New England Secondary School Consortium

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Consortium News

Stories from Connecticut, Maine, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont

  • Jeff Riley Will Be Massachusetts’ New Education Commissioner

    Riley has served as the state receiver supervising the turnaround of Lawrence Public Schools since 2012. He has won accolades in Massachusetts and beyond for his innovative management of the troubled system, which has experienced dramatic increases in graduation rates and some test scores.

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  • Work-Based Learning Programs Gaining Traction in Vermont

    Work-based learning programs are slowly gaining traction in Vermont and other states as schools consider ways to better prepare students for college and careers. Educators and experts say such programs may engage disengaged students, increase graduation and attendance rates, and help students develop career goals at an earlier point in their lives.

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  • How Manchester School of Technology High School Is Retooling Education

    Students rarely see textbooks at the Manchester School of Technology High School (MST-HS), a low-slung utilitarian building a few miles from the river where high-tech businesses occupy former textile mills. In most classes, they don’t get standard letter grades. They don’t automatically move on to the next level at the end of the school year, but instead advance once they have mastered the material. Students buttress their classroom learning with real-world experiences – such as building a house or working as a chef – to help prepare for future careers.

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  • Local Colleges: No Grades? No Problem.

    While some Burlington High School students worry that their school's shift to individualized learning will hurt their access to higher education, representatives from regional colleges say the change will have minimal impact on admissions. “I think it’s a major concern for students and families as they go to incredibly competitive colleges around the country,” said Jocelyn Fletcher Scheuch, the Burlington School District’s proficiency-based learning coordinator. The switch to proficiency or standards-based learning comes as Vermont law (under Act 77) mandates that public schools provide flexible and personalized pathways toward graduation. This school year marks the start of full implementation at the high school. Fletcher Scheuch believes the high school will maintain its reputation among college admissions officers of providing quality education and that the new system will boost confidence in what students have learned and how well they’ve learned it.

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  • Metropolitan Business Academy Tests A Non-Test Idea

    The point of the exercise wasn’t to convince students about the merits or drawbacks of charters. It was to teach the students a useful, lasting skill, apply that skill to a subject relevant to their lives, tell them the expectations in advance, and then evaluate their work in a common, rigorous way. Unlike high-pressure standardized tests, these projects — designed by teachers rather than faceless outsiders — aim to overcome racial and income biases to provide more meaningful measurements of learning.

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