Executive Summary. Cleveland Early College High School

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1 Cleveland County School System Mrs. Holly Robinson, Principal 137 S Post Rd Shelby, NC Document Generated On December 10, 2013

2 TABLE OF CONTENTS Introduction 1 Description of the School 2 School's Purpose 4 Notable Achievements and Areas of Improvement 6 Additional Information 8

3 Introduction Every school has its own story to tell. The context in which teaching and learning takes place influences the processes and procedures by which the school makes decisions around curriculum, instruction, and assessment. The context also impacts the way a school stays faithful to its vision. Many factors contribute to the overall narrative such as an identification of stakeholders, a description of stakeholder engagement, the trends and issues affecting the school, and the kinds of programs and services that a school implements to support student learning. <br><br> The purpose of the Executive Summary (ES) is to provide a school with an opportunity to describe in narrative form the strengths and challenges it encounters. By doing so, the public and members of the school community will have a more complete picture of how the school perceives itself and the process of self-reflection for continuous improvement. This summary is structured for the school to reflect on how it provides teaching and learning on a day to day basis. Page 1

4 Description of the School Describe the school's size, community/communities, location, and changes it has experienced in the last three years. Include demographic information about the students, staff, and community at large. What unique features and challenges are associated with the community/communities the school serves? is located on the Cleveland Community College campus in Shelby, North Carolina within Cleveland County. Our school serves 9-13 grades and is comprised of 222 students of which 134 (60%) are Caucasian, 53 (24%) are African American, 4 (.02%) are Asian/Pacific Islander, 13 (.06%) are bi-racial, 18 (.08%) are Hispanic; 132 (59%) receive free or reduced lunch. Our school is made up of students from the 4 Cleveland County Schools' zones: Burns High School, Crest High School, Kings Mountain High School, and Shelby High School. Eighth grade students across our county are informed about our school through recruitment sessions and are given opportunities during the last part of first semester and the first part of second semester to come in for information meetings. The students apply for admission to which consists of student information and recommendations from community members and educators. The students go through an interview before their name is put into a lottery system which chooses the make-up of the next cohort. Special consideration is given to students who would be first-generation college graduates and who receive free and/or reduced lunch. The staff is made up of 2 teachers from each content area: 2 English teachers, 2 history teachers, 2 math teachers, and 2 science teachers. Out of our 8 academic teachers, 4 have master's degrees and 2 are National Board Certified Teachers. The career development coordinator will finish her master's degree in December. Our staff consists of 16 staff members: 13 (81%) are Caucasians and 3 (19%) are African Americans. One of the unique challenges associated with the community the school serves is the size of our county. Since our school has students from across a sizable area, geography can be a challenge for some of our students and parents. If the students have unreliable transportation, there are times during our school year when it will be difficult for them to get to school. CECHS runs shuttle buses from the zone schools every morning and afternoon school is in session. Students can ride yellow buses from their homes to the zone schools when the zone schools are in session. There are two weeks at the beginning of the year when yellow buses are not available to our students because the regular schools have not started school. CECHS is on the community college calendar, so our students start high school a full two weeks before the other schools in the county. Many of our students at CECHS are first-generation college students. Having the skills and support necessary to be successful in a college setting is challenging for all CECHS students. The staff strives to support the students in their college classes by offering tutoring support groups, peer tutors, access to computers and reliable Internet, and communication with the parents about college performance and behavior. Communication between college instructors and CECHS faculty is challenging at best. As it is in many academic settings, some instructors are more willing than others to communicate about students. CECHS tries to include the college faculty in all open houses, product displays, expert panels and presentations. The goal of CECHS faculty and staff is to be able to present a united front with the college and instructors. We will keep moving in that direction because it is what is best for our students. Last year, CECHS experienced the first administration change. Dr. Anita Ware, who opened the school in 2008, left to take a position at the Central Office as Director of Secondary Instruction. The current principal, Holly Robinson, was the original English teacher and taught at CECHS for two years from Change is always challenging, but the faculty and staff of CECHS is dedicated to academic Page 2

