Transformed by Literacy High Standards, High Expectations, NO EXCUSES!!!. Sue Szachowicz Senior Fellow, ICLE Principal (retired) Brockton High. PHOTO. My Lesson Plan. Why am I here? Our Brockton High story WHAT did we do?
High Standards, High Expectations, NO EXCUSES!!!
Senior Fellow, ICLE
FOCUS, FOCUS, FOCUS: LITERACY FOR ALL
The power of whole school literacy
Ours is a story of every school, every teacher, every student.
This IS NOT just about high school, NOT about urban, NOT about size of school.
This IS NOT about any individual, any principal, any teacher… it is about us ALL.
This IS about change.
This IS about being the best you can be.
If we can do this, anyone can!!!
a Decade of Continuous Improvement
School of Champions
2% All Other
Who attends Brockton High?
ELA – 44%
(Sped – 78%)
MATH – 75%
(Sped – 98%)
ELA – 22%
MATH – 7%
Remember, they MUST pass to graduate – NO EXCEPTIONS!!!
Readings from Previous Years Include:
Gabriel Garcia Marquez (3 page excerpt)
2013ELA MCAS 2013
Pressure for accountability in education and closing the achievement gaps among students will continue to increase.
Here’s a preview of where we are now…
Then, at the end some WICKED AWESOME stuff!…
ELA – 88%
ELA – 22 %
MATH – 7 %
ELA – 44%
MATH – 75%
ELA – 1.8%
MATH – 11%
( (4155 students)
Emphasis on literacy brings big MCAS improvement
Principal Susan Szachowicz, shown chatting at lunch with Yiriam Lopez,
is in many ways the school’s biggest cheerleader. (Essdras M Suarez/ Globe Staff)
By James Vaznis Globe Staff / October 12, 2009
BROCKTON - Brockton High School has every excuse for failure, serving a city plagued by crime, poverty, housing foreclosures, and homelessness.
Almost two-thirds of the students qualify for free or reduced-price lunches, and 14 percent are learning to speak English. More than two-thirds are African-American or Latino - groups that have lagged behind their peers across the state on standardized tests.
But Brockton High, by far the state’s largest public high school with 4,200 students, has found a success in recent years that has eluded many of the state’s urban schools: MCAS scores are soaring, earning the school state recognition as a symbol of urban hope.
A.K.A. - It’s COOL to be smart at Brockton High!!!
As we say in Boxer Country,
we are WICKED AWESOME!!!
Our Turn Around Story… We did it our way!
ALL means ALL!!!
So, that’s who we are… What did we do?
Our turnaround: 4 Steps
Restructuring Committee – our “think tank”
funding (NOT grant $)
Let’s figure out the test
The result of that:
The Great Shakespearean Fiasco
LITERACY for ALL:
Step TWO: Focused on Literacy for ALL
Literacy Skills Drafted:
After each discussion, back to Restructuring for revisions.
This process went back and forth to the faculty four or five times that year.
Review, discuss, revise, repeat!
We had cool looking charts on the walls… SO WHAT…
The KEY to our implementation is HOW we trained teachers to teach these Literacy skills to our students.
It’s about teaching, stupid…
Faculty Meetings became
KEY = Adult Learning
Teachers teaching teachers – GOOD stuff!
We started with writing!
OPEN RESPONSE STEPS TO FOLLOW
1. READ QUESTION CAREFULLY.
2. CIRCLE OR UNDERLINE KEY WORDS.
3. RESTATE QUESTION AS THESIS (LEAVE BLANKS)
4. READ PASSAGE CAREFULLY.
5. TAKE NOTES THAT RESPOND TO THE QUESTION.
BRAINSTORM & MAP OUT YOUR ANSWER.
6. COMPLETE YOUR THESIS.
7. WRITE YOUR RESPONSE CAREFULLY,USING YOUR MAP AS A GUIDE.
8. STATEGICALLY REPEAT KEY WORDS FROM THESIS IN YOUR BODY AND IN YOUR END SENTENCE.
9. PARAGRAPH YOUR RESPONSE.
10. REREAD AND EDIT YOUR RESPONSE.
Now I will model the ten steps students will use when answering an open-response item. The following chart includes the training steps that the facilitator will use and an explanation of the work to be done by the participants.
Let’s go through the ten steps using The Book of Ruth as our sample text.
Here’s an example of explaining a step:
5: Take notes that respond to the question. Brainstorm and map out your answer. Remind students that they should be doing ACTIVE reading. They should use strategies to develop their answer, such as taking notes, circling and underlining key words, and using brackets. Follow reading strategies developed in the workshops.
First step:Training – ALL faculty
Next step – HOW to bring this into the classroom
We didn’t leave it to chance. (Success by design, not by chance!)
