Last week, our communities became highly engaged in dialog about the Harwood Union Middle/High School Redesign Project. High schools throughout Vermont are engaging in similar conversations, and even debates, within their communities. Never before in my 30 years of practice has there been so much pressure from the state and federal level to "transform" public education, to close the achievement gap, and to better prepare the youth of today for college, career and life beyond secondary school.
Community members, parents, staff, students, administrators, and board members in our six towns in the WWSU will need to become informed and then consider a number of initiatives, best practices in education, and environmental redesigns. Ultimately, we will determine together what needs to change and why, how we will go about changing it, and ultimately how we will measure success moving forward. Change for change sake or embracing all that's in vogue in public education to stay "cutting edge" should not be our direction. Furthermore, change cannot occur in a vacuum, without careful consideration about the context of change beyond our control, and how the "new us" might interface, especially with post secondary education and the workplace.
I am providing you today, with a letter from the administrators at HUHS, in an effort to keep the communication in our communities informed, up to date, and transparent. A process map was also developed. I have included a link below (I think, as my tech skills could have possibly failed me) or you can find the process map on the HUHS website.
Thank you in advance for your ongoing participation, interest, and dedication. By working together we can make our local high school even more relevant, successful, and truly outstanding. Please do not hesitate to contact me anytime.
Harwood Union Middle/High School
458 VT Route 100
South Duxbury, Vermont 05660
FAX (802) 882-1199
Lisa Atwood, Co-Principal Michael Woods, Director of Student Services
Amy Rex, Co-Principal Sue Duprat, Activities/Athletic Director
January 6, 2014
Dear Harwood Community:
The recent dialog and engagement surrounding the Harwood Union Middle and High School Redesign Project has brought much attention to our 7-12 middle/high school. This investment in the change process within our community at large will positively contribute to our future successes. As we move forward together, it is essential that we keep this dialog going. The Harwood Union Faculty and Staff; Administration and School Board are committed to regular, ongoing, transparent communication as we continue to build our redesign plan.
It is the goal of the Harwood Union Middle and High School to provide all students with a world-class education built on rigor, relevance and relationships and designed to fulfill the aspirations of each student. To this end, three areas of focus are being examined with the intent to fine-tune and/or redesign HU programs to achieve our goal: 1.) mission, vision and core values; 2.) shared leadership; and 3.) curriculum, instruction and assessment.
In March of 2013, we outlined the structural changes necessary to support the creation of a cohesive school-wide system that maximizes opportunities for all students. These included:
1. Student Support Services
2. Student Discipline – Student Management Structure
3. The 9th Grade Community
4. Teacher Advisory – TA
The current HU Action Plan is aligned with these systems changes and it continues to be a work in progress. Beginning in the summer and throughout the fall, we embarked on a process to articulate a vision for Harwood Union. The purpose of the vision is to capitalize on our strengths while providing greater continuity; a clarity of focus, an understanding of our beliefs and values and a renewed sense of accountability in order to better prepare our students to be the very kind of citizens, scholars, and professionals our society needs. The greatest change to Harwood teaching and learning and college and career readiness programs will be that they will be collectively designed and delivered to support optimum success for every student regardless of their aspirations. The first event to solicit community input in the development of our core beliefs and values was not well attended; however we hope to expand participation as we review results from the first session and embark on adopting a final draft later this spring.
At this point in time, our attention is on shared leadership and the 9th grade Community. The 9th grade is the gateway to high school and thus to the educational shifts that are taking place at Harwood. This includes a flexible learning environment; proficiency-based graduation requirements that reflect high standards of achievement for every learner; and personal learning plans that will allow students to identify their own trajectory, and pursue their special interests and talents while demonstrating a high level of achievement. It will include structures that support all students in their academic, career, and personal/social development allowing and guiding them to make informed choices about their goals and manage their own learning options. To this end, we are examining ways to structure our ninth grade community so that all students have access to a high quality curricula along with the support they need to develop and carry out their learning plan, while demonstrating proficiency in all identified areas.
Attached to this letter is the 9th Grade Community Process Map. The map outlines when and how stakeholders can receive information, share their needs and concerns, and/or get questions answered. Additionally it provides a timeline for decision-making and/ implementation of any decisions that are made as a result of the various need’s assessments which will be conducted. Please note, no changes will be made for the 2014-15 school year.
If you have specific questions, please do not hesitate to contact Amy Rex - email@example.com (882-1142) or Lisa Atwood - firstname.lastname@example.org (882-1126).
Lisa Atwood and Amy Rex
Passion Respect Inquiry Dedication Excellence