5 excellence and high expectations for all students. Page 3

6 School's Purpose Provide the school's purpose statement and ancillary content such as mission, vision, values, and/or beliefs. Describe how the school embodies its purpose through its program offerings and expectations for students. North Carolina Mission Statement: The guiding mission of the North Carolina State Board of Education is that every public school student will graduate from high school, globally competitive for work and post-secondary education and prepared for life in the 21st Century. Cleveland County Mission Statement: Cleveland County Schools will equip all students with the knowledge and skills to become productive citizens in a globally competitive world by partnering with our community to provide appropriate educational experiences. Cleveland County Vision Statement: To fully equip students by striving to be one of the 10 best performing districts in the state. Vision: believes that rigorous, relevant learning experiences and sound interpersonal relationships prepare students for technological challenges and meaningful, purposeful living in the 21st Century. The mission of is to provide a challenging, student-centered program of studies fostering academic excellence, an understanding of life and work in the 21st Century, and the personal, professional, and social development of all students. CECHS has a goal to provide students a challenging 21st century learning environment where they can develop the skills necessary to be competitive in today's rapidly changing world. We begin by diagnosing areas of need and use targeted strategies to improve student and educator performance. Every student at is known by all of his or her teachers. Those close interpersonal relationships are essential for social and academic success. Our schedule is designed to support student success. Students have four seventy-five minute blocks of instruction each day. They receive academic support during seminar where they have access to computers and supplies for creating projects and presentations. Students have a thirty minute block of time each day called CREW. In CREW, they are with other grade level students and one teacher. This teacher becomes an advocate for those students in high school and in college classes. There is a different activity each day for CREW: physical activity, college check in, math/science day, English/history day. The students do not have CREW on Fridays. On every Friday, students participate in Socratic seminar about topics chosen by students or staff. This gives the students the opportunity to think critically and deeply about a topic while having a structured discussion about a text, article, song, painting, video, cartoon, etc. All teachers are provided with ninety minutes of planning Monday through Thursday and two hours of planning on Fridays. The teachers design three or four interdisciplinary intensives each year which use the Common Core and Essential Standards, cooperative learning, authentic products for a targeted audience, and presentations. On Fridays, the faculty meets as a staff for staff development. The focus this year is on standards based grading and school-wide writing. The teachers developed a multi-year writing plan and are in the process of implementing it. On September 4, 2013, the students were given a school-wide writing prompt. Using a common rubric, the teachers graded the students noting areas of strength and weakness. By grade level, the teachers developed goals for writing and strategies to use across the curriculum to support students in writing. In March 2014, the students will take another school-wide writing assessment to measure the success of the strategies. CECHS is in the process of implementing a Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports program. The teachers came up with desired behaviors for every location in the building and taught expectations to the students during the first few weeks of school. Teachers use a points system for keeping up with student behavior, and students are rewarded on a predictable schedule for reaching those behavior goals. Page 4

7 The Early College High School Initiative represents a bold idea: that places where high school and college meet can provide the personalized, coherent education and meaningful credentials that set young people on a path to success in work, college, and life. The focus of early college high schools is to develop college going aspirations in their students and a college-going culture in the school. Cleveland Early High School students have the opportunity to earn a high school diploma and an Associate's Degree (or 2 years of transferable college credit) in 5 years of study. We have smaller high school classes than the regular high school classes where we provide the support necessary for high school and college success. Our students work in cooperative learning groups and experience project-based learning in all classes. The students receive tuition-free college credit and textbooks and have the opportunity to get more than 65 college credits. Page 5

8 Notable Achievements and Areas of Improvement Describe the school's notable achievements and areas of improvement in the last three years. Additionally, describe areas for improvement that the school is striving to achieve in the next three years. Achievements and Improvements: - Since the school year, CECHS has consistently had the highest performance composite in the county. Even this year with the change to the Common Core and Essential Standards, CECHS had the highest performance composite in Cleveland County. - We have consistently shown growth on the ACT in the last two years (our students have only taken the test the last two years) moving from 48.9% to 70.5% on the English Benchmark, from 42.2% to 52.3% on the math benchmark, and from 35.6% to 45.5% on the reading benchmark. - The enrollment of 9th graders has increased from 50 to 60 students since the school moved into the new building. - On End-of-Course exams (biology, math 1, and English 2) our students met or exceeded expected growth according to the School Teaching Effectiveness Summary in EVAAS. - During the school year according to the NC Schools Report Card, our school was recognized as an Honor School of Excellence for high growth. For the school year, CECHS was recognized as a Honor School of Excellence for expected growth. During the school year, CECHS was recognized as an Honor School of Excellence for expected growth % of our classrooms are connected to the Internet and all students have access to computers % of our classes are taught by highly qualified teachers. - Senior projects are done in groups of 3-5 students and are service oriented. Each group has a mentor who guides the project, they raise money to purchase items needed for the project, and they do a presentation to a panel of community members who use a rubric to grade the project. - Our teachers have presented at national Expeditionary Learning Conferences in Oregon and Georgia. They have also presented at the NC New Schools Project summer institute twice. Areas for Improvement: - The communication between the community college, the high school and parents is an area of focus for our improvement plans. We have a procedure in place for sharing progress, but the instructors do not always participate on time. We are inviting them into our building to watch presentations, attend open houses, and to observe our teachers. - CECHS has a school-wide writing plan being implemented this school year. The base-line assessment was given to students on September 4, 2013, the staff used a common rubric to grade the papers, strengths and weaknesses were noted, goals were set for each content area, strategies for improving writing are being taught, and the post assessment will be given to students on March 26, Improving ACT scores is a CECHS goal for this year. The faculty is using Triumph College Admissions in seminar classes. - Raising the amount of scholarship money earned by our students and helping them navigate the paperwork, interviews, and deadlines is a goal for our college liaison and counselor. - The SAT score in 2012 dropped from 1515 in 2012 to 1362 in The faculty and staff came up with goals for improving those scores along with the ACT scores. Writing across all content areas and the computer program TCA are two ways to improve student familiarity with the types of questions and the length of the test. - We are in the process of updating our mission to reflect the recent change in administration and teachers. Everything about our high school is different from the way we teach to the types of professional development we receive, and our mission should read differently than the other high schools in our area. The goal is to use all stakeholders to create a mission for CECHS. Page 6

