Education Week - June 2, 2016 - Diplomas Count - (Page 21)

four months, and facing additional rounds of layoffs. It finally stabilized its funding with help from the community partners. "A lot of [partners] just want to give us money-and that's fine, we always need money-but I actually prefer the time and mentorship aspects of partnering," MacKinnon said. About 20 of the school's partners go beyond funding, to work with the school to train teachers, participate in capstone projects, and cheer their students on. Coming Together The freshman concert-an annual tradition for four years now-starts with David "D.J. Doc" Harrill, a Cleveland-based musician and activist who acts as an artistin-residence at MC2's campuses. Over the course of a semester, students choose and research a community problem that has affected them, from teenage gossip to gang violence and police brutality. Students write their lyrics with help from the 9th grade English teacher, work with D.J. Doc to understand beats and typical rhythms in rap and other music styles, and work with science and engineering teachers to design and build their own working sound systems capable of playing their music via a smartphone. The seniors watching them judged their speaker systems earlier that day, giving feedback based on their own experiences. And for the adults, the concert-and "It's easier for me to learn here because everything is really hands-on." Catherine Buxton 10th grade student, MC2 STEM High School the students' response to it-are the return on years of investments and personal relationships with these students. Just having Ray and her fellow singers on the stage is an accomplishment; the first time the students were singing the song they had written, "This Ain't Livin'," they "totally froze up," Harrill said. Ray admitted the song is emotional for her. Both Ray and one of her fellow singers are survivors of child abuse: "So I decided, I can get my message through the song, to help any other girl or boy who is being abused, and also get what I was feeling out." And when Ray's singing group launches into "This Ain't Livin'," her classmates-and many of the adults in the audience-sing and clap along. "I'm like a fire, a flame, determined to burn/and we won't stop 'til our voices are heard./Remember when I said I could die a thousand times?/Well, scratch that, 'cause it's our time to rise." n Citizens Get a Say In Boston Redesign City leaders solicited the public for ideas on what high school ought to be. By Corey Mitchell J oseph DiMartino has consulted on hundreds of high school redesign efforts-and he's seen nearly as many abandoned after falling short of their goals. As the former director of the Secondary School Redesign program of the Education Alliance at Brown University and the founder of the Center for Secondary School Redesign, DiMartino has had a firsthand look at the ups and downs of the national push to reinvent secondary education over the past 20 years. "We've been trying to change high school since 1996," he said. "I can point to two or three [districts] that have made dramatic change." Boston hopes to become another. In the city that's home to Boston Latin, the nation's first high school, city and school leaders hope their push to reimagine high schools for the future can beat the odds. Mayor Martin Walsh launched the redesign plan for the 53,500-student, cityrun school system in May 2015. City leaders hosted public forums, plotted timelines, and scoped out success stories in an attempt to address rising, but mediocre, graduation and college-attendance rates. This fall, the district and city hope to reveal their shared redesign vision, one that the community helped shape. The unveiling follows dozens of work sessions that drew more than 2,000 students, parents, educators, and residents offering suggestions on how to transform the city's high schools. "The more [community involvement] happens, the more likely that you'll have a successful redesign," said DiMartino, who is not involved in Boston's effort. The sessions explored how schools can develop relationships with outside organizations, encourage students to take ownership of their education, and enhance that education by using Boston's historical and cultural resources to supplement the standard classroom experience. All the work is geared toward a simple end. "We want people to walk into a high school and have them say it looks a lot different than it used to," said Rahn Dorsey, the Chief of Education for the city of Boston, a cabinet-level adviser to Walsh. But even the best-laid plans are often upended by one or more of the three T's that DiMartino has identified: tradition, tenure, and time. Bucking Tradition A hallmark of high school redesign is looking at the possibilities of education in a fresh way. That can prove challenging when educators' eyes are the only ones envisioning it. "Having people involved in traditional high schools as the only people in the conversation really limits the options on what you can do and how you can change your school," DiMartino said. To try to avoid that, Boston began its redesign process by conducting public meetings and inviting dozens of organizations, colleges, and other institutions to host their own conversations. Participants expressed interest in schools using the city as a classroom; having a more deliberate focus on life skills such as financial literacy; and doing more project-based, student-led learning, Dorsey said. "If we're just thinking about this inside the silo of K-12, we'll continue to lag behind and won't have an ac- Remaking High Schools | 21

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Education Week - June 2, 2016 - Diplomas Count

Education Week - Diplomas Count - June 2, 2016
For Better High Schools, Coherence May Be Key
Taking Students’ Voices to Heart
One Student’s Quest To Reshape Schools
Students in El Paso Get Leg Up On College
In Omaha, a Chance To Try Out a Career
Classroom and City Merge in Cleveland
Citizens Get a Say In Boston Redesign
A Bold Reinvention Gets a Rocky Start
Minn. High School Built for ‘Flexibility’
In Ark., Going Big On a Human Scale
U.S. Graduation Rate Reaches a New High

Education Week - June 2, 2016 - Diplomas Count