Long-term Planning Leads to Results
Wilson High School, Wilson Area School District, is the only high school in the IU 20 region that made high growth for both math and reading. I had the opportunity to meet with John Martuscelli, Wilson High School Principal, and David Wright, Director of Curriculum & Instruction, to learn their strategies for success.
The work began in 2005 and was formalized into a math plan in 2006 which revolved around curriculum alignment, increasing opportunities for learning mathematics, and placing ownership for student achievement onto the students.
The curriculum committee did not want to depend on electives to deliver the standards. Therefore, the curriculum needed to be written to ensure that ALL students had access to a rigorous sequence of math courses that delivered all core standards.
- All General math courses were eliminated.
- All students, including IEP students, must take Algebra 1, Algebra II and Geometry.
- Multiple formats for learning Algebra were offered: Honors, Algebra I, Applied Algebra, and Learning Support Algebra - the expectations and curriculum were constant, instructional delivery varied.
- Learning Support Algebra is taught by a teacher certified in both special education and secondary math.
- Created an Assessment Anchor Checklist
- Created a resource binder of math problems, introductory terms, open-ended questions by grade-level to help preview and review all core math concepts.
- Required open-ended problems on all tests throughout the year.
- Required use of scoring rubrics throughout the year.
Increased Opportunities to Learn Mathematics:
- Designed a Math Lab which is staffed by a math teacher every period of the day. Teachers staff the lab in lieu of a study hall or lunch duty. Some students are assigned to the lab, however, most of the students simply request the lab as they need it.
- In addition, student have access to a Tutoring Lab most periods of the day. Peer and teacher support is available. It is staffed by non-math teachers.
- Board policy requires students pass the PSSA to graduate.
- Students receive a report on their areas of need based on 8th grade PSSA data and 4Sight benchmark assessments.
- Students have the opportunity to obtain support and intervention at the math lab and/or PSSA Study Island on their own. The administration does not view this as a punishment, rather it is a natural consequence. Areas of need are differentiated between those which have not been taught yet and those which have been covered in previous course work. Students are given resources to strengthen their understanding in areas they should have already mastered.
- Students must complete all remediation activities and return the signed report to the principal on their own time either in the math lab or on PSSA Study Island at home.
- Students try their best, because they do not want to use their own time to remediate skills.
Stay tuned for our next segment on Wilson's Mentoring Program.