Noble High School Academies

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This is a project I created for a Master's course I am taking in Special Education. I had to investigate a question about student program, and I focused on the changes in Noble High School

This is a project I created for a Master's course I am taking in Special Education. I had to investigate a question about student program, and I focused on the changes in Noble High School

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  • 1. Noble High School and Academy Teaming An Overview by Brittany Dyer RSU# 60 Case Manager and Special Education Teacher
  • 2. The Big Question Why did Noble High School decide to stop using teams that allow students to be with different peers every year and start putting students in academies to stay with that group of students all 4 years of high school?
  • 3. What is Teaming? Teaming is when teachers teaching different subjects work together in one community to develop curriculum, plan, and instruct. This is to give a small group feeling to students. It is also a great way to share resources and create strong support systems (Clark, 1997).
  • 4. What You Need to Know about Teaming Teaming allows teachers to work together to create educational experiences that meet the individual needs of their students. The students are benefited because it indirectly influences their academics, and directly influences their social development. The teachers are benefited because they have strong collaboration with other teachers. They are able to bounce ideas off of each other, while having a better professional development experience (Clark, 1997).
  • 5. A study in 2004 of 77 students from 3 different middle schools showed that, when asked about their perception of teaming, “students felt like trusted members of a community” and that they were “growing in confidence, independence, and tolerance, gaining leadership and collaborative skills, and belonging to a family” ( Boyer, 2004).
  • 6. Why the Interest? When I was at Noble High School as a student, the school was split up into several teams for each grade level. Freshman: White, Maroon, and Grey (based on school colors) Sophomore: Team 1, Team 2, and Team 3 Juniors and Seniors: House 1, House 2, and House 3 (stayed on same team for junior and senior year) Students did not stay with the same group of kids freshman year to sophomore year, and sophomore year to junior year. However, they did stay on the same team for their junior and senior year.
  • 7. ❖ When I came back 4 years later in 2008 to work as an ed. tech, the teams were split up into academies. These academies have their own separate deans, instead of just 1 principal and 2 vice principals for the whole school. The students stay in this academy, with the same students, all 4 years. ❖ Academy I: White Team as Freshman, Team 1 as sophomores, and House 1 as juniors and seniors ❖ Academy II: Grey Team as Freshman, Team 2 as sophomores, and House II as juniors and seniors ❖ Academy III: Maroon Team as Freshman, Team II as sophomores, and House III as juniors and seniors.
  • 8. Non-Mainstream Teams ❖ There are also several teams at Noble that are not included in Mainstreaming: ❖ Team 4: students in special education needing hands on learning styles ❖ Alt./CHOICES: alternative education team for students in regular and special education, providing structure, extra support, and discipline ❖ Team 5: behavior classroom for students having major behavior problems and are in special education ❖ Exceptional Studies: students with severe emotional, learning, and/or physical disabilities
  • 9. Why Did Noble Want to Change? The teachers and administrators were concerned that information of students was not getting passed off from teacher to teacher. Teachers were getting different students who learned different things from the year before. One principal and 1 vice principal were dealing with disciplinary problems, and follow through was in-affective (RSU #60 Professional Development Center Coordinator, February 21, 2010).
  • 10. Making It Happen Noble applied for a small school grant from the Gate’s Foundation. They give money nation wide to mostly inner city schools. At the time, big schools were breaking up into smaller schools. Noble did not want to do that because it would mean that all students wouldn’t have resources available to them. However, they did want a big high school with the learning experience of being in a small high school (RSU #60 Professional Development Center Coordinator, February 20, 2010).
  • 11. How was the Plan Developed? The Principal of Noble at the time was trying to figure out a way to make the school feel like small schools within one big building. He had looked at some models at other schools within the area and used some of the ideas he got from a trip to Thorton Academy towards his planning. By using some of these ideas from different schools, he combined ideas to develop academies. In these academies students stay with the same students and support staff (guidance and deans) all four years of high school in a central area of the building (Noble Assistant Principal, February 24, 2010).
