Today we are at the National Alternative Education Association annual meeting in Atlanta, GA. The conference’s focus is on providing opportunities for outstanding education to students in alternative public school settings. Faculty members and the principal from Community High School are presenting a session called “Swimming Upstream: Outcomes-based Assessment as a Life Raft.” This is based on their experiences in a turnaround school which provides an alternative educational setting for students in Buncombe County, which includes and surrounds the city of Asheville, NC.
I have been privileged to collaborate with teachers and students at CHS for the past two years, during which time the school’s performance has climbed steadily. Two weeks ago we did a round of town hall-style meetings with the students, who brought new students and faculty up to speed on how outcomes are used to focus on student learning. The project of educating both teachers and students about how outcomes function day-to-day has provided an ongoing focus for our work.
We have been invited to present later this year at the “Break by the Lake,” a day-long retreat hosted for school counselors and mental health providers by Western Carolina University. Together with school counselors from CHS and Mountain Youth School of Cherokee County, we will discuss how using learning outcomes can give students a focus for their learning and help them hold teachers accountable for supporting them to learn.