New Directions

One of the things we do at PCHS shortly after the school term ends is have the faculty meet for what we call school improvement days.  These are not the days where we pour over test scores and find ways to address deficiencies that are uncovered by the yearly tests.  We use these school improvement days to talk about what is working, what is not working and to dream about big ideas.  The fruit of the labor of these days varies from year to year.  We have completely revamped our schedule during these days in the past and we have decided that student shirts have to cover the shoulder.  In other words we try to listen to each others concerns and ideas and find ways to change our programs and rules where we see the need.  This summer I am excited as our group has brought some big changes to the table that I think will really improve things for our students.  We are working on an all school thematic unit.  Now, schools do this a lot, but not so much at the high school level, and certainly never at PCHS.  I am not going to reveal the theme just yet, but the plan itself is sure to get things flying high!  Another exciting element we are planning on adding is a senior capstone project.  We need to make the senior year more relevant and this is definitely a step in that direction.  We are considering adding a senior class required course called the Capstone Project.  Although students may groan when first hearing about this, I believe they will experience learning opportunities that will help shape their post high school possibilities!  Finally, and I think it is the most important work of the school improvement, we have announced our intention to open the 2012-2013 school year with four separate academies.  The Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics Academy,  The Academy of Commerce and Industry, The Academy of Health and Human Services and The Academy of the Humanities will entice students to explore differing career opportunities as well as learning experiences as they prepare themselves for post high school endeavors.  Exciting times are here for us at PCHS, where we are not only building a new campus for the future, but we are continuously shaping the learning experiences for our students in response to their needs and the needs of the community.

Photo courtesy of  modomatic on Flickr

4 thoughts on “New Directions

  1. This sounds great! Now we have a bases for finding other high schools with similar programs to go and visit. There should be ways to reflect this thinking in the design of a new school if everyone would like. Tell me more when you get the chance.

  2. Augie,
    Thanks for stopping by! We are still building on these concepts and are excited about how we can shape the physical structure of our new facility to fit the learning community we a seeking to create. The whole idea is to keep our program responsive to the changing needs of our students and community of stakeholders. We want our programs to be relevant to our students needs and able to entice community and even regional involvement in our school! We are looking forward to working with you!

  3. Dave,

    We are working with MT.Vernon High School. They are beginning to use Academies as part of their curriculum. They adopted Illinois’ Career Cluster Model as a framework for developing Career Pathways, and Programs of Study. I am tring to understand it myself, but I suppose so are they. I would love to know what you think of this Career Cluster Framework. They are building a new school also and the plan concept we are exploring has the building organized by Academies around courtyards. They have different names for there groupings and they are career specific. They also provide for county wide vocational curriculum that multiple high schools feed into.

    • Augie, our academies are simply the Illinois Career Clusters rebranded a little. Those were the primary source as we studied different things we wanted to do.

Leave a Reply