The implementation was according to a specific timeline…
As a follow up to this activity, I am requiring Department Heads to collect from each teacher at least one student sample from each of the teachers’ classes. The student samples should include:
Course Name and Level
A copy of the reading selection and question
Evidence of the student’s active reading
All pre-writing work that the student has done, e.g. webs
A copy of the written open response
The new scoring rubric and completed assessment
After you have collected the samples from each teacher and have had the opportunity to review them for quality and completeness, please send them to me in a department folder with a checklist of your teachers. Again, please be sure that your teachers clearly label their student samples.
The Open Response calendar of implementation is as follows:
Nov 2-6: Social Science, Social SciBiling.
Nov 30-Dec 4: Wellness, JROTC
Dec 14-18: Science, Science Bilingual
Jan 11-15: Business, Tech, & Career Ed.
Jan 25-29: Math, Math Bilingual
Feb 22-26: Foreign Lang, Special Ed
Mar. 7-11: English, ESL, Guidance
Mar 20-24 Family &Cons. Sci, ProjGrads
Apr 5-9: Music, Art
What gets monitored is what gets done!
What gets monitored is what gets done!
It’s about the adults, not the kids!
We taught ourselves to teach these literacy skills to the students.
And we will ALL do it THIS WAY!
FromTalent is Overrated by Geoff ColvinThe factor that seems to explain the most about great performance is something the researchers call deliberate practice… Deliberate practice is hard. It hurts. But it works. More of it equals better performance. Tons of it equals great performance.
Third Key Trend
Emily Dickinson is a poet who often wrote about her own emotional struggles. In two poems “Heart, We Will Forget Him” and “Knows How to Forget” she writes about how difficult it is to forget. Please read the two poems and the brief biography and answer the following three questions:
Explain how the article and the spiritual show John Brown’s commitment to the welfare of black people. Support your answer with relevant and specific information from the article and the spiritual.
The cookie-cutter comment
Even in our discipline policies and procedures we incorporate our Literacy Initiative… remember, WRITING IS THINKING!
Our Classroom Incident form requires students to write when they come into the office
Don’t think for a moment that everyone was happy…
BUT, if we waited for buy-in, we’d still be waiting.
SO, what did we do?? Meet Sharon and Penny
Here’s what gets the buy-in.
Some Schools Stand Out
Complacent HS and Brockton HS
Ronald F. Ferguson, PhD
Tripod Project for School Improvement (www.tripodproject.org) and
Achievement Gap Initiative at Harvard University (www.agi.harvard.edu)
of the MCAS 8th grade ELA distribution
compared to others from the same 8th grade decile
(School rank percentile/100)
Listen to what Dr. Ferguson says about us
The Achievement Gap Initiative At Harvard UniversityToward Excellence with EquityConference Report by Ronald F. Ferguson, Faculty Director
- Prof. Ron Ferguson, AGI Conference Report
“The main lesson was that student achievement rose when leadership teams focused thoughtfully and relentlessly on improving the quality of instruction.”
“Brockton High demonstrates that you don’t have to change the student population to get results, you have to change the conditions under which they learn.”Pedro Noguera
Composite Performance Index (CPI) measures progress towards the goal of narrowing proficiency gaps
Just listen to the students… Meet Nephie and Tatiana
1. Empowering a team
2. Focusing on literacy:
Literacy for ALL – NO exceptions
3. Implementing with fidelity and according to a plan
4. Monitoring, monitoring, monitoring
The Result = Changing the Culture
And when you do those things
Brockton High School
Brockton School DistrictPlymouth County
470 Forest AvenueBrockton, Massachusetts(508)580-7633
2008, 2010,2012, 2013, 2014
293 SCHOLARSHIP RECIPIENTS
33% of the class! Most ever!!!
Most in Massachusetts!!!
College for ALL:
Changing students’ beliefs:
Advice… for whatever it’s worth. This is totally NOT research based. It’s the “walk a mile in my shoes” advice…
Make Literacy your target.
Literacy for ALL, no exceptions.
Resist the “next new thing” – LITERACY, LITERACY, LITERACY
You are on the right track!!!
Leadership Lesson #2: It’s ALL about instruction!!! (the adults)
You want to improve your school? It’s about instruction!!!
The key to our success had nothing to do with the kids. It was about adult learning.
Implement with a plan. Success by design, not by chance.
ALL students deserve the best!
Leadership Lesson #4: What gets monitored is what gets done
No excuses…life isn’t fair. Use the challenges to your advantage.
Changing expectations is FREE!!!
“It’s not us against them.”
“No one here would let me fail. I know, because I tried to.”
Making change takes tenacity, not brilliance!
(If we can do it, ANYONE can!)
If we can do this, anyone can! In 1999 we were called a “Cesspool” in our local media. Now we are called the “Jewel of the City.”
Check out more on the Brockton Story and many of our scripts in our new book!!!
Proceeds go to Brockton High
Available at www.leadered.com
Sue Szachowicz, Senior Fellow ICLE, Brockton High Principal (retired)
If we can do this, so can you!!!