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Posted September 23, 2016

Hitting it out of the park

Supt. Reedy went to one of the district's most successful schools to find out what they're doing right.

Students at CCHS

What can we learn from one of our own?  College and Career High School is hitting it out of the park. This APS school of choice is garnering local, state, even national attention for its innovative approach to education and its great success rate.

College and Career High School is hitting it out of the park. This APS school of choice is garnering local, state, even national attention for its innovative approach to education and its great success rate. I’ve mentioned this school before when I attended its graduation in May and watched 52 graduates walk across the stage with more than 1,600 college credits under their belt. The cost of completing all of these credits normally would be around $84,000; for our students, it was free.

I’ve mentioned this school before when I attended its graduation in May and watched 52 graduates walk across the stage with more than 1,600 college credits under their belt. The cost of completing all of these credits normally would be around $84,000; for our students, it was free. CCHS is unique – a small, dual-credit high school located on the CNM campus. Created in partnership with CNM, CCHS has the advantage of serving a tight-knit student population with similar aspirations and goals.

CCHS is unique – a small, dual-credit high school located on the CNM campus. Created in partnership with CNM, CCHS has the advantage of serving a tight-knit student population with similar aspirations and goals. But in many ways, it’s not that different than other APS schools. Most of the students at College and Career High qualify for free or reduced-price meals, many are the first in their families to take college classes, some grew up speaking Spanish or another language other than English, others struggle in math or language arts or science.

But in many ways, it’s not that different than other APS schools. Most of the students at College and Career High qualify for free or reduced-price meals, many are the first in their families to take college classes, some grew up speaking Spanish or another language other than English, others struggle in math or language arts or science. So we went those at CCHS -- an APS principal, an APS dean, APS teachers, an APS counselor, even a few APS students -- to ask what they’re doing at their school that others might be able to emulate despite their differences. 

So we went those at CCHS -- an APS principal, an APS dean, APS teachers, an APS counselor, even a few APS students -- to ask what they’re doing at their school that others might be able to emulate despite their differences. To be honest, no one said anything we haven’t heard before, or that many of you aren’t already doing. On the other hand, it doesn’t hurt to listen to peers who are enjoying great success. It might be just what you need for inspiration and motivation.

To be honest, no one said anything we haven’t heard before, or that many of you aren’t already doing. On the other hand, it doesn’t hurt to listen to peers who are enjoying great success. It might be just what you need for inspiration and motivation. Here goes:

Here goes:

  • Build relationships with students by learning where they come from as well as where they want to go.
  • Create inviting classrooms and other learning spaces where students are welcome at any time during the school day (including during lunch).
  • Allow students to make choices.    
  • Use the tools that are available to you. At CCHS, this includes TI Inspire calculators, SpringBoard workbooks and Promethean boards.
  • Keep learning, and sometimes that means on your own time.
  • Talk to your colleagues, not just the ones who teach the same grades or subjects, but also those who might have had different experiences and points of view.
  • Be innovative.
  • Don’t be afraid of failure (“We’ve made a lot of mistakes,” said CCHS Dean of Students Karen Krall. “But we are willing to change and adjust.”)
  • Set high expectations for students and then give them support to meet those expectations.
  • Recognize trends and stay on top of them.
  • Seek and listen to feedback.
  • Partner with other institutions, local businesses, community organizations. You don’t have to do this alone!  
  • Take time to reflect on what’s working and also on what’s not.
  • Pat yourself or a colleague on the back for a job well done.

Like I said, nothing revolutionary, but definitely positive advice. Are you already doing these things in your schools? Kudos to you. I know so many of you are working just as hard as the folks as CCHS, and I appreciate all of you who do what it takes to help our students succeed.

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