Listening Post

KEY MESSAGES

Received from the Listening Posts Forum
Held March 2, 2006
At Capital High School

Compiled by the Facilitators of the topics

KEY MESSAGE OVERALL FROM ALL TOPICS:

Increase accuracy and consistency of information from all sources.

Topic: Academic Assistance and Tutoring

  1. Provide online access to grades and assignments.
  2. Provide automatic notification if grade falls below a "C". Mid-term progress reports are not enough.
  3. Provide syllabus with projected due dates of major assignments, not just a course description/grading policy.
  4. Offer homework help rooms before and after school.
  5. Increase repeated communications about homework help options: on the webpage, in the newsletter, and in handouts given to parents and orientations and other parent information nights.

Topic: Communication between Families and School

  1. The CHS Website is an important focal point of communication and should continue to have support in order to remain current and be able to expand in subject matter. In addition, explore ways parents can be repeatedly encouraged to access it.
  2. On the website, include information about what has been occurring on campus or in school that could be perceived by parents to relate to student safety, such as emergency or police calls. It isn't necessary to include names or details, just accurate, general information about what is happening on campus so parents do not have to rely on the rumor mill for this kind of information.
  3. Provide parents on-line access to grades, assignments and other student information.
  4. Clarify and repeatedly communicate protocols for contacting school, counselors, and teachers (via letters, website, newsletter, parent meetings, etc.)
  5. Make individual contact with non-English speaking parents to provide information regarding how/who to contact for translation services. Consider offering a special telephone message contact number to non-English speakers.
  6. Improve teachers' return of telephone calls.
  7. When using the automatic phone call system, extend the beginning introduction to allow for cut-off, repeat key information, and include reminder of the website.

Topic: Culminating Project

  1. Ensure that the Culminating Project provides clear value and purpose to students, rather than just being another graduation requirement.
  2. Consistently communicate this value and purpose to students, parents and teachers.
  3. Clarify and communicate standards and expectations. Provide ideas and examples from other schools and other students.
  4. Provide options to start the Culminating Project in 9th, 10th and 11th grade, including summers, and finishing in 12th grade. Communicate these options to teachers, students and parents.
  5. Address needs of students who may fall in the "Achievement Gap" to provide support for their success.
  6. Define roll of "Project Advisor". Clarify the rules for choosing or being assigned a Project Advisor, and methods for changing Project Advisors if needed.
  7. Offer a class for students who need more help with this project. Offer the class in summer school as well, for students who want to work on it over the summer and/or do not have room in their schedules for it during the school year.

Topic: Four Year Plan

  1. Communicate to teachers, students and parents the value and purpose of the Four Year Plan in order to make it as useful as possible.

Topic: International Baccalaureate

  1. The IB program provides a valuable, quality education and should be kept.
  2. Clarify and communicate the IB requirements and options available to students.
  3. Work to accommodate IB students who take other classes like band, music, and theater.
  4. Redesign IB and pre-IB so that it is not elitist and all students have rigorous classes.
  5. Accommodate all the students who want to take advanced classes.
  6. Provide more advanced math options.
  7. Provide more advanced courses for a broader range of students-occupational education, fine arts, more science selections.

Topic: Occupational Education

  1. Provide opportunities to meet the Occ. Ed. Requirements in existing classes rather than requiring extra classes (like the Library Tech. Program.)
  2. Increase support of students going to the New Market Skills Center by improving transportation and awards/recognition.
  3. Provide opportunities to meet the Occ. Ed. Requirements in the 9th and 10th grades.
  4. For students who are full IB, create ways those students could meet Occ. Ed in existing classes rather than requiring them to go outside of CHS.
  5. Provide more choices for 9th and 10th graders in the occupational education curriculum.

Topic: Rigor, Relevance, Respect and Relationships

Overall

There is a lot of trust between the students and their teachers.

Rigor
  1. Increase rigor in non-IB classes.
  2. Increase communication of the value and rigor of non-IB program. (When the IB program is seen as rigorous, but the non-IB is seen as not, then students who are not in IB label themselves as dumb. Non-IB is seen as not as valuable an education.)
  3. Increase accountability of non-IB staff for low class averages and for intervening with kids who are struggling.
Relevance
  1. Make sure class offerings are responsive to students' first choices and increase flexibility to make changes in schedule.
Respect
  1. Increase respect among all relationships.
  2. In particular, increase sense of respect and relationship between students and administrators.
  3. Focus on problem solving rather than punishment. Avoid punishing all students in response to actions of some.
Relationships
  1. Administration needs to acknowledge and address the real problems in the school, i.e. drugs, bullying.
  2. Increase quality of relationships between administrators and students.

Topic: WASL

  1. Faculty who have been doing so should continue their efforts to prepare kids for the test, including sharing rubrics, and more of this would be helpful.
  2. Maintain richness in education in the quest to prepare kids for the WASL.
  3. Provide refreshers for the 10th graders who had the WASL math too long ago to be ready for the test.
  4. Provide parents and students current, accurate information about the WASL from the school and from the state.
State-Level Issues
  1. Maintain high standards.
  2. Provide alternative ways for students who demonstrate their learning in different ways to prove their understanding.
  3. If students are being held accountable, the educational system must be held accountable as well.
  4. Provide more flexibility in the time and timing for the test.
  5. Address concerns about the effects WASL scores will have on college admissions.