Principal Leadership - February 2015 - (Page 52)

Freshman Academy Spurs SCHOOLWIDE Transformation 2015 NASSP Conference Speaker One high school's approach to increasing student achievement Katherine Banner and Jason Myers est High School is a diverse secondary school located in Knoxville, TN, serving 1,400 students of more than 30 different nationalities. Forty‑six percent of the student body meets the criteria for low socioeconomic status in Tennessee. In addition, the school was authorized to begin its IB diploma program in 2011. In May 2011, the freshman class at West ended the year with 73 percent of students on track to graduate, as defined by earning six of eight credits (one in math or English). In July 2011, West was appointed a new principal who used multiple data points-including literacy and numeracy achievement and growth, attendance and discipline frequency, and graduation rate-as the starting point for a schoolwide transformation from a traditional, comprehensive, departmentalized high school into a Small Learning Community (SLC). During the first year, the school worked collaboratively to develop a two‑phase plan to make this transition. Phase one was the creation of the freshman academy (known as the FRAC), and phase two was the development of the tenth grade and upper house SLCs. 52 Principal Leadership | February 2015 Communication was a significant factor in West's successful transformation. Teachers, parents, and the community were informed that, with the proper changes, the school would never again have a class with one‑fourth of its students off track. Although the 73 percent success rate was the jumping‑off point, other data points, such as lack of growth and achievement in Algebra I, English I, biology, and chemistry, were also addressed. Structure All freshmen were housed in a designated location that included office space for the FRAC principal, and this strategy was paramount to the SLC's success. Teachers went through an application process to be a part of the FRAC, which included three staff members for each core academic area. In addition, a position was created for a dean who would work with the FRAC principal to determine the extent of support needed for teachers. A dedicated FRAC counselor who focused on whole‑student growth completed the team. Finally, an alternating block schedule created a common plan for FRAC teachers with attention given to providing academic support for students in English I and Algebra I.

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Principal Leadership - February 2015

From the Editor
Bulletin Board
Cases in Point
Healthy Schools, Healthy Students
The Power of Partnerships in ELL Instruction
Special Education’s Hotspot: The Principalship
Literacy Lessons Learned
Give Them Five
Winning the War Against Power Struggles
BEYOND MEMORIZATION: Strategies for Next-Level Literacy
Middle School Academic Talk: The Key to Ensuring Access for All
Promoting Achievement for ELLs with Limited or Interrupted Formal Education: A Culturally Responsive Approach
Freshman Academy Spurs Schoolwide Transformation
Instructional Leader
Breaking Ranks in Practice
Discussion Guide

Principal Leadership - February 2015

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