2012 SCORE Prize Winners: Embracing High Standards - Page 16

This real-world training qualifies students to serve in such capacities as EMTs while attending Covington. Of the top 10 students in the school, seven of them are CTE majors. “A lot of our students are going to go to postsecondary training of some kind which makes our courses that much more important,” one teacher said. CTE students currently achieve a higher graduation rate than general education students: 99 percent. Effective interventions. At Covington, having high expectations for all students means that every student will meet or exceed their expected level of academic growth every year. Teachers use results from End-of-Course pretests and ACT predictions to examine where each student is relative to their predicted scores. Students are also tested every four and a half weeks to determine their progress. Whenever a student has not mastered expected material, Covington connects students with needed supports. Specifically, any student who scores basic or below basic on the ThinkLink formative assessments in English or algebra is required to attend “academic recovery,” which is mandatory after-school tutoring, two days a week. During this time, students can choose to work with a teacher or a peer tutor. “The great thing is you might not be comfortable with your teacher and they may not be able to break it down [like] one of your peers,” one student said. The school has also removed barriers to participation by providing transportation at 5 p.m. during any afternoon when tutoring is offered. Covington staff members also recognize that some students do not thrive in a traditional classroom environment. These students are provided with multiple alternative education programs that allow them to participate online, in project-based learning, or in other activities that allow them to recov- er credit and/or enroll in courses that are more personalized to their needs. Additionally, Covington has implemented an alternative block schedule that allows students with disabilities to be involved in an inclusion setting for English and algebra one day, followed by specialized services in a resource setting the alternate day. As needed, students also receive an extra 90-minute block of mathematics during their second semester following algebra to work on specific skills that have not been mastered. Teacher and student personalities are matched to ensure a good fit, and students are individually scheduled by special education and consulting teachers to make sure their needs are met. Engaging families. Teachers and administrators at Covington High School embrace the power of 37 Pathways to the Prize Lessons from the 2012 SCORE Prize School Winners “I believe it is important that these students have someone to rely on.” — Peggy Murdock, Covington High Principal parents and families to advance students’ educational success. The school has been strategic with regard to parent and family involvement. To help parents understand their students’ educational performance, as well as their postsecondary opportunities, the school provides programs that inform families about how they can contribute to their student’s educational development. The school’s guidance center welcomes family members and gives them a place to ask questions and resolve issues about student’s educational needs and progress. Parent Connect, an online portal, allows parents to find out what’s happening at school: how their children are doing academically; what they’re learning, including current assignments; and how to contact teachers. The school provides an “ intensive care unit” list weekly to make sure students know what assignments they are missing. “No child has an F just because there is miscommunication,” said Assistant Principal Ellen Clark, who posts the list each week. The principals also make it a priority to understand family circumstances. Principal Murdock, for example, visits homes when necessary and speaks candidly with the students about home circumstances. She understands that she represents an important adult in her student’s lives. “I have been teaching in this school district for over 20 years,” Murdock said. “In some cases, I have taught their parents. The kids know I’m not going anywhere. They are more willing to confide when they have an issue. I believe it is important that these students have someone to rely on. They don’t always have those types of people in their household. I want us to be those people for them if we can.” Video: “High Expectations and Academic Supports” (2:12) http://tnscore.org/scoreprize/lessonsschools_high2012.php