Wehring encourages the practice of strategies from Breaking Ranks I: collaboration; personalization; and curriculum, instruction, and assessment. With attention on professional development and making teachers accessible to students throughout the day, this 2011 Breakthrough School (as awarded by the MetLife Foundation and whole child partner National Association of Secondary School Principals) hosts a positive school culture and truly fosters high achievement.

Priority School Makes Comeback as Breakthrough School

North Brunswick High School, Leland, N.C.

Deemed a "priority school" by the state four years ago, North Brunswick High School in Leland, N.C., has made incredible strides in breaking the cycle of low student performance, culminating in the receipt of a 2011 Breakthrough School Award by the MetLife Foundation and whole child partner National Association of Secondary School Principals.

Principal Sheila Grady has helped promote the expansion of instructional leadership, the creation of professional learning communities, and the use of formative assessments and bridge courses to close the achievement gap at the school. Success has come through the school's inspiring dedication to leadership—more than half of the teachers at the high school serve in leadership roles. In 2010, the school's proficiency rate increased to 85 percent from 48 percent, a true testament to the dedication to student achievement at North Brunswick High School.

Meeting Societal Challenges on a Global Level

Worcester Technical High School, Worcester, Mass.

Preparing students to meet the challenges of a global society is at the core of Worcester (Mass.) Technical High School's mission as it strives for excellence across the 24 different technical programs available to students.

Although 65 percent of the student body is economically disadvantaged and 21 percent is special needs, Worcester Tech has still made adequate yearly progress four years in a row, has decreased the dropout rate, and enrolls increasing numbers of students in honors or advanced placement courses. Principal Sheila Harrity has helped transform the school, through the formation of a strong community, into a positive school atmosphere that truly values student achievement.

It's no wonder that Worcester Technical High School, in addition to being the highest-performing high school in the district, is a recipient of the 2011 Breakthrough School Award from the MetLife Foundation and whole child partner National Association of Secondary School Principals.

High School Overcomes Poverty and Unemployment Issues in Stride

Columbus Unified High School, Columbus, Kans.

"We're here and committed to our school" is the rallying cry at Columbus Unified High School in Columbus, Kans. Because the poverty (45 percent) and unemployment (25 percent) rates are obstacles in the community, Principal Steven Jameson understands how important it is for his students to graduate high school with strong skills in reading, writing, and math.

Because the school is determined to give students a home away from home that provides endless motivation, support, and guidance, seminar teachers become personal adult advocates for each student to ensure that they reach their goals before and after graduation. The MetLife Foundation and whole child partner National Association of Secondary School Principals recognized Columbus Unified High School as a 2011 Breakthrough School.

Underserved Students Realize Dreams of College

Bronx Preparatory Charter School, Bronx, N.Y.

Bronx Preparatory Charter School in New York prepares underserved middle and high school students for higher education, civic involvement, and lifelong success by holding high expectations and providing a caring, structured environment.

The school's 700 students in grades 5–12 spend 50 percent more time in school than their peers in traditional public schools, and school heavily emphasizes math and literacy. Middle school students attend up to two hours each in math and English daily and are introduced to high school-level content in 8th grade. During the 11th and 12th grades, students can take college-level courses.

College is integrated into every aspect at Bronx Prep, with rooms named after colleges and universities and teachers constantly referring to students' future higher education. Consistent science, social studies, physical education, and artistic block scheduling provide a well-rounded education. Middle and high school students spend one hour a day, four days a week participating in classes such as piano, violin, dance, and drama. One hundred percent of the school's first three high school graduating classes were admitted to four-year colleges.

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Fast, Free, Online: The ASCD School Improvement Tool

Designed for use in schools and districts, the free ASCD School Improvement Tool offers educators a comprehensive and completely online needs assessment.