Secondary Education Revision in the Greenwich Public Schools A DRAFT Framework

Preparing Students for the 21st Century World and Beyond

Why revise secondary education?

The world is changing fast—our graduates will have to synthesize, analyze, evaluate and respond to an exponentially expanding amount of information coming at them from countless sources around the world in many media. While, the Greenwich Public Schools educate our middle and high school students very well, we must continue to expand our expectations for educational success to address the changing world and to ensure that we are including EACH student’s needs in those expanded expectations.

Who is driving this?

The Greenwich Public School Board of Education initiated the Secondary Education Revision project as critical to the continued excellence of the Greenwich Public Schools. In response to widespread interest in a comprehensive secondary review from the community, the Board is committed to completing this review in a full and meaningful way. The Board expects that its next superintendent will be an educator with the passion and expertise to see this essential project through to fruition.

Who’s on this committee?

The Board directed the Superintendent and her team to convene a Secondary Education Revision committee representative of all stakeholders in the Greenwich Public Schools. The Board charged the committee to analyze the knowledge, skills and dispositions Greenwich High School graduates should have in order to flourish in the 21st Century and to examine changes in our secondary model to ensure all graduates gain those knowledge, skills and dispositions. The committee, made up of secondary and higher education teachers and administrators, business leaders, town government officials, PTA officers, parents, and middle and high school students, has been working together with an outside expert facilitator since August 2008.

Does the committee have a hidden agenda?

No. The committee represents a full spectrum of viewpoints and roles in the Greenwich Public Schools and the larger Greenwich community. Members have taken time to review current research on school reform. All committee meetings are open to the public. Moreover, the committee’s consultant and central office staff actively solicit the views of teachers, students, parents and community members outside of committee meetings. If you have an opinion to share, please email Linda_Valentine@

What skills do Greenwich High School graduates need to succeed?/What is the Vision of a Greenwich High School graduate?

In order to function effectively in an interdependent global community, all of our students must develop their individual capacities to:

  • Pose and pursue substantive questions
  • Create opportunities that tap their unique interests, passions and curiosities
  • Explore define and solve complex problems
  • Generate innovative, creative ideas and products
  • Advocate for ideas, causes, and actions
  • Communicate effectively for a given purpose
  • Conduct themselves in an ethical and responsible manner
  • Respond to failures and successes with reflection and resilience
  • Collaborate with others to produce a unified work or heightened understanding
  • Recognize and respect other cultural contexts and points of view

Greenwich middle and high schools already have successful programs and methods. What about those?

As the committee designs a model school environment and develops a vision of the Greenwich High School graduate, it will analyze which innovations and programs at Greenwich secondary schools are preparing students well and examine whether those programs reach all students. The committee seeks input from stakeholders about what our middle schools and high school currently do to support our vision of the graduate, what they do that may mitigate against the realization of that vision, and what else they should put in place to support the Vision. The committee will then examine any gaps between current practice and a school model that fully supports the vision, and recommend structural, pedagogical or other changes to address those gaps.

What experiences will be part of a secondary school model that supports this vision?

Research and our experience show that, in order to master the flexible, multi-dimensional thinking skills students need after high school, students should experience the following in the course of middle and high school:

  • Applied, project-based, interdisciplinary learning
  • Collaborative work as part of a team
  • Inquiry and investigation
  • Application of technology to learning
  • Multiple ways to demonstrate mastery
  • Personalization of the learning environment and personal learning plans
  • Finding, analyzing, synthesizing, and evaluating information and viewpoints
  • Generation of new ideas; innovation
  • Community, workplace and service learning outside the classroom
  • Flexible scheduling
  • Work and play with a global focus
  • Creative expression
  • Teachers acting as coaches and facilitators.
  • Rigorous curriculum addressing fewer topics in greater depth

What’s the time frame?

Between now and January 30, 2009, the committee will seek input from stakeholders throughout the community about the work it has completed articulating a vision of the Greenwich High School graduate. As a result of a thoughtful analysis of current programs in the latter half of this school year, the committee expects to develop recommendations that support the vision of the Greenwich graduate by June 2009. Some recommendations of the committee may be implemented or expanded by the Board as early as the 2009-2010 school year. Others may take longer.

Please use the Discussion tab of this wiki to post comments/reactions and share ideas on this vision and what Greenwich Public Schools needs to do to achieve the vision.