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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?

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Transformed by Literacy

High Standards, High Expectations, NO EXCUSES!!!

Sue Szachowicz

Senior Fellow, ICLE

Principal (retired)

Brockton High

PHOTO

my lesson plan
My Lesson Plan
  • Why am I here? Our Brockton High story
  • WHAT did we do?

FOCUS, FOCUS, FOCUS: LITERACY FOR ALL

The power of whole school literacy

  • Lessons Learned (if we can do this, ANYONE can!!!)
  • Wicked Awesome Results

PHOTO

PHOTO

but please remember
But please remember…

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!!!

slide4

The Brockton High Story:

10 YEARS!!!

Sustaining

a Decade of Continuous Improvement

slide5

Brockton, City of Champions

Massachusetts

Boston

Brockton

slide7

Some info about Brockton High?

PHOTO

  • Comprehensive 9 – 12
  • Enrollment: 4,155
  • Poverty Level: 80.2%
  • Minority population: 78%
  • 39 different languages
  • 39.3% speak another
  • language in the home
  • Approximately 17% LEP
  • Services
  • Approximately 11% receive
  • Special Educ. Services

PHOTO

PHOTO

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60% Black - includes African American, Cape Verdean, Haitian, Jamaican, and others

22% White

12% Hispanic

2% Asian

2% Multirace

2% All Other

Who attends Brockton High?

Cape Verde

Islands

PHOTO

PHOTO

slide9

Countries of the 888 members of the Class of 2014

  • Italy
  • Jamaica
  • Liberia
  • Mexico
  • Russia
  • Somalia

China

Columbia

France

Guinea-Bissau

Guadeloupe

Guyana

United States

Cape Verde

Haiti

Puerto Rico

Dominican

Republic

Nigeria

Portugal

Brazil

Canada

Cameroon

Kenya

Peru

Pakistan

Senegal

El Salvador

Thailand

Barbados

PHOTO

what we faced any of these sound familiar
WHAT we faced… Any of these sound familiar???
  • Mass. implemented a high stakes test (MCAS)
  • Three-quarters of our students would not be earning a diploma
  • Culture of low expectations – “Students have a right to fail” (former BHS Principal)
  • Negative image in our city, in the state (nasty comments!)
  • Yet we were living in DENIAL!!!!
  • Who is responsible???? We had silos (My kids, your kids, not OUR kids)
  • Success by chance – depended on who your teacher was – are you lucky???
mcas arrived and here we were
MCAS arrived, and here we were:

MCAS 1998

Failure

ELA – 44%

(Sped – 78%)

MATH – 75%

(Sped – 98%)

MCAS 1998

Advanced+Proficient

ELA – 22%

MATH – 7%

slide12

Just in case you were thinking MCAS is easy, take a look…

Remember, they MUST pass to graduate – NO EXCEPTIONS!!!

ela mcas 2013

2013

Readings from Previous Years Include:

  • Burial at Thebes from Sophocles’

Antigone

  • Shakespearean Sonnet # 73
  • Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad
  • Love in the Time of Cholera by

Gabriel Garcia Marquez (3 page excerpt)

  • Making Humus by Composting by Liz Ball
  • Proof (4 page play excerpt by David Auburn)
  • The Trial (2 page excerpt by Franz Kafka)

2013

ELA MCAS 2013
slide17

Accountability and the Achievement Gap:

Pressure for accountability in education and closing the achievement gaps among students will continue to increase.

that s where we were
That’s where we were…

Here’s a preview of where we are now…

Then, at the end some WICKED AWESOME stuff!…

then now
THEN NOW

MCAS 2013

Advanced+Proficient

ELA – 88%

MATH –70%

MCAS 1998

Advanced+Proficient

ELA – 22 %

MATH – 7 %

then now1
THEN NOW

MCAS 1998

Failure

ELA – 44%

MATH – 75%

MCAS 2013

Failure

ELA – 1.8%

MATH – 11%

slide21

It’s cool and fun to be smart

1998

859 STUDENTS

(4400 students)

19%

  • PHOTO

Honor Roll

Statistics

2013

1608 STUDENTS

( (4155 students)

39%

PHOTO

PHOTO

PHOTO

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Turnaround at Brockton High

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.

go boxers
GO Boxers!!!

Boxers in the NEW YORK TIMES

High Expectations NO Excuses!!!

September 28, 2010

slide25
Transforming a Culture through Literacy

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!

PHOTO

slide26
Brockton and ICLE philosophy

Rigor

Relevance

Relationships

ALL students-and

ALL means ALL!!!

So, that’s who we are… What did we do?

PHOTO

slide27

So, what did we do???

Our turnaround: 4 Steps

  • Empowered a Team
  • Focused on Literacy – Literacy for ALL, no exceptions- all means all
  • Implemented with fidelity and according to a plan
  • Monitored like crazy!

PHOTO

PHOTO

slide28

Step ONE: Empowering a Leadership Team

Restructuring Committee – our “think tank”

  • Every department represented with a mix of teachers and administrators
  • Balance of new teachers and veterans, new voices, and voices of experience
  • Challenge for Change

funding (NOT grant $)

PHOTO

we looked at the data and our first plan
We looked at the data And, our first plan:

Let’s figure out the test

The result of that:

The Great Shakespearean Fiasco

after our shakespearean fiasco a better approach
After our Shakespearean fiasco, a better approach:
  • Asked “What do our students need to be able to do to be successful on the MCAS, in their classes, and beyond BHS? (Read challenging passages, difficult nonfiction, write – a LOT, solve multistep problems, explain their thinking… etc.)
  • Examined our data: what did we need to focus on, what skills did we need to target for ALL
  • LITERACY – First, defined it, then trained ourselves how to teach these literacy skills to our students. It HAD to be about LITERACY!!!
slide31
The “WHAT”:

LITERACY for ALL:

Step TWO: Focused on Literacy for ALL

Reading,Writing,

Speaking,Reasoning

slide32

How did we determine our focus?

