Arizona Republic
December 9, 2006

Author: Laura Houston, The Arizona Republic Estimated printed pages: 2

High school curriculum needs to be more relevant to real-world demands on students, especially seniors.

Freshmen need a better transition from middle school, and general data should be fine-tuned and used in daily instruction.

That's what a group of Glendale Union district administrators, principals and parents concluded recently.

During a district study session, invested parties gathered this week to examine nine traits that define successful high schools and whether Glendale Union possesses these characteristics and to what extent.

Exercises like this allow particpants grow more aware and build ownership, said Jennifer Johnson, associate superintendent for curriculum and instruction.

"People who are affected by change ought to be involved in formulating the change," she said.

That's what a district committee is preparing for, she said.

Members took the suggestions made last week and plan to unveil a summer catch-up program to help incoming freshmen transition into high school, Johnson said.

9 traits of successful high schools

* Instruction focused around student interests and learning styles.

* Administrative and teacher commitment to overall student excellence, especially in literacy.

* Extraordinary devotion of resources to ninth-graders.

* Rigorous and relevant 12th-grade year.

* Broad-based data used to influence daily instruction with individual students.

* High-quality curriculum that focuses on rigor and relevance.

* Mentor program provided so students can hone reflective thought.

* Professional development offered through a few high-impact initiatives.

* Steadfast and committed leadership.

Glendale Union High School District, International Center for Leadership in Education.
Edition: Final Chaser
Section: Glendale Republic East
Page: 12

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Record Number: pho160706310