21st Century Learning Opportunities

Individualized pathways for students, Post secondary schedule options to prepare students for a 21st Century educational experience, Self directed learning experiences, 21st Century engineering experiences for students, collaborative learning experiences for staff and students, blended learning experience for students, using technology to create greater efficiencies.

Purposeful Scheduling

Overview

One of the simple and effective strategies for supporting student success is to ensure students are placed into the most rigorously appropriate schedule. We cannot be content to just have students registered students in a course, we need to ensure they are in the right course. For students needing math or reading interventions, four data points are considered from prior assessments. Additionally, counselor/teacher input is gathered and placement is made to purposeful schedule students in their respective courses.  

Students meriting accelerated learning are reviewed by current teachers for placement recommendation in Advanced Placement courses. Individual PSAT/PLAN scores are also used to identify predicted success in advanced level courses. Recommendation is made to encourage students to enroll in additional courses based on their predicted success. Through intentionally planned steps, students are most likely to be in a rigorous and optimal learning environment which leads to student academic growth and success.

Staff Involvement

Students and families, Teaching Staff, Administration, Counseling staff

Assessment of Effectiveness

Based upon our MCA test data, students placed in the Math and Reading Intervention courses are tracked to identify success on state level assessments. Based upon our Advanced Placement testing results, success of placement is also illustrated. In both cases (remedial and accelerated learners) have shown large increases.  

We will examine growth from 8th grade MCA assessments to 10th and 11th grade MCA assessments in reading and math. We will examine data for students who participated in these school interventions. We continue to increase the number of students taking Advanced Placement courses, the number of Advanced Placement courses taken, and the number of tests administered.The key result is we have not only increased participation we have also increased the performance of students earning three or better on the assessments and earned the highest average ACT score in school history at 24.1.

Projections for 2012-2013

Continue purposeful scheduling to address every learner being scheduled into the most aligned academic course to improve their achievement.

Increased Enrollment and Number of Students Testing in Advanced Placement

Overview

Students completing Advanced Placement courses and examination since 2007-2008 school year have steadily risen. Advanced Placement provides students with the opportunity to gain college credit as well as ensure that students are college ready. Creating rigorous programming which attracts students to participate illustrates the effectiveness of the program, rigor and relationships present to support students.

Staff Involvement

Advanced Placement Teachers, Administrators, Counselors

Assessment of Effectiveness

Data collected over the past four years indicates the successes of the program. As student numbers in Advanced Placement have risen, the average exam scores have stayed static. This illustrates that the additional students added to the program are performing at the same rates in prior years. Having students applying themselves within the most rigorous environments is outstanding preparation for life. Some relevant data snapshots would include, 414 Advanced Placement Exams were completed by students in 2010 than 2008. 293 more students in 2010 took Advanced Placement courses, 449 more advanced level courses were taken in 2010 than in 2008 (students taking multiple AP courses).

Projections for 2012-2013

Continue current efforts and applications

Flex Schedule

Overview

High performing students are often stressed and unhealthy due to the commitments of schedule for academics and activities. Furthermore, the average high school schedule has no resemblance to what students will encounter in a collegiate setting. To aid in accommodating these students to take as many high level courses, an innovative approach through scheduling was used to alleviate some time constraints for these top-performing students. Through the use of blended learning, larger lecture style settings twice a week and a student-learning center, large gaps of time were given back to these students to use for studying and collaboration during their school day. The exciting results of our first year of application have led to an expansion of the program for the 2011-2012 school year.

Staff Involvement

Currently two AP US History teachers and one AP American Government teacher are involved in the 2011-2012 implementation. In 2012-2013 we will expand the “flexible” schedule to Advanced Placement (AP) Literature and Composition, Newspaper, and Chemistry.

Assessment of Effectiveness

Students and staff have been interviewed by administration regarding the success and areas for improvement though out the initial start up school year. A formal survey at the end of the 2011-2012 school year will be given to students and data collected will be used to shape the 2012-2013 “flexible” schedule development.

Projections for 2013-2014

Work on rolling FLEX courses and online courses into a colligate model of scheduling that increases options, flexibility, and helps transition students to post secondary opportunities.

