The NETWORK


The New England Network for
Personalization and Performance

NRHS is excited to be one of the thirteen high schools that comprise the New England Network for Personalization and Performance, winner of a five million-dollar US Department of Education Investing in Innovation (I3) grant. The NENPP grant was one of only 30 development proposals to receive funding out of 1,324 applicants nationwide. The project also receives matching funds from the Nellie Mae Education Foundation and the Rural Schools and Community Trust. An abstract of the proposal can be found here, and the full text is here.

So what is this Network, and how is it going to help our students?

The stated goal of the project is this: “A network of schools, working together to create authentic tasks and common rubrics to measure uncommon assessment tasks, will foster personalized learning resulting in higher student achievement, as demonstrated by lower dropout rates, higher graduation rates and demonstrable success after high school.”

The design of the Network is based on that of the New York Performance Standards Consortium, a coalition of 28 schools that has a proven track record of collaborating to create inquiry-based learning environments and raise student achievement as a result.[1]

The New England Network for Personalization and Performance consists of the following high schools: Plymouth North and Plymouth South (MA); Noble (ME); Mt. Abraham Union (VT); and Kearsarge Regional, Laconia, Manchester West, Nute, Nashua South, Nashua North, Newfound Regional, Pittsfield, and Raymond (NH).

While this venture will help us in countless ways in our efforts to personalize and differentiate the education of our students, the hard-and-fast stated objective is this: by the end of the 2014-2015 school year (the fifth year of the project), every student at NRHS will have participated in at least two personalized, rigorous, inquiry-based learning experiences and demonstrated mastery of knowledge and skills through performance assessment. It is assumed, of course, that many students will have participated in more.

To this end, the grant requires that our school engage in four different “activity strands”:

  • A collaborative, peer-mentored and mediated approach to professional development. A team of NRHS teachers will work together to develop inquiry-based curricular units, develop related assessments, and engage in the process of a moderation study[2]. Parallel to that, a team of NRHS students will be working together with a teacher facilitator to create personalized learning experiences and performance assessment experiences. The New York Consortium will be providing us with a peer mentor to help us throughout this process.
  • An NRHS Change Leadership Team will be formed to shepherd the systemic change process. A coach from the Center for Secondary School Redesign (CSSR) will be helping the team throughout the project, supporting the implementation of flexible scheduling, student-led conferencing, personal learning plans, teacher collaboration, and authentic assessment, among other things. The coaching is specifically designed to provide continuous improvement by focusing on what is working, and uncovering ways to strengthen the program.
  • We will be receiving visits from members of the Network Performance Assessment Review (PAR) Board. This is a group of nationally recognized experts who will be observing and participating in student presentations, interviewing students and teachers, and reviewing faculty documentation. Their purpose is to provide valuable feedback from “outside eyes” to all project participants.
  • A Network Project Steering Committee will be overseeing the project, monitoring progress towards goals and adherence to the timeline and budget. The committee will also be the main conduit for Network communication. The PSC will be comprised of various stakeholders, including representatives from CSSR, the Consortium, SMP, Nellie Mae Foundation, NEASC, State DOE personnel, local school personnel, community members, families, and congressional and union representatives.

 

Throughout the project, the UCLA School Management Program (SMP), Northeast Region, will be conducting a longitudinal evaluation of the process (which will include on-site data collection), and reporting their findings to the Steering Committee biannually. Their data will serve both to help us tweak the process as we go along, and to help future innovators. (Specifically, the SMP researchers will be testing the theory that “foundational support for the transformation of schools is directly linked to strengthening student access to academic content, leading to improved student outcomes”.)

Each summer throughout the five-year process, we will be bringing a team of teachers and students to a Network summer institute.

Plymouth Public Schools in Massachusetts is the lead district for the project, and its superintendent, Dr. Gary Maestas, will serve as the Project Director.




 


Network School


Enrollment
(9-12)


4-year
Dropout Rate

% of graduates entering
2- or 4-year colleges

MAINE

418,375

5.2

64.6

Noble

1,081

 

69.7

MASSACHUSETTS

957,053

3.4

82.0

Plymouth North

1,053

2.9

81.5

Plymouth South

1,489

3.5

81.0

NEW HAMPSHIRE

64,392

6.7

73.6

Kearsarge Regional

642

2.9

83.8

Laconia

764

6.2

56.1

Manchester West

1,375

13.9

77.7

Nute

200

5.3

65.4

Nashua South

2,210

6.1

77.5

Nashua North

1,938

6.5

76.3

Newfound Regional

464

7.3

62.7

Pittsfield

181

10.6

34.9

Raymond

462

15.7

57.4

VERMONT

29547

2.9

74.8

Mt. Abraham Union

277

3.3

60.0

 

 



[1] The New York Performance Standards Consortium schools are defined by inquiry-based learning and complex, performance-based assessments. Four specific performance tasks are required of all students for graduation: an analytic literary essay, a social studies research paper, an original science experiment, and the application of higher-level mathematics. Assignments are graded with detailed rubrics and tied to state standards, with added accountability provided through an external evaluation and review. Performance on these tasks is reflected on student transcripts and results are used for college admission.  Consortium school students are permitted to substitute performance assessments for all state-mandated Regents exams except the Language Arts exam.

[2] Using a protocol to improve inter-rater reliability as common rubrics are developed and implemented.


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