Reflections on the High School Redesign Conference

Jody LandishThis week we are pleased to have a guest blogger, Jody Landish, who shares her reflections on the recent High School Redesign Conference she attended as part of a team of educators from SE Wisconsin. Ms. Landish is the principal at North High School in the Waukesha School District.

All students prepared for success! Some states call it proficiency, some competency, yet others mastery. The bottom line is that the New England Secondary School Consortium is committed to providing a high quality education for all their students. I had the good fortune to attend this High School Redesign Conference and hear from schools across Vermont, Rhode Island, New Hampshire, Maine and Connecticut. Each school had its own story to tell about their personalized learning efforts with a focus not just on implementation, but sustainability.

To look back at some of the key learnings, I encourage you to search the hashtag #NESSC14 on Twitter.

I cannot go any further, without saying how fortunate we are in Southeastern Wisconsin to have the leadership of Jim Rickabaugh and his work with the Institute @ CESA #1. Their mission, to establish personalized learning as the prevailing approach to educating youth, is an inspiring mission that has helped guide my own leadership journey at Waukesha North High School as we work to transform our teaching and learning practices.

This is the fifth year that the New England Secondary Schools Consortium has gathered at a conference, this year with 650 participants, to network and share forward-thinking innovations in the design and delivery of secondary education. These schools are dedicated to increasing the percentage of students who graduate from high school college-ready. This laser-like focus was paramount throughout each presentation.

The cornerstones of their efforts included:

(1) Maximizing student-centered learning opportunities;

(2) Providing personalized, flexible proficiency-based pathways for all students; and

(3) High school graduation based on students demonstrating proficiency on learning standards.

No longer is seat time and getting by with a “D” good enough for their students.

Strategies were shared in the area of policy, practice, and public will. Advancing state-led policies, networking with their League of Innovative Schools and building public understanding and support for more innovative approaches to educating today’s students, are areas that I believe leaders in Wisconsin can learn from. I am encouraged by the thoughtful and caring leaders I have met through The Institute. I look forward to working more deeply on the personalized learning elements of the honeycomb as I continue to challenge high school level legacy based practices and work towards more student-centered practices. Lets connect via Twitter @InstituteCESA1 or @jlandish13 to positively transform education for students in Southeastern Wisconsin. Now is the time, to get learning right the first time, every time.

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