This post is part of the series Road Trip to Maine. This is the last of a four-part look at Casco Bay High School. Read Part One for Tips and Takeaways, Part Two for Learning as Exploration, and Part Three for the What and How of Learning.
As is the case with everything at Casco Bay High School, the system of supports is designed around making sure every student can participate in support (i.e., access). It is designed to be meaningful whether you are a student learning English, have an IEP, are struggling to get a “meets” (i.e., proficiency), or are generating a 4.0 in the academic grades by constantly producing work that gets an “exceed.” Support doesn’t happen once in awhile – it is embedded throughout every part of the Casco Bay High School experience.
Several staff members mentioned that “we shape our school by our learning.” That seems particularly true as I pull together all the different strategies they mentioned to engage and support students to ensure they are making progress:
Crew: Every student is in a Crew they stick with throughout their high school experience. The design of Crew is to have a team of people who are dedicated to your success and will have your back if you start to stumble. This is a very powerful strategy that unleashes the leadership of the students to wrap another layer of support around their schoolmates. The advisors in Crew monitor how students are doing and set up conferences early enough in the year so there is time to make adjustments as needed.
Student Support Team: Grade level teams review student progress to see how students are doing across the disciplines and make adjustments as needed. The student support team meets with grade level teams when a student is identified as having some troubles. They review the discussions about the student, see what has been tried, identify the concerns, and then engage parents and students.
Academic Support: The schedule is organized so that students have approximately three hours per week of extra support. It’s not a random study hall – teacher teams are assigned to about 100 kids who need extra help. For those excelling in school, there are organized efforts as well as book clubs in the ninth and tenth grade for kids who can’t get through enough books fast enough.
Block 7: Need more support? Every day after school is a time set aside for students to get extra help.
Extra Time: If students have a 3 on the Big 3 Habits of Work (attendance, homework, and deadlines) they have free access to extra support. If their HOW is less than 3, there is a sliding scale. Casco is never going to turn a student away, but they want to have logical consequences.
- Mud Season: In March, students have two three-hour sessions to spend more time on topics that are difficult for them.
- Summer school: Casco offers a “trimester” for students with a 2+ at the end of the third trimester to provide more time to get “meets” on the specific standards they are missing.
There are also three other strategies I would mention: (more…)