Madison High School REal Grant Report to the School Board

Madison School District [4.6MB PDF]:

District administration, along with school leadership and school staff; have examined the research that shows thatfundamental change in education can only be accomplished by creating the opportunity for teachers to talk with one another regarding their instructional practice. The central theme and approach for REaL has heen to improve and enhance instructional practice through collaboration in order to increase student achievement. Special attention has been paid to ensure the work is done in a cross – district, interdepartmental and collaborative manner. Central to the work, are district and school based discussions focused on what skills and knowledge students need to know and be able to do, in order to be prepared for post-secondary education and work. Systemized discussions regarding curriculum aligmnent, course offerings, assessment systems, behavioral expectations and 21 st century skills are occurring across all four high schools and at the district level.
Collaborative professional development has been established to ensure that the work capitalizes on the expertise of current staff, furthers best practices that are already occurring within the MMSD high school classrooms, and enhances the skills of individuals at all levels from administration to classroom teachers needed. Our work to date has laid the foundation for further and more in-depth work to occur.
Since March of 2010, MMSD district and school staff has completed the following work to move the goals of the REaL Grant forward. Specific accomplishments aligning to REaL grant goals are listed below.
REaL Grant Goal 1: Improve Student Achievement for all students

  • Accomplishment I: Completed year 2 of professional development for Department Chairpersons to become instructional leaders. The work will continue this summer with the first ever Department Chairperson and Assistant Principal Summer Institute to focus on leading and fostering teacher collaboration in order to improve student achievement.
  • Accomplishment 2: Continued with planning for implementing the ACT Career and College Readiness Standards and the EP AS system. Visited with area districts to see the
    impact of effective implementation the EP AS system in order to ensure successful implementation within MMSD.

  • Accomplishment 3: Piloted the implementation of the EXPLORE test at Memorial, Sherman and with 9th grade AVID students at all four comprehensive high schools.
  • Accomplishment 4: This summer, in partnership with Monona Grove High School and Association of Wisconsin School Administrators (AWSA), MMSD will host the Aligned by Design: Aligning High School and Middle School English, Science, Math and Social Studies Courses to College/Career Readiness Skills. To be attended by teams of MMSD high school and middle school staff in July of 2010.
  • Accomplishment 5: Continued focused planning and development of a master communication system for the possible implementation of early release Professional Collaboration Time at MMSD High Schools. Schools have developed plans for effective teaming structures and accountability measures.
  • Accomplishment 6: District English leadership team developed recommendations for essential understandings in the areas of reading, writing, speaking and listening for 9th and 10th grades. Following this successful model, similar work will occur in Math, Science and Social studies.

Related: Small Learning Community and English 10.
Bruce King, who evaluated the West High’s English 9 (one English class for all students) approach offers observations on the REal program beginning on page 20 of the PDF file.

2 thoughts on “Madison High School REal Grant Report to the School Board”

  1. I see that it says
    “REaL Grant Goal 1: Improve Student Achievement for all students”.
    But this seems to be all about low achieving students only, or am I mistaken? There really isn’t consideration for “all students” is there?
    I am wondering if anyone can tell me – if you have high skill, high achieving kids, is there any reason to continue to keep them in this district? Because there doesn’t seem to be any interest by those in charge in having them educated here.

  2. After years of struggling with MMSD to teach more advanced curriculum to my daughter in her elementary years, we are departing for Verona Area School District next year for middle school with hopes that they will nurture her with curriculum that challenges her on a regular basis.
    MMSD tested my daughter once in math to determine if she was gifted and talented in third grade. Unfortunately for her she only tested 1.75 years ahead her grade, so she was to remain in her regular math at her current grade level as I was told she at to be a two years or more to be “gifted”. I always retorted, if she was taught at her level and not at her grade level, she would be two plus years advanced quite quickly. Nothing would ever come of it except stories of my daughter’s boredom. Actually the latest report card noted that “often frustrated with math because she is bored and it is too easy for her”.
    Ironically, about a month ago we got a letter from her middle school math placement test, where they were willing place her in seventh grade math for middle school. Why does MMSD not test for placement until end of elementary?
    I just hoping Verona is more receptive and interested in teaching kids are their level and not worrying about the low achievers more than any other student group.

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