NASSP President Gregg Wieczorek has now visited more than 35 states as part of Leading Forward: The Listening and Learning Tour. In April, he visited schools in Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri, and Oklahoma. Below are brief highlights from the latest stops.
Har-Ber High School, Springdale, AR
Margaret Robinson, Assistant Principal
Thanks to its aviation program, the school provides students with hands-on experience and exposes them to a variety of career opportunities in the field. Current course offerings include Aviation I and II, with a third level planned for next year. After completing the third level course, students will be well on their way to getting their pilot’s license. Students can practice their skills on 15 flight simulators at the school. Students also benefit from partnerships their aviation instructor has developed with two area airports.
Piper Middle School, Kansas City, KS
Steve Mercer, Principal
In the middle of each semester, the counseling team visits classrooms and meets with every student individually for a one-to-two-minute conversation about how the student is doing. The counselors ask a series of questions to determine if the student needs extra academic or emotional support. The team takes a full week to see every sixth grader then another week to meet with the seventh graders. The following week, they finish up with the eighth graders. The purpose of these visits is for the counselors to not only look at the students individually, but also at the school as a whole. If counselors find a number of students experiencing similar challenges, they can be proactive in addressing them.
Liberty High School, Liberty, MO
Dr. April Adams, Principal
Empowering Discovery of the Global Experience (EDGE)
Following the passage of a recent bond referendum, the district set aside $1 million for innovation. Some of that money went to Liberty High School to implement the principal’s plan to renovate the former fine arts area into a space for EDGE. The facility is open concept, with some space for traditional teaching, but most of the instruction is for cross-curricular, collaborative, and self-paced learning. Students take all their core classes and some of their electives in the program. To take ownership of their learning, students fill out lists that let teachers know what they will be working on during the week. The three teachers (who are referred to as facilitators rather than instructors) assigned to EDGE have developed competency-based assessments to give the students an authentic learning experience. All of the projects, instruction/facilitation, and lessons help prepare students for a global society.
Booker T. Washington High School, Tulsa, OK
Dr. Melissa Woolridge, Principal
World language lab
The world language lab on campus allows teachers to communicate with students in a variety of ways: individually, with the entire class, or with small groups. The school offers classes in Chinese, French, German, Japanese, and Spanish. The lab has 32 individual stations, each equipped with a computer and headphones. The students can practice their speaking skills and receive feedback from the computer or from a teacher. All of the sessions are recorded so teachers can review students’ responses and provide targeted instruction.