2012 SCORE Prize Winners: Embracing High Standards - Page 15

EMBRACING HIGH STANDARDS EMBRACiN Educators at Covington High School not only want their students to graduate from high school. They want them to graduate with the skills they need to be successful and competitive in the global economy. “It’s important to push our students to meet those expectations and exceed those expectations,” one teacher said. “We want to prepare our students not only to compete in Covington…but to compete globally.” These high standards are reflected in an emphasis on preparing students for postsecondary education and career, the school’s expectation that every student will make academic growth every year, and the availability of interventions and programs for any student who is not responding well to traditional instruction. Covington also prioritizes strong outreach to families to ensure that they partner with the school to promote student success. “Our goal is to make sure everyone can do what they want to do. And try to give them some dreams,” said Murdock. Preparation for postsecondary education and career. Preparing students for success after high school is an important part of Tipton County Schools’s mission as well as Covington’s. For the district, motivating students to think about their lives after high school is where the conversation about postsecondary begins. Beginning in middle school, students are provided with opportunities to visit colleges and attend camps, such as the Memphis Belle Aviation camp, that expose them to potential future occupations. Once they arrive at Covington, the emphasis on postsecondary is reinforced and supported through a variety of activities. • Preparation for the ACT. Covington faculty have spent time analyzing the areas that are measured by the ACT and have modified their curriculum to ensure that they provide instruction that reflects the knowledge and skills that the exam expects students to acquire. Every teacher allocates 20 minutes of their lessons to prepare students for taking the exam. The standards for mastery are posted on classroom walls so that students can compare their performance to expectations. Students use the information to refocus their learning in areas in which they performed poorly. Every student is aware of his/her level of performance and encouraged and supported to perform better in every course. In common areas where students have not yet reached mastery or their ACT predictions are low, the school goes into action to improve the test scores, scheduling afternoon ACT tutoring and other one-on-one sessions. These sessions include training on skills that students will use throughout their educational and professional careers, such as how to take notes effectively. • Mentoring. Pr