9 Page 7

10 Additional Information Provide any additional information you would like to share with the public and community that were not prompted in the previous sections. Located in Shelby, North Carolina, was organized using stakeholders from around Cleveland County who served on a county-wide planning committee starting in The early college high school is a rigorous school environment where all students are expected to engage in college level work during high school. The early college instructional day is longer than the traditional high school, and students have a variety of opportunities for academic support and leadership development throughout the five-year program. Students are involved in community service throughout their high school experience culminating in a group graduation project that is service centered. Early college high school is a bold approach, based on the principle that academic rigor, combined with the opportunity to save time and money, is a powerful motivator for students to work hard and meet serious intellectual challenges. Early college high schools blend high school and college in a rigorous yet supportive program compressing the time it takes to complete high school diploma and the first two years of college. The school opened its doors to 50 ninth-grade students in August of 2008 after many months of recruitment, hiring and planning. During the first few years, the Early College occupied an older wing of Cleveland Community College made up of 8 classrooms, a lab and an office area. The original staff consisted of one English teacher, one history teacher, one math teacher, one science teacher, a counselor, a receptionist, a college liaison and a principal. Each year, we expanded by adding a grade level until we were at full capacity with eight academic teachers, one career development coordinator, one counselor, one receptionist, one data manager, one teacher's assistant, two custodians and one principal. The County Commissioners, the Cleveland Community College Foundation and Cleveland County Schools started plans in 2008 for a new conference center which would house the Early College and Continuing Education for CCC. Each entity pledged 3 million dollars to the complete the project. In the fall of 2012, started the fall semester on the bottom floor of the new LeGrand Center on the campus of CCC. remains dedicated to producing students who possess the necessary skills and knowledge to become successful and productive citizens. Led by highly qualified and dedicated administrators and educators, is committed to upholding Cleveland County Schools' mission to equip "all students with the knowledge and skills to become productive citizens in a globally competitive world." employs diagnostic testing and school-wide writing in all classes and uses those results to guide its instructional needs. In doing so, the school is student data driven and places its professional learning targets on areas that will improve learning in all content areas. At, students exposed to technology, 21st century learning, interdisciplinary learning projects, and cooperative learning groups. Our teachers are dedicated to creating an environment where all students are challenged by rigorous courses, relevant experiences, and relationships with adults who hold them to the highest expectations The Idea for Early Colleges came from the NC New Schools Project which was funded in part by money from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. The Early College Initiative was designed to decrease the drop-out rate, decrease suspensions through building relationships, decrease course and grade-level failures through increased and focused support, increase graduation rates, increase preparation for work and college, and increase economic opportunities. is also an Expeditionary Learning - Outward Bound School. Expeditionary Learning schools promote hands-on teaching and learning to engage students in compelling topics and create a life-long love of learning. Expeditionary Learning also promotes a school culture that demands and teaches compassion and good citizenship. The EL curriculum is framed around Learning Intensives which are in-depth, inter-disciplinary investigations of a compelling topic. Projects and authentic products assess student learning along with more traditional assessment measures. Our teachers receive professional development which allows them to use engaging classroom practices where authentic learning takes place both in and out of the classroom/school. The school culture is focused on making Page 8

11 sure that "Every student is college ready." All students prepared to meet state university entrance requirements. Page 9

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