NEASC Recommendations are Shaping Changes at MHS
Matt Geary, MHS Principal
February 13, 2013 •
Filed under A Letter from the Principal
Dear Members of the Manchester High School Community,
As you may be aware, a Special Progress Report was submitted to the New England Association of Schools and Colleges on February 1, 2013. This report was in response to the feedback we received from NEASC upon submitting a Two Year Progress Report in October, 2012. On Wednesday, February 13, I gave a presentation to the Manchester Board of Education which summarizes the Special Progress Report. The Board of Education presentation and the actual written report are available by following the links below.
Following the NEASC visit in 2009, Manchester High School was placed on warning for the standard of School Leadership and Organization (since renamed School Culture and Leadership in the 2011 revision to the standards). The first two recommendations addressed in the Special Progress report connect directly to progress made in these areas at MHS. I am happy to report that there is a noticeable difference in the climate of the school. I believe that faculty, staff, and students enjoy coming to MHS as evidenced by the fact that members of all groups are working together — making suggestions and developing creative solutions that will only continue to improve the climate at the high school.
While I am quite pleased with our work to date, there is a significant amount of work still to do, including 45 of the initial 58 recommendations still classified as “in progress.” These recommendations exist in all areas and include work around review and revision of the school mission statement, development and communication of a vision for the future of MHS, revision of existing curriculum to make explicit connections between what is taught and the school-wide academic expectations, promotion of collaboration within and across departments, and implementation of a revised advisory program.
Two key recommendations which drive our work are:
- Provide opportunities for all students to engage in the authentic application of knowledge and skills through problem -solving and higher order thinking activities across the content areas.
- Resolve scheduling issues that will provide more heterogeneous grouping practices for all students and increased opportunities for collaboration within and across departments
These recommendations will be addressed through additional changes, including pilot academies and teams that are planned for the future. As soon as 2013-14, a Medial Careers Academy or an Academy of Art and Design could be an option for students at MHS. These are still in the planning phase but at least one should roll out in the next year. Additionally, we will take a close look at our ninth grade teams and consider adding teaming for some students in grade 10.
Additionally, as we move forward, we need to keep in mind potential revisions to the graduation requirements of the state of Connecticut. There are proposals to increase the credits required to 25 (MHS is currently at 22) with specific areas in which these credits must be attained. This information, including the NEASC recommendations, are driving factors in our School Improvement Plan.
Please feel free to contact me should you have questions.
To see the NEASC Special Progress report, click here
To see the slide show presented to the board of education, click here