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Mariner Moment Sneak Peek: DISHS to Present at NESSC Conference

posted Mar 10, 2012, 10:58 AM by Todd West

DISHS Teachers Invited to Represent Maine at Regional Conference

by (Todd West, Principal)

I am honored to report that the New England Secondary School Consortium (NESSC) has asked Deer Isle-Stonington High School to present at the Spring 2012 “High School Redesign in Action” Conference March 22-23 in Norwood, Massachusetts. DISHS is one of three Maine high schools that has been invited to present at this prestigious regional conference.

The conference's target audience is 450 educators, parents, students, and policy-makers from across New England and the country who attend because the bulk of the conference's activities are focused on opportunities to share successful practices and learn from real educators in real schools what works and why. Every year the NESSC leadership (comprised of state Commissioners of Education, lead Department of Education personnel, legislators, and state Board of Education members) asks three high schools to showcase one specific strategy they have found to be particularly effective in improving learning for secondary school students.

The NESSC describes itself as “a pioneering partnership committed to fostering forward-thinking innovations in the design and delivery of secondary education across the New England region. The five partner states of Connecticut, Maine, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont believe that our bold vision, shared goals, and innovative strategies will empower us to close persistent achievement gaps, promote greater educational equity and opportunity for all students, and lead our educators into a new era of secondary schooling.” The NESSC also oversees the League of Innovative Schools, of which DISHS is a charter member.

I will be presenting with three other members of DISHS's Leadership Team on using data, Professional Learning Communities, and teacher leadership to guide school improvement efforts. The other presenting teachers are English/social studies teacher Marion Austin, reading teacher Judith Hotchkiss, and science teacher Seth Laplant.

A major focus of the presentation will be how the creation and development of teacher-led Professional Learning Communities has increased student achievement at DISHS, as evidenced by 23%-28% increased in the number of student proficient on reading, language usage, and math tests from the spring of 2010 to February 2012. The establishment of a Student Assistance Team and Learning Center to reduce the dropout rate from over 10% in 2009 to 1.74% last year will ask be showcased.

This is quite an honor for the high school and once again speaks to the idea that the improvement work happening locally is catching the attention of other schools in Maine and New England.

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