The Carlisle Mosquito Online

Friday, February 6, 2004

News

Minuteman named one of Top 50 "High Schools That Work"

Minuteman Regional High School in Lexington was named one of the Top 50 school sites in the "High Schools That Work" network of approximately 1,100 schools in 27 states across the country. Minuteman was the only school in Massachusetts selected for the National Top 50 recognition.

"The national top 50 schools were chosen based on the performance of their students on the past two grade-12 National Assessment Educational Project-based assessments and evidence that the schools have implemented the ten key practices of the 'High Schools That Work' national initiative," wrote Massachusetts Commissioner of Education Dr. David P. Driscoll in a letter of congratulations to Minuteman Superintendent Dr. Ronald Fitzgerald. "This honor is well deserved by the staff and students at Minuteman," Commissioner Driscoll added.

Dr. Fitzgerald commended the students and the staff for their dedication and hard work. "Many of the key practices of HSTW underline improving students' academic skills and increasing their opportunities for career exploration and further education. This is in line with what we do every day at Minuteman. Our staff has set high expectations for themselves and their students, and our students respond positively."

The top 50 schools were cited for more fully implementing the ten key practices of HSTW than other schools in the network. "The top 50 schools have attached themselves to a new vision that says most students can learn difficult materials if we get school and classroom practices right," said Gene Bottoms, director of the Southern Regional Education Board's "High Schools That Work" program and a former executive director of the American Vocational Association.

"At the heart of why the top schools have made greater progress in improving student achievement than have the low implementation schools are the differences in what is taught, how it is taught, what is expected of students and how teachers, students and school leaders relate to each other." Bottoms said that schools can raise expectations and achievement levels by deciding to teach all students what only the "best" students have been taught in the past and by supporting teachers in learning how to do it. "High-implementation schools, such as Minuteman Regional High School, have gone further in unlocking themselves from past practices of teaching to different standards for different groups of students. At top schools, more students do homework, complete a senior project, meet standards on an end-of-course exam and do more reading outside of class."

"It's not teaching different material or holding students to different standards that accelerates learning, it's teaching the content different ways with a focus on individual students learning styles," said Fitzgerald. "This focus is a huge part of the student success story at Minuteman."

"High Schools That Work" is the largest and oldest of the Southern Regional Education Board's seven school-improvement initiatives for high school and middle grades leaders and teachers. More than 1,100 schools in 27 states, including Minuteman Regional High School are voluntarily using the HSTW framework of goals and key practices to raise student achievement.


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