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Mr.  James  R.  Mills
Principal
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Principal's Corner

2015-16 At-a-Glance

5 Essentials of School Improvement
5 Essentials of School Improvement

Building Relationships

2015-16 At-a-Glance

 Nurtured and educated students who are career, college, and civic ready

The 2015-16 school year marks the beginning of a transformation in educational experiences for the students, teachers, and communities served by West Gadsden High School. Building on successes and lessons learned from previous years, the Panther family will embark upon a path that will result in ALL students graduating who are career, college, and civic ready.

Students who graduate from West Gadsden High School are considered career and college ready when they have received “[t]he level of preparation a student needs in order to enroll and succeed—without remediation—in a credit-bearing course at a postsecondary institution that offers a baccalaureate degree or transfer to a baccalaureate degree program, or in a high-quality certification program that enables students to enter a career pathway with potential future advancement” (Conley, 2010).

In tandem with career and college readiness, civic readiness is “being bound by a common belief that our democratic republic will not sustain unless students are aware of their changing cultural and physical environments; know the past; read, write, and think deeply; and act in ways that promote the common good.” (Wager, 2015).

The entire team at West Gadsden High School will leverage decades of research to develop an environment conducive to sustainable school improvement. The University of Chicago's 5 Essentials of School Improvement provide a roadmap for the development and implementation of strategies that support our vision of students who are career, college, and civic ready. Specific activities related to the 5 Essentials of School Improvement are listed below.

5 Essentials of School Improvement

Effective Leaders

  • Development of Core Leadership Team
  • Shared Decision Making
  • Principal-Teacher Trust
  • Vertical Alignment of Curriculum
  • Participation in Instructional Planning
  • Specific Feedback Focused on Marzano
  • Meaningful Professional Development


Collaborative Teachers

  • Weekly Professional Learning Communities (PLCs)
  • Common Planning
  • Use of Data for Tier 1, 2, and 3 Interventions
  • Professional Development
  • Role in Hiring, Selection of Programs, and Leadership
  • Mentoring Teachers


Involved Families

  • Open Door Policy
  • Monthly Community Meetings
  • Making Mathematics Come Alive at Home
  • Household Science
  • Daily Skyward Updates
  • College Financial Aid Workshops
  • Read at Home
  • Role in Hiring
  • How to Use iReady and Khan Academy
  • Bullying and Harassment Response


Supportive Environment

  • Safe and Orderly Environment
  • Comprehensive Guidance Program
  • On-Site Social Worker
  • Positive Behavior Support (PBS)
  • Multi-Tiered System of Supports (MTSS)
  • Response to Intervention (RtI)
  • Rigorous and Equitable Curriculum
  • High Expectations
  • Consistent Discipline
  • Cooperative Learning Opportunities
  • Weekly Character Education
  • School Climate Responsiveness
  • Expansion of Career and Technical Education Student Organizations (FFA, FBLA, FCCLA, 4H)


Ambitious Instruction

  • FAMS Partnership (2015-18)
  • Credit Acceleration and Recovery
  • Daily Intervention Period
  • 21st Century Learning Center After-School
  • Gradual Release of Responsibility Model
  • Inquiry-Based Learning
  • Standards-Based Curriculum
  • Aligned Assessments
  • Reduced Focus on Quantity of Assessments
  • Development of Curriculum Guides
  • Expansion of CTE Programs

o    Digital Media/Multimedia Design

o    Engineering Pathways

o    Finance

o    Culinary Arts

o    Agritechnology

o    Horticulture Science and Services

o    Criminal Justice

  • TCC/FAMU/GTI Dual Enrollment
  • Florida Partnership (College Board)
  • Advanced Placement Coursework