Learning Lab

Overview

During the 2011-2012 school year students were offered a “flexible” schedule which allowed Advanced Placement (AP) students to take more AP courses without being overwhelmed by time constraints and immense homework demands. Within the “flexible” schedule, students were allowed to sporadically have time in their week during the school day to complete work, study in groups and conduct research. Therefore, a lab setting with a comfortable atmosphere has been dedicated to these students for work time. During the 2012-2013 school year the “flexible” schedule will be expanding by adding two English courses, and one science course. To continue to support these students, further resources and development of the Learning Lab will also increase.

Staff Involvement

The Paraprofessional staff who manage the Career and College Center supervise the Learning Lab. What is unique about the Learning Lab is that the student population accessing the resources are college bound and vastly capable of self managing.

Assessment of Effectiveness

Throughout the 2011-2012 school year, staff involved with the “flexible” schedule have given feedback regarding strengths and areas for improvement regarding the Learning Lab. Students in the pilot courses were given a survey to gain feedback of the effectiveness of the change and areas we could improve. In addition, AP test scores were reviewed to measure the impact of the change as it related to past years performance of students. This information is then subsequently used in future planning or implementation changes.

Projections for 2012-2013

Continue current efforts and applications.

Project Lead the Way

Overview

Prior to 2010-2011 high school students interested in careers and future education in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math were traditionally supported through already established academic departments. Therefore, with the addition of Project Lead the Way (PLTW) a greater emphasis on Engineering has been developed. What is unique about PLTW is that it is a synthesis of Math, Science and Technology through the application of Engineering. PLTW is a nationally recognized program which interfaces with the Engineering is Elementary (EiE) program which will be launching in 2012-2013 at the elementary level.  

Staff Involvement

Currently this process is being managed by the building principal and the Industrial Technology staff at the high school and junior high levels.

Assessment of Effectiveness

Currently, the enrollment for the Engineering courses slated to launch in the fall of 2012 has been strong. We are witnessing high levels of student interest in these unique courses and will be running two sections of the intro to Engineering course and one Principles of Engineering course. 

Projections for 2012-2013

We will be adding Civil Engineering increasing our course offerings in this area to three.

STEM Lab

Overview

Stillwater Area Schools has committed itself to “Project Lead the Way” as well as "Engineering is Elementary" (EiE) and in doing so a greater focus on Engineering is emerging. To support the District Engineering programing, a STEM Lab was essential. Therefore, the district/school administration, Partnership Plan, and local business with teacher support will begin the development of a STEM Lab. The current Industrial Technology space will be retooled during the summer of 2012 so that a “dirty” fabrication lab and a “clean” technology oriented fabrication lab can be created. Community support through industry and individual donors has been utilized making these developments possible through grants, equipment, and matching dollars.

Staff Involvement

Currently this process is being managed by the building principal and the Industrial Technology staff at the high school and junior high levels.

Assessment of Effectiveness

Currently, the enrollment for the Engineering courses slated to launch in the fall of 2012 has been strong. We are witnessing high levels of student interest in these unique courses and will be running two sections of the intro to Engineering course and one Principles of Engineering course.

Projections for 2012-2013

Implement phase I of the development of a STEM Lab by adding $150,000 in equipment to support the Project Lead the Way Curriculum.

Projections for 2013-2014

Implement phase II of the development of a STEM lab by adding another $150,000 in equipment to support the Project Lead the Way Curriculum.

We will be adding Civil Engineering to the Project Lead the Way program and adding a second teacher with a physics license to support the higher level development of this program.

Expansion of STEM Related Courses

Overview

Stillwater Area High School created a regional partnership with the College Board and Google to add Advanced Placement (AP) Computer Science and Advanced Placement (AP) Environmental Science. College Board/Google will financially support all of the teacher training and attendance at the National Advanced Placement Conference this summer. They will provide Stillwater Area High School with $1200 to start AP Computer Science $7500 AP Environmental Science to start the courses.

