High School Redesign All Supporting Initiatives

All Supporting Initiatives

MAPP and On Track are two of the most essential supporting initiatives upon which the academies will be based.  Exhibit 8 below outlines many others.


Exhibit 8: Supporting Initiatives, Linked to District Priorities

Initiative Explanation
High Quality Core Curriculum & Powerful Practices Invest in sustained, recursive professional learning that enables teachers to have choice and voice in curricular design aligned to standards to accelerate the improvement of instruction across schools.  Develop a common understanding of what to expect in an effective classroom and provide professional learning and coaching centered on these powerful practices.
Instructional Coaching Invest in individual supports for teacher success at the high school level, with a focus on frequent, bite-sized coaching to transform instruction from traditional teacher as deliverer of content to a student-centered, applied learning approach.
Co-teaching to support students with disabilities and English Learners Invest in co-teaching arrangements among special education teachers and content area teachers.  Provide co-planning time and professional development to support a collaborative, shared ownership approach to provide accommodations and modifications for students with disabilities.

Also invest in co-teaching arrangements among ESL teachers and content area teachers focused on explicit language development within the richness of content instruction.  Provide ESL specific professional learning to make classrooms language rich and effective instructional environments for students at a range of language development levels.

Multi-Tiered System of Student Supports Define a tiered system of academic, social emotional and behavior supports and interventions to support the range of learning needs for all students.  Invest in understanding and meeting students’ individual needs to ensure they have access to all educational options.
Workplace Competencies in the 21st century Adopt a set of 21st century workplace readiness competencies.  Develop systems and opportunities to ensure that students in all academies develop the competencies to be prepared for career and college success.
Project-based Learning including Capstone Projects Develop expertise in project-based learning, which requires students to acquire deeper learning by solving real-world challenges and can increase students’ interest and meaning in the task.  Use capstone projects in particular for students to demonstrate mastery of academic and non-academic standards.
Initiative Explanation
Explicit Focus on Relationships Develop explicit plans to strengthen and expand student/educator relationships.  Key components of relationship building include knowing students as individuals, students being “on track” and students building their future career and college plans.  Additionally, elevate student voice in school design.
“On Track” methodology As outlined in the plan above, academies will adopt an “On Track” methodology to increase engagement of students and families with keeping students successful each marking period. Research has shown passing core content courses, especially early in one’s high school career, makes graduating very likely.
Career & College Planning Complementing On Track, the MAPP process identified earlier in section 2 helps students and families develop a vision for the student’s future and a path in high school and beyond that will allow the student to achieve those goals.
Initiative Explanation
Common Professional Collaboration Time Adjust the schedule to create a common time each week for professional collaboration and development among high school staff.  This will facilitate more intentional collaboration and planning between academy design teams, content areas, and with general education and special education and/or ELL teachers.
Co-Planning & Co-Teaching Invest in co-planning and co-teaching to differentiate learning supports for students who are English language learners and students with disabilities.
Developing Excellent Educators and Teacher Teams Implement a coordinated approach for developing and coaching excellent educators and teacher teams, which will include frequent, actionable feedback for teachers and creating 6-8 week professional development cycles.  All should be aligned to standards and the school’s instructional focus and powerful practice.
Teacher Leadership Design purposeful teacher leadership roles focused on instruction and student support, within each academy. Identify and position advanced instructors so they may act as “spotlights” highlighting specific best practices and supporting colleagues.


Initiative Explanation
Academy Design Teams Facilitate Academy Design Teams of HPS teachers, leaders, and staff, as well as community, and university partners to develop the programming for each academy.  Create multiple opportunities for input from students and families.
School-wide Culture System Establish a school-wide culture approach that is common across all high school campuses.  Ensure that all students feel welcome, valued, and known.  Analyze multiple systems including whether the Restorative Justice program begun at Holyoke High School can expand to be a school-wide culture system.
Coordinated Supports for Social, Emotional, and Family Needs Define the roles and relationships among positions that support students’ social, emotional, and family needs.  Define processes to ensure that all such positions and partnerships are highly coordinated in support of students and families.
Systems & Structures Team Facilitate one team across all academies and schools to align structures and systems with the academy model including:

●   Shifting to semester-long courses instead of year-long courses

●   Scheduling options including 7 period, 8 period, and block schedules

●   Scheduling flexibility to create collaborative professional time

Work with Academy Design Teams to streamline current course offerings and align them to academy model.