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Cedar Rapids Community Schools

Cedar Rapids Community Schools

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Cedar Rapids Community Schools

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  1. Cedar Rapids Community Schools • Finding Alternatives that Work • for Alternative Schools • Cedar Rapids Community School District • Metro Alternative High School • IASB Conference

  2. CRCSD At A Glance Second largest school district in State of Iowa 121 square miles 31 schools $263.4 million budget 2,956 employees

  3. CRCSD At A Glance • 16,317 students (AK-12) • Over 40 Languages spoken • 48% Free & Reduced students • 25% Minority enrollment • 2.7 million meals served annually • Dedicated business and community partner support

  4. CRCSD High Schools High Schools Enrollment Jefferson 1,496 Kennedy 1,732 Metro 384 Washington 1,381

  5. CRCSD Achievement – College Readiness Benchmark Scores

  6. CRCSD Achievement – Five Year Trend–Met All Four Benchmarks


  8. Cassandra Erkens, 2008 Anam Cara Consulting, Inc What evidence do we have of the learning? How do we respond if they don’t learn? Have already learned? HOW do we know if they have learned it? What do we want all Students To learn, know and be able to do?

  9. Response to Intervention (RTI)PLC Critical Learning Question #3 & 4 How will we respond when they don’t learn?

  10. Tight and Loose


  12. ALTERNATIVE EDUCATION HISTORY Alternative Education  Remarkable Growth Since Late 1960s  Alternative, Career Theme Magnet, Charter Schools, On Line Schools  75% of School Districts Have Alternatives  Concept Has Proven Unusually Effective In Salvaging The Lives Of Poor and Minority Students  Most effective strategy for dropout prevention - Dr. ROBERT D. BARR, Secrets of Success of High Poverty/High-Performing Schools

  13. ALTERNATIVE EDUCATION in CRCSD What CRCSD does is . . .  Make Metro an integral part of the school system  Support High Schools in understanding effective advice to students regarding variety of educational opportunities  Allow all schools to work together to serve students

  14. METRO HIGH SCHOOL PURPOSE • OUR PHILOSOPHY Since 1974, Metro High School, provides an educational alternative for students in the Cedar Rapids Community School District. • Many of our students enter with negative perceptions of school or with circumstances in their lives that do not allow school to be a priority. • The students and staff members at Metro make a conscious effort to provide a supportive and caring atmosphere. • Each student is recognized and accepted as an individual with unique interests, abilities and learning styles. • Metro’s educational program is designed to provide a variety of options for meeting the Cedar Rapids School District's graduation requirements. • There is a continued effort to aid students in developing as total individuals.

  15. METRO HIGH SCHOOLMISSION Metro’s Mission Statement We are Metro High School, working positively together to set goals, earn a high school diploma and be successful in life while respecting individuality & creativity. - created by students and staff 2007




  19. METRO HIGH SCHOOL ORIENTATION UNLIKE COMPREHENSIVE HIGH SCHOOLS . . . All entering students must participate in our Orientation program. During this 3 day mandatory Orientation, the Metro staff … Provides an assessment of each students academic skills. Teaches and provides models our behavior expectations within our Positive Behavior Intervention Support (PBIS) Framework. Example of PBIS video shown in Orientation: 3. Teaches a variety of positive methods for attaining their life and academic goals. Students must fully attend Orientation and meet the behavior expectations prior to their enrollment. Upon their successful completion of Orientation, students are assigned an advisor and receive a class schedule.

  20. What the Research Says (Or Doesn’t Say): Advisory Programs Advisory programs (or advisories) are frequently implemented by schools as a way to strengthen connectedness between adults and students and foster a personalized and supportive school culture. Although advisories are set up in varying ways, they are generally characterized by regular meetings between an advisor and a student or group of students to provide academic and social support. Although surveys and self-reports attest to the value of these programs, there are very few rigorous studies from which to determine the effects on student outcomes. Schools developing advisories have “relied upon intuition and anecdotal evidence rather than empirical data” (Shulkind& Foote, 2009). - Education Northwest Magazine

  21. Benefits of Advisor Programs “ The curriculum of advisory (at Souhegan High School) is really the experiences, interests, values, skills, hopes, and fears of all the individual members. It boils down to skills and process….Students….develop the ability to function in a heterogeneous group of their peers.” — Peggy Silva, Standards of Mind and Heart: Creating the Good High School

  22. METRO HIGH SCHOOL Advisors UNLIKE COMPREHENSIVE HIGH SCHOOLS . . . The heart of Metro is the advisor/advisee system. Each teacher serves as an advisor for 15 - 20 students. The advisor is an advocate for their students’ educational programs. With the exception of new ninth graders, students retain the same advisor throughout their enrollment at Metro. New Ninth graders are assigned to our Ninth Grade Facilitator for initial term. Advisors have the opportunity to formally meet and bond with their advisees weekly to discuss issues relevant to their educational program and lives for 30 minutes.