After the first year of implementation College Board and Google will provide us with $100 for every students who earns a three or better on any STEM related AP course (i.e. in just AP Calculus last year that would have resulted in $15,000 dollars).

Projections for 2013-2014

Implement AP Computer Science and AP Environmental Science.

Professional Learning Community Time

Overview

One of our goals includes providing staff opportunities to collaborate and develop rigorous, relevant learning environments for students. In Fall of 2010 we changed teacher duty time from supervisory to professional development. We provided a framework for teachers to develop clear learning targets and essential learning outcomes for all courses in their Professional Learning Community teams. These teams were able to select a 50-minute window they would meet in during their duty time.  

During the Fall of 2011 Dr. Laager made a formal presentation to the board at a learning session to adjust the start of school day by 15 minutes each Wednesday. The students would come at the same time and they would use this time to visit the Career Center, Media Center, Gymnasium, or socialize with their friends in the cafeteria. Teachers adjusted their start time to 7:10 which allowed all PLCs to meet at a common time from 7:10-8:00 each Wednesday.

Staff convene weekly during this professional development time and collaborate about students learning focusing on performance of students on learning targets that are assessed thorough a system of assessment made up of formative and summative assessments. In addition, staff collaborate to address what they expect students to know and what they may need to adjust instructionally when results from formative and summative assessments show students are not learning.

Staff Involvement

Teaching Staff, Department Leaders, Administration, District Office Staff, Board of Education

Assessment of Effectiveness

An instrument is being used to gather stories and insight during 2011-2012 school year reflecting ideas from building staff. They are meeting in person to answer the following questions regarding PLCs.

  1. Overall, how is the PLC process working for you? 
  2. Are you using Learning Targets in your courses? 
  • Do students have a copy of Learning Targets for each unit? 
  • Do they have an opportunity to reflect on their learning and self assess their progress?
  • Have you developed and used formative assessment in your classes?
    • Have you used results to make instructional changes?
  • Have you developed common formative assessments as a PLC and discussed the performance?
  • Have you developed common summative assessments as a PLC and discussed the results?
  • Projections for 2012-2013

    This time will move from the development of curriculum and assessment to discussing instructional practice and tools that are improving student learning.

    Increase Technology Hardware and Online Delivery Models

    Overview

    In 2008, Stillwater Area High School had a one computer to five-student ratio. Less than five staff were using online tools with students. It was clear technology hardware and online applications for content delivery needed to improve. With the support of the Partnership Plan, district/school administrative team placed technology as a pivotal factor in providing our students with skills necessary for success in the 21st century. In 2011 the situation has vastly shifted. We now have 29 classrooms using Interactive /white boards (compared to 8 four years ago), we have accomplished a 1 to 2 computer/student ratio and increased the number of staff using Moodle from virtual zero four years ago to 175 courses (estimate that about 90 are currently active). 

    Staff Involvement

    Department Leaders, Teaching Staff, District Technology, Administration

    Projections for 2012-2013

    Use the Moodle course to model administrative efforts to manage and lead teachers. Place professional resources online in courses for ease of viewing and application prior to start of all new staff Professional development courses include: PLCs , ACCESS, and New Staff Orientation have moved to flipped process online and will be pilots for administration.

    Online Learning - Health and Physical Education

    Overview

    Health and Physical Education have traditionally been offered at Stillwater High School only during the regular school day. In approximately 2005, online Physical Education and Health were offered to students who needed to create additional time in their schedules for other academic ventures of choice. This program created a significant number of issues because of the high percentage of students who failed the course and a number of students yearly were not able to get into the program. Between 2008 and 2012 the online Health and Physical Education option was completely overhauled. In the 2011-2012 school year we completed changed to the Online PE/Health course. We hired one teacher to teach both courses and manage the entire Online PE/Health program. This allowed all students 9-12 who wanted to participate in the course access. In the past preference was given to seniors and some juniors were able to access the course.  

    Another significant change was students enrolling in Online PE/Health have one calendar year to finish the course. Greater student enrollment, revision of web formatting, enrollment management and development of rich curriculum has typified this era.