  • 12. “We went to visit some schools that had different themes in the Boston area before going to academies. The idea, while we were in the research stage, was to have 3 academies with different “themes” or strengths that addressed different learning styles. I think in the end, that people were worried that the schools would compete, not have equal educational experiences, and it wasn’t practical because all the academies had to share common resources: library, art, cafe etc” (Noble Special Education Teacher, February 17, 2010).
  • 13. Making the Academy: ❖ Who’s Who? four math teacher for each core class in each grade (usually teachers, four english teachers, three history teachers, and four science teachers) ❖ two special education teachers/case managers ❖ similar guidance staff for majority of students ❖ one Dean ❖ roughly 60-80 students per each grade level ❖ pod or suite like classroom setup ❖ Note: non mainstream classes share deans and guidance counselors with other academies.
  • 14. Deans and Discipline When the new high school opened in September 2001, the school had 1 principal and 2 assistant principals who dealt with discipline. This made it very hard for the 2 assistant principals to follow through, and didn’t allow for relationships with smaller groups of kids. In 2003, the principal decided on 1 assistant principal with 3 deans assigned to “academies”. This was not working well, because the academies were not aligned in the same section of building. Therefore, the deans were running from place to place. In 2004, the principal decided on having vertically aligned academies in the same section of the school with a dean in each academy. This allows for the deans to be in 1 section of the building, but more importantly, allows the deans to get to know the students better (Noble Assistant Principal, February 24, 2010).
  • 15. The Academy Dynamics ❖ Each academy consists of 4 “pods”: 2 adjacent pods down stairs for freshman and sophomores, and two adjacent pods upstairs for juniors and seniors, directly above the underclassmen pods. There is a staircase right outside of the pod to lead to the other communities within the academy. ❖ Team teachers must meet once a week for 80 minutes for professional development, student consultation, and curriculum review. ❖ Teachers share information from teacher to teacher. There are 2 specific people connected to the academy for special education and a specific dean and guidance counselors. ❖ Students stay in academy all 4 years of high school with same group of students, unless they are moved based on an IEP or school conflict.
  • 16. The Pod A community room with 4 surrounding classrooms and a teacher office. There is a pod for each team/grade within the academy
  • 17. The Pros -consistent grouping of kids getting to know each other -teachers know student strengths. -heterogeneous -easier to pass along student information and previous knowledge (PDC Coordinator, February 20, 2010) -high rate of class attendance -lower discipline -lower drop out rates -higher test scores -easier transition (Noble Dean, February 20, 2010)
  • 18. Yearly NHS Indicators # of Incidents 3Vertically 1 Assistant 2 Assistant Aligned Principal Principals Academies and 3 Deans and Deans Indicator 9/01-2/02 9/02-2/03 9/03-2/04 9/04-2/05 9/05-2/06 9/06-2/07 9/07-2/08 9/08-2/09 Days ISS 645 802 335 362 406 395 477 1 Days OSS 778 782 449 305 495 306 316 380 Days Absent 8537 7547 7480 6556 6223 8425 6732 5265 % Absent 8.0% 7.3% 5.9% 5.9% 6.7% 6.9% 6.2% 5.8% Drugs 35 27 13 9 29 11 7 23 Alcahol Class Cuts 1378 946 609 537 289 216 337 344 Bus Referrals 14 75 66 54 56 51 66 32 Harassment 30 47 15 35 68 36 38 17 Violent 86 75 30 41 29 43 23 19 Incidents Language 38 96 24 20 15 25 9 10 (Noble High School, 2010)
  • 19. The Data ❖ The data consists of the years Noble has been in the new building. It is broken up into 3 sections: when there were 2 assistant principals with no academies, when there were 2 assistant principals with 3 deans, and the current set up with vertically aligned academies. ❖ Days of in school suspension we stopped doing this in 2009. The numbers had gone up until we got deans, and then they started dropping. ❖ Days of out of school suspension dramatically dropped when deans were added. ❖ Days Absent dropped after deans were added, with exception of 06-07. ❖ Class Cuts dropped dramatically since addition of vertically aligned academies. ❖ Inappropriate Language dramatically dropped since addition of vertically aligned teams. ❖ Therefore, students are improving in attendance and are getting in trouble less.
  • 20. The Cons According to the PDC Coordinator at Noble High School, there were no complaints from a single staff member. In fact, she said that this was the first school decision that everyone was on board for 100%.
  • 21. In Conclusion This was an amazing experience in which I got to learn a lot about my school district. I want to thank all of my co workers for being so generous with their time and information. Because of their support, I was able to learn a lot more about the academies than I was expecting.
  • 22. Thank You
  • 23. References Boyer, S. J., & Bishop, P. A. (2004). Young adolescent voices: Students' perceptions of interdisciplinary teaming. Research in Middle Level Education Online, 28(1). Retrieved from Clark, S. N.(1997). Exploring the possibilities of interdisciplinary teaming. Childhood Education, 73. Retrieved from Noble High School. (2010). Yearly nhs indicators. Retrieved from Noble Assistant Principal
  • 24. Photography All Photos were taken personally by Brittany Dyer with the permission of Noble High School.