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Rigor, Relevance and Relationships. Hawaii Department of Education Honolulu, HI January 22-23, 2007. Dr. Mimi Dyer. Academy of Math, Science & Technology. Cobb County Schools. Just north of Atlanta, GA 2 nd largest school district in state

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rigor relevance and relationships

Rigor, Relevance and Relationships

Hawaii Department of Education

Honolulu, HI

January 22-23, 2007

dr mimi dyer

Dr. Mimi Dyer

Academy of Math, Science & Technology

cobb county schools
Cobb County Schools
  • Just north of Atlanta, GA
  • 2nd largest school district in state
  • 30th largest in nation
  • 106,000 students (+2,500/yr)
  • 16 high schools
  • 23 middle schools
  • 68 elementary schools
kmhs profile
KMHS Profile
  • Opened in 2000 with 1250 students
  • 2006-7 population – 3,100
  • 319,000 sq. ft. instructional space on 79 acres
  • 118 core and 165 elective courses on 4x4 block schedule
  • 23 AP courses – 340 students/505 tests
extracurricular activities
Extracurricular Activities
  • 90% of students involved
  • 22 athletic teams
  • Drama – 225 students
  • Marching Band – 340 students
  • 51 clubs
    • Robotics International
    • Recreation Yugiyo
    • Philosophy Equestrian
    • Men of Distinction
21 st century skills
21st Century Skills
  • Communication and Information skills
  • Thinking and Problem Solving skills
  • Interpersonal and Self-Directional skills
  • Collaboration skills





Building a Learning Community

“…where collective aspiration is set free and where people are continually learning how to learn together.”

Peter Senge



Students: Empowerment and service learning

Teachers: Rigorous and relevant curriculum

Community: Engagement

andrew j carter
Andrew J. Carter
  • Average kid in middle school
  • Outside looking in at robotics
  • Tried out for lacrosse
  • Loving technical theater this year
  • Now taking one honors class, hoping to go on to AP

“A. J.”

student empowerment
Student Empowerment

How can we show responsibility

if no one gives us a chance to be responsible?

service learning
Service Learning
  • Mustangs with a Heart
  • Shop with a Mustang
  • Relay for Life
  • R.I.S.E. and M.I.S.E.
  • Kennesaw Youth Council
  • Care-o-Therapy
  • Tutoring
  • Class of 2006 logged over 10,000 hours



Character Education



“The function of education is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically. . . Intelligence plus character – that is the goal of true education.”

~Martin Luther King, Jr.

once a month special activity
Once a Month Special Activity
  • 110 community leaders teach lessons
  • 99 KMHS seniors teach freshman classes
  • 66 KMHS seniors teach elementary and middle feeder school classes
  • Bullard Elementary students followed their leaders
lessons learned
Lessons Learned

Successful schools do not

sidestep the issue of character

education; rather, they embrace it.

They acknowledge that their

success is due, in large measure,

to their attention to guiding

principles, through which they create a

supportive learning environment.



Rigorous and Relevant Instruction

tomorrow s classroom
Student focused

Engaging project-based activities

Integrated curriculum

Multiple resources

Problem solving

Interaction with experts

Performance-based assessment

Virtual Labs

Writing workshops

Primary resources

Tomorrow’s Classroom


changing the paradigm of teaching and learning
Changing the Paradigm of Teaching and Learning
  • Active engagement in learning
  • Primary and dynamic resources
  • Application of knowledge
  • Performance-based assessment
vision and implementation
Vision and Implementation

“There are no teachers with correct answers, only guides with different areas of expertise and experience that may help along the way.”

~ Peter Senge and Fred Kofman, 1995

Flip the funnel

how do we get r r framework into our classrooms
How do we get R/R framework into our classrooms?
  • Professional collaborative conversations
    • Common vocabulary used consistently
    • Professional Development Groups
    • Faculty meetings
    • Snack ‘n Shares
    • Subject-specific collaborative groups
  • Core teachers within each dept. as mentors
  • Nurture relationships with teachers who show potential
  • Share philosophy with kids
    • Make them part of expectations and celebrations



building stakeholder commitment
Building Stakeholder Commitment

“Leaders must envision the future and then create the conditions for others to build a common vision together—one based on ideal and unique images of a common future.”

~Kouzes & Posner, 2002

“When people truly share a vision, they are connected, bound together by a common aspiration.”

~ Peter Senge, 1990

community partners
Community Partners
  • 250 total for school
  • Local churches, businesses, colleges/universities, technical schools, governments
  • Advisory committees for departments, academies, athletics, extracurriculars
  • Financial and in-kind donations and contributions
  • Assist in curriculum development
  • Mentor students throughout school
Kennesaw Business Association
  • PTSA
  • Golden Kiwanis
  • Local churches
  • City government
  • Parents – open communication
rigor and relevance
Rigor and Relevance

“Individuals learn best when the content is meaningful to them and they have opportunities for social interaction and the environment supports the learning.”

~Ron Brandt, 2003


Vision Quest:

Personal Achievement

celebration of personal academic excellence
Celebration of PersonalAcademic Excellence
  • Process that encourages academic excellence, improvement, citizenship
  • Goal: To increase student performance and teacher enthusiasm
  • Recognizes, rewards, and reinforces good grades and good character for each and every student
  • Most Wanted (top 10 seniors)
  • Classroom medals
  • Academic pep rally
  • Academic scholar tee shirts (FBI)
  • Honor Cards
honor cards39
Honor Cards
  • Gold: 4.0 GPA, 3 absences and 3 tardies
  • Silver: 3.5 GPA, 3 absences and 3 tardies
  • Green: 3.0 GPA, 3 absences and 3 tardies
  • No discipline records
high five club
High Five Club
  • Recognizes students, regardless of GPA, for improving academic record
  • Students who increase their GPA between semesters by .5
  • Tee shirt and various business discounts
lessons learned42
Lessons Learned
  • Increased student attendance
  • Improved overall academic performance
  • Kids believe that it’s cool to be smart!
student recognition
Student Recognition
  • Fall 2005, 1256 students recognized
  • Fall 2006, 2240 students recognized
putting it all together
Putting it all Together
  • Students +
  • Teachers +
  • Community members =

Lessons in the D Quadrant:

Rigor, Relevance and Relationships