Andover Townsman, Andover, MA


June 13, 2013

AHS scores official seal

With accreditation secured, now real work begins


Though she prefers the term “future learning,” Superintendent of Schools Marinel McGrath said the 21st century learning model bases itself around four key, C-lettered terms: communication, collaboration, critical thinking and creativity.

As it stands, the high school now models its core values around three other Cs: character, curiosity and community.

“We have to find, in our strategic plan and through our core values, the mission and vision, the four Cs, and the high school has three,” she said. “In many of our courses, this is embedded. It’s just not embedded in all our courses.”

Second is to “establish a targeted level of performance on the school-wide rubrics.” The third item calls for the school to “ensure the consistent use of school-wide rubrics to assess student learning and achievement in alignment with 21st century learning expectations.”

All three items are “an application to real-world learning, that they aren’t just learning for what I call ‘ram, remember and regurgitate,’ those three Rs,” McGrath said. “You can actually see they’re doing something with learning — that’s future ready.”

Item four urges the school to develop a plan where “each student has an adult in the school, in addition to the school counselor, who knows the student well and assists the student.”

That goal is already well in the works, Lord said, and even has a name.

“We’re calling it the Community Building Block,” Lord said. “Fourteen-, 15-year-olds really need a place to go. They’re detaching from their parents a bit. We’re starting to put something together, some adult training initially.”

Though the Community Building Block is only in its early planning stages, the pseudo-advisory period could be implemented as early as next year’s second semester.

The fifth item calls for creating a “comprehensive professional development plan” that ties together “best practices both within the school day and during designated professional-development and early-release days.”

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