Sue Szachowicz was a student, teacher, assistant principal, and principal at Brockton High School.

Article about the success of Brockton High School. New York Times article. Letters to the Editor.

State Tests started in 1993 in Massachusetts and the school was living in denial of whether or not the state would deny a diploma based on the state test. Why would a student continue going to school if they know they are not going to get a diploma?

  • How to create a sense of urgency when it doesn’t seem like there is one.
  • Front page of the Boston Globe in 1999, failing our kids.
  • Is this the best we can be?
  • Creating a restructuring committee - meeting over the summer.
  • Looked at the released test questions.
  • Major Fail - Shakespeare Focus
  • It can’t be about a test.
  • What are the skills kids need to be successful on this test AND what are the skills kids need to be successful in their classes AND what are the skills kids need to be successful in their lives?
  • Answer to these questions led to a school-wide literacy initiative.
  • What is missing from your class, and what do we need to say differently so it passes the 7–11 test?
  • Skill is the centerpiece, context is the supporting element.
  • How do you bring literacy to life in the classroom.
  • Wanted to pick something that was easily measurable in all content areas.
  • Active reading, followed by writing a response to the reading.
  • Writing is thinking.
  • Teachers taught other teachers how to implement writing process.

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