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'Schools of Opportunity' Strengthen Students Beyond Test Scores

'Schools of Opportunity' Strengthen Students Beyond Test Scores

A 2015 pilot project called "Schools of Opportunity" has recognized 17 different high schools for their efforts in strengthening and challenging students through more ways than testing.

"Each high school recognized as 2015 Schools of Opportunity has supported and challenged its students — many of them at-risk — and its teachers, but each story is unique," said The Washington Post.

The pilot program is the work of well-known and respected educator Carol Burris who retired from her position as principal of South Side High School in the Rockville Centre School District in New York after disagreement with Common Core and the state's teacher evaluation procedures.

She retired to focus on education advocacy, and Schools of Opportunity is one of her first endeavors since retirement.

Burris and partner Kevin Welner, a professor at the University of Colorado Boulder’s School of Education, detailed some of their findings from the first year of the program for The Washington Post.

Burris and Welner look at one of the recognized high schools, Sleepy Hollow High School in New York, and explain why such a school should be setting examples for public schools across the country.

"Over the last 15 years, Sleepy Hollow increased AP offerings, participation rates, and scores on AP exams. In 2014, 238 students sat for 481 examinations and 29 percent of Sleepy Hollow students were acknowledged by The College Board for exceptional achievement,"

They found that Sleepy Hollow is doing an outstanding job at ensuring its students are college-ready; "[s]tudents have the opportunity to earn college credits while getting the kind of exposure to challenging coursework that gives them a strong foundation that prepares students for higher education."

Similarly, in another recognized high school, Eastridge High School, students are also prepared for higher education in an equitable way.

"Determined that financial restraints should not get in the way of students taking college-level courses, the district decided that they would foot the bill. All International Baccalaureate and Advanced Placement exams are paid for by the district and [Monroe Community College] courses are at no cost to students and their families."

Burris and Welner are hoping that this pilot program will put high schools giving every student an opportunity to succeed at the forefront of the education conversation.

Read the full story here and comment with your thoughts below.

Article by Nicole Gorman, Education World Contributor

07/15/2015

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