White Mountains Regional High School does it again. This north country school with high poverty and low resources has scored again in the U.S. News and World Report’s rankings as one of the best schools in the State. Superintendent Harry Fensom credits the district’s own efforts to build perseverance – and their early implementation of the Common Core standards, which have the same goal.
When I visited a year ago, Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum Melissa Keenan told me,
“Our teachers are now fully implementing the Common Core. We’ll be fully implemented this year. We’re ahead of schedule. And the teachers are loving it. We’ve developed standards based report cards. We’ve developed some common assessments. We’re working in increments across the grade levels. We’re really pushing teachers to get to know those standards, to identify which ones they don’t understand.
“We also have math and reading specialists who work with our teachers on a weekly basis to help them work through the standards and understand them better.”
Superintendent Fensom added,
“Educators see the value in the Common Core. It’s going to close the gap [between slower and faster learners]. It’s going to reduce the need for remediation. It’s going to make kids better prepared for college”
Here’s what the Union Leader said about White Mountains high today:
Grit — along with optimism, gratitude and zest — have found their way into lesson plans in the White Mountains.
An emphasis on positive dispositions is just one factor that may be responsible for the White Mountains Regional High School being ranked among the best high schools in the state, said Harry Fenson, superintendent of the five-town school district.
Grit is the most important, he said.
“It’s the idea of struggling through and persevering, not giving up,” he said.
Last week, U.S. News & World Report issued a list of the Top 10 high schools in the state….
But the White Mountains school in Whitefield is the standout. It is one of only two schools north of the Notches. And 39 percent of its students are listed as economically disadvantaged.
Fenson said the school:
• contracted with Antioch University New England to train instructors in teaching critical thinking skills;
• integrated Common Core into its curriculum four years ago;
• researched and devised the disposition program on its own;
• and re-oriented the four teaching tracks of the school — college prep, honors, high honors and AP.
Fenson said he’s had flat budgets in four of the last five years.
see the full article at Whitefield school shines in graduation rate rankings