Envisioning the Future of Somerville High School - Grant Funded Planning

Somerville High School (SHS) staff, students, parents and community partners have been working with the Center for Collaborative Education (CCE) to re-imagine the future learning experience for students. Starting with the SHS Education Plan created to define the needs for the new Somerville High School campus, this new, innovative work is funded by a $300,000 two-year planning grant from the Barr Foundation. A whole-school educational model is being designed that puts the student at the center of a flexible and evolving learning experience, creating new and sustainable opportunities to connect all students to the real world as standard practice. In short, future students at Somerville High School will gain practical hands-on work experience outside the classroom as the natural course of pursing their high school diploma, and the structures of the school (assessments, scheduling and personalized planning) will be adjusted to make this happen.

Presentation Envisioning SHS This is exciting in so many ways -- students and employers are asking for this, our school community is engaged and leading the process and the Barr foundation believes in Somerville Public Schools and is funding this planning effort. Visit the Envisioning the Future of Somerville High School web page for more information about the projects and to learn more, which also includes a community input form. Continue reading below to learn about details shared at a recent Educational Programs Subcommittee of the School Committee meeting.

Melanie Kessler, the SHS Director of College and Career Readiness, Sebastian Lagambina, the SHS Headmaster and Susana Morgan, SPS Director of Communication and Grants shared the work to date. The SHS planning team of 24 began in December and four subcommittees, with over 50 participants, and a student committee have been established. The subcommittees are focused on the following four topics: Out of School Learning, Personalization (of learning plans and advisor role), Performance Based Assessments (embedded assessments across all disciplines, Senior Capstones), and Scheduling (reshape the schedule to support out of school learning, multiple pathways to graduation, personalization and increased faculty planning time.) Subcommittees are tasked with research, ensuring diversity of participants in the process and creating recommendations that work for all students. The first in a series of open community conversations was held in February, hosted by partner CCE. 

The final plan is scheduled to be presented to the School Committee in December 2018. Approved pilots will begin as early as January 2019 and plan implementation scheduled for the 2019-2020 school year. A group of eleven schools in New England were recipients of this Barr Foundation Grant and will convene twice during planning to share and learn from one another. This Grant allows SPS to accelerate the work outlined in the Educational Plan created for the new Somerville High School Building, transforming the learning experience to increase readiness, opportunity and access for all our students to compliment the physical changes to the campus. 

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