  23. METRO HIGH SCHOOL Advisors con’t UNLIKE a High School counselor, an Advisor’s role is designed to provide maximum support to the student and assistance to the parents/guardianswith a 15:1, instead of 400:1. The advisor will:  Maintain communication with parents or guardians supporting the student’s school success.  Monitor the classes their advisees are taking to ensure they are making progress toward graduation.  Assist in developing career and/or post-secondary education plans.  Assist in problem solving (mediate) when behaviors interfere with school success.

  24. METRO HIGH SCHOOL GRADING UNLIKE COMPREHENSIVE HIGH SCHOOLS . . . Metro students do not receive letter grades. Our program uses a Variable Credit System allowing students to earn from 0 – 5 credits for each class per trimester. Credit is earned on the basis of: • Attendance • Those with 80% attendance get first choice for registering for classes • Work performance • Grading based on rubrics, Standards, and Iowa Core Alignment • Behavior • Following PBIS expectations Students may potentially earn 32.5 – 37.5 credits per trimester

  25. Variable Grading ??? Language Arts Teacher Grading Example Days of Attendance Credit Earned Percentage on Assignments 44-53 5 84-100 35-43 4 67-83 26-34 3 50-66 17-25 2 33-49 8-16 1 16-32 0-7 0 0-15

  26. METRO HIGH SCHOOL ATTENDANCE UNLIKE COMPREHENSIVE HIGH SCHOOLS . . . • Metro students attend classes on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday & Friday from 8:15 - 2:35. • Every Wednesday classes meet 8:15 - 11:10 with a 30 minute Advisor Meeting. • After dismissal on Wednesdays Advisors typically do HOME VISITS and/or make contact with families while maintaining a log in our Intervention system.

  27. METRO HEALTH & ATTENDANCE UNLIKE, some School Nurses in the Comprehensive High School . . . METRO CARE CONNECTION INCREASES OUR ATTENDANCE RATE • On a single day 20-30 students are seen in the clinic for some type of serviceby our Pediatric Nurse Practitioner. Treatment for minor illnesses (ear infection, strep throat, etc.)Basic laboratory tests (i.e. throat cultures, urine tests)Prescriptions for medicationsHealth education and counselingReferral for complex medical conditionsReferral for counseling servicesAssistance for families needing a physicianAssistance for families applying for Title 19 of Hawk-I

  28. METRO HEALTH & ATTENDANCE • Metro’s health care throughout the day creates a positive and caring relationship with the students they see.  • Many of the students get OTC medications for headaches or body aches, this allows the students to stay in school, and complete the school day.  • Many students rely on the Metro Care Connection for sports physical allowing them to participate in extracurricular sports activities.

  29. METRO PARENT-CHILD CENTER (PCC) An onsite daycare, serving infants and toddlers, is available for students and staff. Parenting students are expected to participate in the Center for one 55-minute period each school day, in exchange for the care of their child. This allows parenting students an opportunity to continue their education while alleviating the cost of childcare. The Center also provides a hands-on classroom for both parenting and non-parenting student to develop/enhance their childcare skills

  30. METRO PLUS SKILL DEVELOPMENT PROGRAM • Metro Plus assesses students’ academic skills and progress towards graduation by using a variety of curriculum and materialson Tuesdays & Thursdays 4-6:30pm • The Metro Plus Program was developed for students who are: • Employed and not available for day courses OR • Potentially At-Risk for considering dropping out of high school and are considering obtaining a high school equivalent diploma (GED or HiSET). . • Tuesday’s classes emphasize skill development in Language Arts (Reading and Writing) • Thursday’s classes emphasize skill development in Mathematics and Science • Since its inception in 2012-13- 64 students attended. • Nine of whom completed their entire GED. • We have averaged over 7 students per session.

  31. METRO GRADUATIONS UNLIKE MOST HIGH SCHOOLS. . . METRO hosts a graduation ceremony at the conclusion of each trimester ** METRO includes GED recipients that have had a connection to METRO ** Graduates choose 2 Staff they connect with to be either a SPEAKER or SHAKER for the ceremony SPEAKERS share anecdotes of their connectedness SHAKERS provide a ROSE and handshake as tokens of support