    Staff Involvement

    Physical Education and Health Staff, Building Administration, District Administration

    Assessment of Effectiveness

    Parents, students and staff have reported excellent experiences with these programs. In addition we have seen significantly few students choosing outside Physical Education and Health options.

    Projections for 2012-2013

    Continued implementation

    Online Learning Courses 

    Overview

    Advanced Placement United States History has been traditionally offered at Stillwater Area High School only during the regular school day. During the 2012-2013 school year we piloted one online section of AP United States History. In 2013-2014 we will be increasing online courses offering Biology, Chemistry, Human Anatomy, Enriched English 10, Multivariable Calculus, AB Calculus, and BC Calculus for students.

    Staff Involvement

    Social Studies Teacher, Social Studies Department, and Administration

    Assessment of Effectiveness

    Monitor yearly AP Test scores for students participating in the online course and compare it to students in the traditional course.

    Projections for 2012-2013

    AP US History will be implemented in 2012-2013

    Projections for 2013-2014

    We will offer expanded online learning courses in Biology, Chemistry, Human Anatomy, Enriched English 10, Multivariable Calculus, AB Calculus, and BC Calculus for students.

    Online Learning Courses to Improve Staff Development 

    Overview

    In the summer of 2012 one quarter of the high school staff participated in an online course designed to provide a solid foundation to teachers in designing and developing online and blended learning environments. The course was focused on pedagogical approaches, building community to battle learner isolation in an online environment and exploration of the technology tools used to create and manage an online course. Nine staff chose to enroll for credit through Hamline. In addition to the accessing course materials online and participating in professional discourse with their colleagues online, Teachers were able to meet with Technology Integration Specialists throughout the summer for personal one to one coaching. 

    Staff Involvement

    District Technology Integration Specialists, Classroom Teachers from both the secondary and elementary level. 

    Assessment of Effectiveness

    Staff met together for informal face to face feedback at the end of the course for improvements and how they would implement what they learned into the school year. Technology Integration Specialists work with teachers on a continued basis to further develop course materials as teachers progress throughout the year. Immediate implementation is evident in online course development in several courses and other professional development opportunities for staff. 

    Projections for 2012-2013

    The course is expected to run again in the Summer of 2013 with additional modules and time frames to make it more flexible with Teacher schedules. In addition, new courses are in the process of being developed to increase opportunities for teachers and staff to access quality professional development during times that work best for them.

    Social Networking Promotion/Communication (Facebook and Twitter) (2012-2013)

    Overview

    Working with students in a 21st century model requires the integration of social networking.  As a district initiative, Facebook and Twitter have become a communication tool for the district.  Having a presence in the social networking arena has proven useful in communicating important messages to students, family and our community.  

    Staff Involvement

    District Communication Coordinator, Tech Integration Specialists, Administration, Activities Director, Coaches, Music and Fine Arts Director

    Assessment of Effectiveness

    Track the number of community members who follow our school through the use of each of these tools.  Establish baseline numbers and work to increase communication and personal connections through these tools.

    Projections for 2012-2013

    Continued exploration of high interest and engaging format to capitalize on existing communication for students.

    Online Registration

    Overview

    Prior to the 2008-2009 school year all high school registration was completed through the use of paper and pencil.  Students would fill out a registration form, turn the form in and then counselors and clerical would enter student requests into our scheduling software.  This was an inefficient process which did not always yield accurate results due to the number of times information needed to be processed.  Working with the district’s technology staff all scheduling was subsequently done through an online interface which allowed parents and students to register for classes online.  This process has yielded positive feedback from parents, students, and staff.  Clerical data entry errors have been vastly reduced.  

    Staff Involvement

    Administration, Counseling Staff, Department Leaders, Teaching staff, Technology Integration Specialists, and District Technology

    Assessment of Effectiveness

    Master scheduling has been completed earlier in every subsequent year with smaller class sizes and better balance in all courses. Students requesting schedule changes at the beginning or end of semester has vastly been reduced. Informally, staff has reported great satisfaction with the balancing of the master schedule as well as the purposefulness of student placement in courses.

    Projections for 2012-2013

    Continue current efforts and applications for scheduling