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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!!!


The Brockton High Story:

10 YEARS!!!

Sustaining

a Decade of Continuous Improvement


Brockton, City of Champions

Massachusetts

Boston

Brockton



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

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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

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Countries of the 888 members of the Class of 2014 Haitian, Jamaican, and others

  • 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

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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: these sound familiar???

MCAS 1998

Failure

ELA – 44%

(Sped – 78%)

MATH – 75%

(Sped – 98%)

MCAS 1998

Advanced+Proficient

ELA – 22%

MATH – 7%


Just in case you were thinking MCAS is easy, take a look… these sound familiar???

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


Ela mcas 2013

2013 these sound familiar???

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


Math mcas 2013

2013 these sound familiar???

2013

Math MCAS 2013


Science mcas biology 2013
Science MCAS (Biology) 2013 these sound familiar???


Accountability and the Achievement Gap: these sound familiar???

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… these sound familiar???

Here’s a preview of where we are now…

Then, at the end some WICKED AWESOME stuff!…


Then now
THEN NOW these sound familiar???

MCAS 2013

Advanced+Proficient

ELA – 88%

MATH –70%

MCAS 1998

Advanced+Proficient

ELA – 22 %

MATH – 7 %


Then now1
THEN NOW these sound familiar???

MCAS 1998

Failure

ELA – 44%

MATH – 75%

MCAS 2013

Failure

ELA – 1.8%

MATH – 11%


It’s cool and fun to be smart these sound familiar???

1998

859 STUDENTS

(4400 students)

19%

  • PHOTO

Honor Roll

Statistics

2013

1608 STUDENTS

( (4155 students)

39%

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How Did these sound familiar???BHS go from this to a Model School???


Turnaround at Brockton High these sound familiar???

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!!! these sound familiar???

Boxers in the NEW YORK TIMES

High Expectations NO Excuses!!!

September 28, 2010


Transforming a Culture through Literacy these sound familiar???

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


Brockton and ICLE philosophy these sound familiar???

Rigor

Relevance

Relationships

ALL students-and

ALL means ALL!!!

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

PHOTO


So, what did we do??? these sound familiar???

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!

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PHOTO


Step ONE: Empowering these sound familiar???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 $)

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We looked at the data and our first plan
We looked at the data these sound familiar???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!!!


The “WHAT”: approach:

LITERACY for ALL:

Step TWO: Focused on Literacy for ALL

Reading,Writing,

Speaking,Reasoning


How did we determine our focus? approach:

Literacy Skills Drafted:

32


Engaging the faculty
Engaging the faculty: approach:

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!


So approach: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 approach:Schmoker in Results Now

It’s about teaching, stupid…

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PHOTO

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Step THREE: Implemented with fidelity and a plan approach:

Faculty Meetings became

Literacy Workshops

KEY = Adult Learning

Teachers teaching teachers – GOOD stuff!


Focus focus focus
FOCUS, FOCUS, FOCUS approach:

We started with writing!

Writing is

thinking

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PHOTO


Our First Training: Open Response approach:

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.


So then what… Success by design! answering an open-response item.

First step:Training – ALL faculty

Next step – HOW to bring this into the classroom

  • Lessons developed

  • Implemented according to a calendar


Step THREE: Implemented with fidelity and a plan answering an open-response item.

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:

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 Heads to collect from each teacher at least one student sample from each of the teachers’ classes. The student samples should include: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)

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How do we know the students Heads to collect from each teacher at least one student sample from each of the teachers’ classes. The student samples should include:are learning it?


Monitoring the implementation
Monitoring the implementation Heads to collect from each teacher at least one student sample from each of the teachers’ classes. The student samples should include:

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

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Remember: Heads to collect from each teacher at least one student sample from each of the teachers’ classes. The student samples should include:

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!


From Heads to collect from each teacher at least one student sample from each of the teachers’ classes. The student samples should include:Talent 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.


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

GOOD STUFF!!!

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:

  • 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.


Social Science / 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: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.


Science 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:

Open Response


Algebra 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:

Open Response


Chinese 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:

Open Response


Art 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:

Open Response


Wellness/P.E. 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:

Open Response


There are ALWAYS critics… 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:

The cookie-cutter comment


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!



BUT…. 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


Insert pbs need to know video on penny and sharon

To view the entire Need to Know segment on Brockton High, go to YouTube and search Need to Know Brockton High.

Insert PBS Need to know video on Penny and Sharon


BUY IN???…. to YouTube and search Need to Know Brockton High.

Here’s what gets the buy-in.

RESULTS!!!


Changes in ela results year one of school wide open response
Changes in ELA Results Year One of School Wide Open Response to YouTube and search Need to Know Brockton High.



Changes in ela results year one of school wide open response1

Added a Literacy Workshop on Active Reading Strategies Response:

2002

22

14

Changes in ELA Results Year One of School Wide Open Response

25

13


TEACHER LEADERSHIP Response

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)


Proportions of students scoring in each decile Response

of the MCAS 8th grade ELA distribution


MCAS ELA gains 8 Responseth to 10th grade,

compared to others from the same 8th grade decile

(School rank percentile/100)

Listen to what Dr. Ferguson says about us



- 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


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

Wicked Awesome!

76


2008 more impressive than the big jumps we had early on.


Composite Performance Index (CPI) measures progress towards the goal of narrowing proficiency gaps


If these results don’t convince you… the goal of narrowing proficiency gaps

Just listen to the students… Meet Nephie and Tatiana



Recap the 4 steps in our turnaround
Recap: The 4 Steps in our Turnaround the goal of narrowing proficiency gaps

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


You can get some WICKED AWESOME results! the goal of narrowing proficiency gaps

And when you do those things

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82


AWARDS, AWARDS, AWARDS, AWARDS!!! the goal of narrowing proficiency gaps

Brockton High School

Brockton School DistrictPlymouth County

470 Forest AvenueBrockton, Massachusetts(508)580-7633

2008, 2010,2012, 2013, 2014


JOHN & ABIGAIL ADAMS BHS SCHOLARS 2014 the goal of narrowing proficiency gaps

293 SCHOLARSHIP RECIPIENTS

33% of the class! Most ever!!!

Most in Massachusetts!!!

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Class of 2014 – over 90% went off to college! the goal of narrowing proficiency gaps

College for ALL:

Changing students’ beliefs:

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85


Go boxers1
GO Boxers!!! the goal of narrowing proficiency gaps

Boxers in the NEW YORK TIMES

High Expectations NO Excuses!!!

September 28, 2010


FINAL THOUGHTS: the goal of narrowing proficiency gaps

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


Leadership Lesson the goal of narrowing proficiency gaps#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!!!


Leadership Lesson the goal of narrowing proficiency gaps#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.


Leadership Lesson the goal of narrowing proficiency gaps#3: Implement with a plan

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

  • 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 is what gets #5: NO EXCUSES!!!

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

Changing expectations is FREE!!!

PHOTO


High Expectations is what gets , THEY believe!

Amarr:

“It’s not us against them.”

Terrence:

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

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Here s what we know
Here’s what we know is what gets

Making change takes tenacity, not brilliance!

(If we can do it, ANYONE can!)


FINAL THOUGHT: is what gets

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.”


For more info: is what gets

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!!! is what gets

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

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


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