1. How do high-performing schools teach all students using engaging assignments connected to grade-level standards?
- Design literacy-based assignments in all content areas to engage students in comprehending grade-level texts, and demonstrate understanding of discipline content in well-written reports.
- Create a series of math assignments that advance students’ mathematical understanding and reasoning skills in solving conceptual and applied problems.
- Involve employers and postsecondary leaders in designing authentic, challenging real-world project-based assignments that require students to apply academic, technical and workplace readiness skills.
2. What strategies do high-performing schools implement to provide connected learning experiences for students and common planning time for teachers?
- Design and implement intellectually demanding career pathways and career academies that allow educators to collaborate on linking assignments with college-and career-readiness standards.
- Design quality career pathways that span high school and postsecondary studies to include college-ready academics, technical, citizenship and workplace readiness skills.
- Give core content and career teachers time to co-plan lessons that connect academic and technical standards.
3. What type of ongoing professional development is needed by educators to ensure 90 percent of students enter ninth grade ready for high school, 95 percent graduate on time, and 80 percent graduate college ready, career ready or both?
- Develop current or aspiring principals’ capacities to serve as highly effective instructional leaders who understand how to use data to locate readiness gaps and find ways to close them.
- Design a teacher induction model that builds new and early-career teachers’ capacities to plan instruction, engage students, manage classrooms and design standards-driven assessments.
- Design ongoing professional development that includes job-embedded coaching while building the capacity of leaders to effectively support teachers.
4. What are schools doing to extend learning time and provide personalized supports to help students make successful transitions from the middle grades to high school and high school to postsecondary education and/or the workplace?
- Implement literacy and math readiness courses to help struggling students master the literacy and math skills they need to complete college-ready academic core work in high school and credit-bearing course work in college.
- Redesign the senior year into an opportunity to bolster students’ readiness for postsecondary studies or employment when they graduate – and to accelerate credential or degree attainment for students who already meet readiness benchmarks.
- Tailor the learning environment to meet the different learning needs of students (e.g. schedules, assignment selection and technology).
5. How do teachers and counselors deliver academic, career counseling and exploratory experiences that help students achieve bold goals of graduation and readiness?
- Deliver academic and career counseling and exploratory experiences that help students and parents achieve a deeper understanding of their interests, aptitudes and opportunities and set postsecondary and career goals.
- Work with students and parents, no later than the eighth grade, to develop and revise personalized career and education plans that reflect students’ evolving goals and include one or more years of postsecondary study.
- Design a counselor-led, faculty-driven student advisement system that assigns an adult adviser who guides a student through the middle grades and/or all four-years of high school.
6. What strategies can low-performing schools design and implement to achieve high-performing status?
- Define academic college readiness and academic and technical career readiness. Measure achievement at each grade level and at the end of grades five, eight, 10 and 11, and create long-term plans for annually improving the percentage of students who graduate college-ready, career-ready or both.
- Utilize a school improvement process such as Plan/Do/Study/Act (PDSA) to address various problems of practice that exist in low-performing schools.
- Gather and analyze data to identify problems of practice and root causes. Form focus teams that take ownership of problems and solutions for continuous school improvement.
7. What school- and community-based learning experiences do high-performing schools provide students to help them set career and educational goals?
- Create a series of structured work-based learning experiences – like worksite tours, job shadows, internships, apprenticeships and capstone projects – that help students make the connection between their academic and technical studies and the world of work.
- Provide strategies to assist students in the completion of problem-based assignments that develop grit and professional skills.
- Adopt and implement middle grades STEM courses that introduce students to the principles of scientific inquiry and the engineering design process.
8. How do school and district leaders support schools and teachers to graduate at least 80 percent of students who are college ready, career ready or both?
- Engage business/industry and postsecondary partners in aligning intellectually demanding career pathways to workforce needs.
- Establish benchmarks for college and career readiness at multiple levels.
- Investigate and implement new career pathways that align with 21st- century workplace needs (such as Advanced Career).