Last Updated on Friday, 08 February 2013 11:07 Hits: 9527
Curriculum Coordinator: Jamie K. Marston
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Winnacunnet High School is accredited by the New England Association for Schools and Colleges (NEASC). March 3 - 6, 2013 the school will undergo the decennial accreditation review that occurs every ten years. Accreditation assures that tax money is supporting a school facility and programs that have been judged worthwhile according to extensive research based best practice. Students can be assured that attending an accredited high school means they are the central focus of the educational process and that post-secondary representatives have the assurance of the quality of their preparation. The process also provides a template for school review and improvement for the next ten years.
During the 2011-2012 and 2012-2103 school years the faculty has been engaged in a rigourous self-study during which time we reflect on meeting seven research based standards for high schools. These standards reflect the current research about practices that high schools strive to achieve for continuous improvement. The seven standards are Core Values, Beliefs and Learning Expectations, Curriculum, Instruction, Assessment of and for Student Learning, School Culture and Leadership,and School Resources for Learning and Community Resources for Learning. More information about NEASC can be located at www.neasc.org. Please also contact Jamie Marston, Curriculum Administrator and Co-Chair of the NEASC Steering Committee if you would like to become involved.
Guided by the school Core Values and Beliefs and the WHS ICARE 21st Century Learning Expectations, Winnacunnet integrates traditional academic coursework and electives that provide students the opportunity for exploration and preparation for career and college. Curriculum options include core courses and elective options for students to self-design their academic focus, Running Start courses offering dual credit options through the Great Bay Community college system and Southern New Hampshire University, College Board Advanced Placement (AP) courses, and access to programs at the regional technical center - Seacoast School of Technology. Please view the annual Program of Studies for more detailed information about the curriculum offerings.
Currently, all students in grades 9 -12 will practice the WHS 21st Century school-wide learning expectations as identified in our WHS Core Values and Beliefs statement. Teachers assess student progress using school wide rubrics. These learning expectations define what each and every student should know and be able to do as they leave high school and continue their life journies after high school. Students and parents can stay updated on individual progress toward achieving the ICARE Learning Expectations on Power School.
In an effort to personalize the educational experience for each student, to facilitate readiness for life after high school, and to meet the New Hampshire career development standards, all students participate in the following grade level programs First year high school students participate in Freshman Seminar, a course designed to prepare all students with the knowledge, skills, and attitudes to make a successful academic and social transition from middle to high school. In the sophomore year, all students will focus on life aspirations in the American Literature Dream Occupation Research Unit. In the junior year, all students will participate in a career fair where local business and industry partners will be available to showcase career planning in their respective fields. Senior Seminar, recommended for all seniors is a capstone course that incorporates independent learning with both “academic and real world consequences”. Students choose a topic of personal interest that must relate in some way to a public policy issue. In this course students demonstrate competency of the WHS ICARE learning expectations.
Grading and Assessment: In July of 2005, the state of New Hampshire passed a law Ed 306.27: Course Level Competencies and Grading. The minimum standard states that all high schools must have a competency assessment process and defined course level competencies in place for all courses offered in the curriculum. The standard further states that credit toward graduation is to be awarded based on student demonstration of mastery of these course level competenices. Over the past three years, the WHS faculty and administration has achieved adherence to this law as was evidenced by a minimum standards review by the Department of Education in 2011. All courses have written course competencies, and beginning in the 2011-2012 school year, all teachers will assess students accordingly.
Specific department web pages list course frameworks for each course offered. Each course framework is a comprehensive syllabus where course competencies are listed and defined. School wide definitions of terms define the course framework categories.
What is a Course Competency? A course competency is a statement that explains the expected content, concepts, and skills to be mastered in a course.
What is Mastery? This term means that a student has presented and demonstrated sufficient evidence, often multiple times, of attainment of the required course competencies.
What are the foundational resources that the development of curriculum at Winnacunnet High School?
1.) A Vision for 21st Century Learning: This partnership has developed a vision for what can be done to strengthen the American high school. "This vision is the result of a sustained, comprehensive effort to create a shared understanding and common language for education." The result of extensive research includes six elements that must be present for results that matter and apply to all students. A recognition that students must learn a rigorous core curriculum is the first element. Core subjects are defined as English, mathematics, science, foreign language, civics, government, economics, arts, history and geography. The second element includes a focus on 21st century content to include global awareness, financial, economic, business and entrepreneurial literacy, civic literacy, and health and wellness awareness. The third element emphasizes that students must learn to continue learning and thinking throughout thier lifetime and include developing skills in critical thinking, communication, creativity, collaboration, contextual learning and information and media literacy. The fourth element requires students to be technologically literate. The fifth element requires explicit instruction of life skills including leadership, ethics, accountabilty, adaptability, personal productivity, personal responsibility, people skills, self-direction, and social responsibility. The six element addresses authentic assessments that measure all five elements. (Information taken from the Partnership for 21st Century Skills, Results that Matter.) www.21stcenturyskills.org
2). The New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC) is the organization that provides member schools educational standards based upon best practice research in the field of education. The organization provides accreditation services to over 2000 schools and colleges. The seven standards include Core Values and Beliefs, Curriculum, Instruction, Assessment, School Culture and Leadership, School Resources for Learning, and Community Resources for Learning. Definitions of these seven standards can be found at www.neasc.org. Winnacunnet is currently undergoing a two-year self-evaluation and is scheduled for review in March of 2013.
3.) The New Hampshire Minimum Standards for Public School Approval, NH Administrative Rule ED 306, provide all New Hampshire schools with rules that must be met to earn school approval status. These can be found at www.ed.state.nh.us. Additionally, the New Hampshire Department of Education provides leadership to support school improvement efforts and to sustain excellence when it is reached.
4.) Breaking Ranks II: Strategies for Leading High School Reform. This guide provides recommendations to school leaders on how to proceed with school improvement efforts. The recommendations are student-centered, focused on personalization, support services, and intellectual rigor. Copies of this book can be borrowed from the Winnacunnet High School professional library by contacting Jamie Marston at www.winnacunnet.org.