NHS teaching innovative ways

NAUGATUCK — Naugatuck High School has been recognized as a regional leader in educational innovation and has been called upon to teach others across New England how to create effective strategies for improving teaching and learning.

Three schools in Connecticut — Naugatuck High School, Windsor Locks High School and High School in the Community in New Haven — were invited to speak at a conference in Norwood, Mass., this week called High School Redesign In Action.

The event is sponsored by the New England Secondary School Consortium, a state-led regional partnership committed to high school innovation, in collaboration with the departments of education in Connecticut, Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont and Rhode Island, according to a news release.

The selected schools have made significant progress raising student achievement, graduation rates, college-enrollment numbers or other indicators of educational success, the release states.

“The remarkable educators in these three Connecticut schools have demonstrated that they are deeply committed to putting student needs first,” David Ruff, executive director of the Great Schools Partnership and the New England Secondary School Consortium, states in the release.

Naugatuck was there to discuss personalized learning, which is an attempt to meet the learning needs of all students. To do that, faculty sought out more creative ways to manage classrooms to support students who might need more or less time than is usually dedicated to a lesson.

Naugatuck High School teachers Caroline Messenger and Marc Pardee attended the conference along with Principal Jan Saam. Messenger and Pardee are among the educators using personalized learning strategies in their classrooms, NHS Vice Principal Eileen Mezzo said.

An example of that type of teaching, she said, is if a teacher wants to determine whether the student has learned course material, he or she may allow the students to choose how to best demonstrate their learning. For example, one student may choose to take a quiz, while other students may choose to write an essay or, perhaps, create a video that portrays their understanding of the material.

The release states the selected schools worked to adopt innovative instructional approaches that expect all students to demonstrate mastery of the most essential knowledge and skills they will need to succeed in adult life.

“The schools were selected not only for their exemplary work, but also for their extraordinary commitment to making sure every student has a chance to succeed in school, to live a fulfilled and meaningful life and to make a positive contribution to the world in which they live,” the release states.

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