Literacy Skills Drafted:

32

engaging the faculty
Engaging the faculty:

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!

slide35

So now what…

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.

says mike schmoker in results now
Says Mike Schmoker in Results Now

It’s about teaching, stupid…

PHOTO

PHOTO

PHOTO

slide37

Step THREE: Implemented with fidelity and a plan

Faculty Meetings became

Literacy Workshops

KEY = Adult Learning

Teachers teaching teachers – GOOD stuff!

focus focus focus
FOCUS, FOCUS, FOCUS

We started with writing!

Writing is

thinking

PHOTO

PHOTO

slide40

Our First Training: Open Response

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.

slide41

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.

slide42

So then what… Success by design!

First step:Training – ALL faculty

Next step – HOW to bring this into the classroom

  • Lessons developed
  • Implemented according to a calendar
slide43

Step THREE: Implemented with fidelity and a plan

We didn’t leave it to chance. (Success by design, not by chance!)

The implementation was according to a specific timeline…

slide44

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:

Student Name

Teacher Name

Date

Course Name and Level

Period

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

step four monitored like crazy
Step FOUR: Monitored like crazy!!!

What gets monitored is what gets done!

  • Monitoring the work of the students (rubrics and collection and review of the work)
  • Monitoring the implementation by the faculty (walkthroughs, evals)

PHOTO

monitoring the implementation
Monitoring the implementation

What gets monitored is what gets done!

  • Implementation set by calendar
  • Admin team present in classrooms observing the literacy lesson
  • Follow up walkthroughs
  • Frequent feedback provided

PHOTO

PHOTO

slide48

Remember:

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!

slide49

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.

slide50

So what does this look like in the different subject areas???

GOOD STUFF!!!

Third Key Trend

slide51

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:

  • What were some of experiences in her life that influenced her writing?
  • What do the two poems have in common?
  • How are the two poems different?
  • Please use one quote from the poems or biography in each paragraph.
slide54

Social Science /History

Open Response

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.

slide55

Science

Open Response

slide56

Algebra

Open Response

slide57

Chinese

Open Response

slide58

Art

Open Response

slide59

Wellness/P.E.

Open Response

slide60

There are ALWAYS critics…

The cookie-cutter comment

slide61

How did we incorporate these Literacy Skills in every discipline?

Even in our discipline policies and procedures we incorporate our Literacy Initiative… remember, WRITING IS THINKING!

slide63

BUT….

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

slide65

BUY IN???….

Here’s what gets the buy-in.

RESULTS!!!

slide70

TEACHER LEADERSHIP

Some Schools Stand Out

Comparisons of

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)

slide71

Proportions of students scoring in each decile

of the MCAS 8th grade ELA distribution

slide72

MCAS ELA gains 8th to 10th grade,

compared to others from the same 8th grade decile

(School rank percentile/100)

Listen to what Dr. Ferguson says about us

slide74

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.”

pedro noguera

“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
slide76
Our improvement over the past five years is perhaps even more impressive than the big jumps we had early on.

Wicked Awesome!

76

slide79

If these results don’t convince you…

Just listen to the students… Meet Nephie and Tatiana

recap the 4 steps in our turnaround
Recap: The 4 Steps in our Turnaround

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

slide82
You can get some WICKED AWESOME results!

And when you do those things

PHOTO

82

slide83

AWARDS, AWARDS, AWARDS, AWARDS!!!

Brockton High School

Brockton School DistrictPlymouth County

470 Forest AvenueBrockton, Massachusetts(508)580-7633

2008, 2010,2012, 2013, 2014

slide84

JOHN & ABIGAIL ADAMS BHS SCHOLARS 2014

293 SCHOLARSHIP RECIPIENTS

33% of the class! Most ever!!!

Most in Massachusetts!!!

PHOTO

slide85
Class of 2014 – over 90% went off to college!

College for ALL:

Changing students’ beliefs:

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PHOTO

PHOTO

85

go boxers1
GO Boxers!!!

Boxers in the NEW YORK TIMES

High Expectations NO Excuses!!!

September 28, 2010

slide87

FINAL THOUGHTS:

Advice… for whatever it’s worth. This is totally NOT research based. It’s the “walk a mile in my shoes” advice…

slide88

Leadership Lesson #1: FOCUS FOCUSFOCUS

Make Literacy your target.

Literacy for ALL, no exceptions.

Resist the “next new thing” – LITERACY, LITERACY, LITERACY

You are on the right track!!!

slide89

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.

slide90

Leadership Lesson #3: Implement with a plan

Implement with a plan. Success by design, not by chance.

ALL students deserve the best!

slide91

Leadership Lesson #4: What gets monitored is what gets done

  • Leave nothing to chance.
  • Direct observation of the implementation.
  • Be visible, even coteach
  • Follow up with collection and review of student work.
leadership lesson 5 no excuses
Leadership Lesson #5: NO EXCUSES!!!

No excuses…life isn’t fair. Use the challenges to your advantage.

Changing expectations is FREE!!!

PHOTO

slide93

High Expectations, THEY believe!

Amarr:

“It’s not us against them.”

Terrence:

“No one here would let me fail. I know, because I tried to.”

PHOTO

PHOTO

here s what we know
Here’s what we know

Making change takes tenacity, not brilliance!

(If we can do it, ANYONE can!)

slide95

FINAL THOUGHT:

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.”

slide96

For more info:

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

thank you
Thank You!!!

Sue Szachowicz, Senior Fellow ICLE, Brockton High Principal (retired)

If we can do this, so can you!!!

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