District Administration October 2016 - 27

termining what needed improvement. They wanted a bigger cafeteria, renovated tennis courts and state-of-the-art science labs. We have listened and put those into our capital plan. We are nowhere near where we want to be. We still don't have enough students in higher-learning classes. We have some underrepresented groups that are still not taking AP classes. There is a reason why they aren't taking them. Research says you need three adults to have a conversation with kids before they even think about making a change. We met with our sports coaches and told them, "We all have to work on this." Black males are highly underrepresented in AP and it's not because they aren't smart enough. It's because they are not being engaged enough. You also reconfigured grading. How does that work and what makes it so successful among students and staff? In the old system, we had students with more prior knowledge than other kids, while others would make up for lost learning with extra credit projects, for example, that had nothing to do with standards or learning. You can't just give kids a way out of learning. So we changed that and went to clear, standards-based grading in 2014 that students would have to master. And we went to a total point structure, on a scale from 0 to 5 (instead of 0 to 100), which is tied to key concepts being taught in a semester. It promotes proficiency. If I get a 3, that means I can do these things but I can look at the descriptors of 4 and see what I need to do to improve. Teachers have always worked hard during and after school but we are giving them direction on how to work differently. Teachers in every subject work together to identify the key concepts "We recruit kids now, rather than having them jump through hoops. We open doors for kids." that would constitute the course grade, and the assessments and assignments that would best address such concepts. Teachers had PD to evaluate student performance according to proficiency scales rather than on a traditional "total points" system. In addition, assignments and assessments are weighted so that summative assessments carry the highest and most consistent proportional value in the course grade. You were named medium-sizeddistrict-of-the-year from AP. Tell us about that. We have increased the number of students enrolled in exams since 2008. In the past, AP was very elite. And I called it de facto segregation because students of color were left out. But we recruit kids now, rather than having them jump through hoops. In the 2007-08 school year, only 200 AP exams were taken. In 2015-16, well over 4,200 exams were taken. And the percentage of students who received a passing college score of 3 or better also increased. We had more kids taking these classes-and it continues to rise. The College Board made a video for us when we won the award. At the end of the video, a student says, "We have made being smart cool." And that was something that was not happening when I started. DA Nominate your school to win a free gym floor! Providing kids with a safe surface to play on is important. Gerflor USA is giving back through our Play Safe on TARAFLEX® Sports Floor Program. Tell us about a school in need of a high-quality indoor playing surface, and they could win a TARAFLEX® floor that was featured at the London Games! Installation included. Nominate your school today at playsafeontaraflex.com. Angela Pascopella is managing editor. www.DistrictAdministration.com October 2016 27 olympic floor ad R2.indd 1 8/4/16 3:37 PM http://www.playsafeontaraflex.com http://www.playsafeontaraflex.com http://www.DistrictAdministration.com

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of District Administration October 2016

District Administration October 2016 - Cover1
District Administration October 2016 - Cover2
District Administration October 2016 - 1
District Administration October 2016 - 2
District Administration October 2016 - 3
District Administration October 2016 - 4
District Administration October 2016 - 5
District Administration October 2016 - 6
District Administration October 2016 - 7
District Administration October 2016 - 8
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District Administration October 2016 - Cover3
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