Making Grade 12 Meaningful
|The 12th grade should be the capstone year as students complete their K-12 education, but for many high school students, their senior year experience falls far short of this expectation. A pervasive spirit of disengagement often characterizes students in their senior year.
Given the ever increasing number of high school graduates who are ill-prepared to negotiate the demands of either college or the workplace successfully, the cost of a lost year is simply too great. The futures of tens of thousands of students annually are put at risk; as well as the welfare of the nation.
|A number of schools have implemented innovative and effective programs that are making a difference for the country’s emerging adults. Successful high schools understand the importance of a senior year that is replete with sustained rigor, compelling relevance, and nurturing adult relationships.
Making Grade 12 Meaningful focuses on converting theory into effective practices to assist administrators and teachers in addressing the critical issues of the senior year.
Chapter 1: Redesigning the American High School
examines the various challenges that confront American high schools today as identified by the major reform movements and offers a rationale for why high schools must change. Key components for high school redesign are introduced as well as the characteristics of successful schools.
Chapter 2: Rationale for 12th Grade Focus — Story of a “Wasteland”
offers an in-depth review of the numerous reasons that contribute to making the 12th grade a lost year in many high schools. The failure to meet the needs of seniors has proven to have a profound impact on them as they struggle to transition to the world beyond high school. The standard responses that high schools undertake to address the challenges inherent in the 12th grade have limitations in their ability to engage seniors fully in rigorous and relevant ways.
Chapter 3: A Developmental Profile of 12th Graders
identifies the developmental characteristics of 12th graders and establishes six key premises about who they are and what they need educationally in order to flourish in the final year of high school. Seniors are: in transition, capable, ready to apply learning to the real world, eager to have a voice in what they learn, and in need of adult interaction and mentoring. Seniors need opportunities that foster leadership, service, self-advocacy, independence, and numerous other skill and qualities.
Chapter 4: Getting Started — Creating a Mandate
provides schools with a deliberate process for establishing a grassroots mandate for recasting the 12th grade experience. An exploration committee is charged to assess the current status of the 12th grade program, create buy-in for change, and develop a plan of action. Various strategies for managing the change process are discussed in detail.
Chapter 5: Making It Happen — Implementing Change
outlines the steps a school can take to begin planning and implementing new initiatives that respond to the areas of need identified by the exploration committee’s work. A steering committee is charged to articulate a mission statement for the 12th grade, research and design program(s), and set goals and timelines for the implementation of new initiatives.
Chapter 6: Infusing Relevance Through Personalization
discusses the value of personalization in promoting engagement in the senior year. A powerful vehicle for infusing relevance in the 12th grade is to personalize the learning by providing opportunities for self-exploration: career interests, personal goals, learning styles, individual interests, core beliefs, etc.
Chapter 7: Building Relationships Through Personalization
emphasizes the efficacy of creating a personalized learning environment by implementing advisement programs and/or other small learning communities that can provide needed mentoring and guidance for 12th graders in this critical year of transition. A process for creating an advisory program for seniors is described in detail.
Chapter 8: Personal Skill Development
makes the case that beyond rigorous academics 12th graders need to develop a host of personal skills to meet the demands of life after high school. A student-directed guidance plan is featured in which 12th graders identify topics of interest that are then addressed during the year. The program culminates with a Senior Institute, a day of workshops, speakers, and activities. This chapter focuses on the importance of giving seniors a voice in what they learn.
Chapter 9: Rigorous and Relevant Curriculum and Instruction
offers numerous strategies for bringing much-needed rigor and relevance to the 12th grade curriculum. Specific models for advanced study, small learning communities, independent study, and alternative methods for assessment, such as portfolios and presentations of learning, are just a few of the approaches included in this chapter. Best practices from across the country are highlighted.
Chapter 10: Learning in Real-World Settings
explores the need for 12th graders to move beyond the classroom walls and immerse themselves in the dynamic world of experiential learning where they can pursue topics of personal interest and interact with adult mentors. Myriad models for senior project experiences are examined. A variety of strategies for structuring project-based learning are included.
Chapter 11: Engagement Through Service Learning
reviews current research and illustrates how service learning experiences can foster significant engagement among 12th graders as students both give back to the community and enrich their academic learning. The differences between service learning and community service are explained. The components of an effective service learning program are defined and models of best practices are shared.
Chapter 12: Engagement Through Leadership
demonstrates how 12th graders must be given opportunities for substantive leadership roles within the school community and beyond. Seniors are ready to assume significant mentoring roles as they minister to younger students. They also should have access to quality leadership training. The Senior Instructional Leadership Corps (SILC) and other model programs that provide both training and leadership experiences are described in detail.
Chapter 13: Professional Development
discusses the importance of supporting 12th grade programs with strong professional development. Giving teachers the opportunity to hone their instructional skills is one of the best ways to increase student learning. Professional development should be both ongoing and collaborative. Teachers need ample time to work together in teams, such as in the professional learning communities described in this chapter.
Chapter 14: Program Assessment
emphasizes the importance of regular assessment of new programs and student progress. Schools need to collect and analyze data from a variety of sources that go beyond the traditional local and state instruments that so often drive assessment. Deliberate efforts must be made to use the data to improve programs in a timely fashion to assure enduring reform and greater student achievement.
Also included: a CD that contains numerous handouts, surveys, and activities and a DVD that has a 50-minute presentation related to the kit.
Excerpt Order Form Online Store