Home / Showcase of Model School Programs and Promising Practices

October 16-17, 2018

Find your inspiration at the Showcase

The 12th Annual Showcase of Model School Programs and Promising Practices features topics related to Accreditation in K-12 public schools and career and technical schools/centers. 


Tuesday, October 16, 2018 - Special Pre-conference Program
9:00 a.m.–2:45 p.m.

Wednesday, October 17, 2018 - Showcase
8:30 a.m.–2:45 p.m.

Westford Regency Inn and Conference Center
219 Littleton Road, Westford, MA 

Hotel Accommodations
If overnight accommodations are required, please note that you must make reservations on your own. A discounted hotel rate of $145.00 is available for conference attendees. Please use the Westford Regency Inn's online system to book your room.

Please refer to the registration page for options and fees. The registration fee includes continental breakfast, lunch, all sessions, and program materials; however, attendees who wish to participate in interactive sessions or access materials online should bring their own device.

Download a PDF of the 2018 program

Pre-conference - Tuesday, October 16th

A Vision for Learning 

The full- and half-day pre-conference workshops will give participants opportunities for in-depth, interactive learning experiences. The focus of the day is on creating a vision for your learning community by using the NEASC Standards as the foundation to transform your plans for growth into reality.

Program Overview
Participants will attend either one full-day or two half-day sessions. 

8:30–9:00 a.m. Registration and Continental Breakfast
9:00 a.m.–2:45 p.m. Full-Day Session
9:00–11:30 a.m. Half-Day Session 1
11:30 a.m.–12:15 p.m. Lunch
12:15–2:45 p.m. Half-Day Session 2

Session Topics/Descriptions

Full-Day Session

Building and Assessing Your School’s Vision of the Graduate 
Envision Learning Partners 

The new 2020 CPS Standards ask schools to develop a vision of the graduate along with their core values and beliefs about learning. This vision for each graduate should include the development of transferable skills, also called 21st century learning expectations, necessary for future success. After creating a vision and defining these important skills, many schools struggle with how to create assessments that will adequately measure student progress toward proficiency. For students to think critically, work collaboratively, and learn deeply, systems of assessment must be shifted to match these practices. Through design thinking and rapid prototyping, participants will learn one model for more authentic assessment. Beginning with the end in mind, the session will start with drafting or revising a graduate profile (vision of the graduate). Participants will have the chance to prototype performance tasks that will build and measure student progress in the skills of the graduate profile. By the close of the session, participants will have a draft of their vision of the graduate along with ideas about how to measure student growth toward this vision. Schools/districts are encouraged to bring a team of people who can begin the work of developing their vision and take it back to their school communities for feedback.
Presenter(s): Abby Benedetto, Deeper Learning Coach
Room: Regency Ballroom 3

Half-Day Session 1

Inquiry and Project-Based Assessment — from Grassroots to Grasstops 
Francis W. Parker Charter Essential School (Devens, MA) and the Center for Secondary School Redesign, Inc. (CSSR) 

How can rich, inquiry-based projects transform a student’s experience? Learn how students from grades 7-12 demonstrate their deepest learning across all disciplines through projects designed by and with their teachers, creating opportunities for rigorous inquiry and student choice. Through this project-based learning, students are assessed for mastery of school-wide core competencies. Participants will examine two projects, one from an integrated math and science course, and one from humanities, that invite students to apply the skills they have practiced throughout a unit in an authentic and self-directed manner. Participants will use several different protocols to analyze the effectiveness and rigor of the tasks, explore their relevance in the unit of study, and use student work to determine what continuous improvement could look like for the student and teacher. Participants will see how to initiate this work, look at samples of student work to understand how inquiry promotes mastery, learn how collaborative practices undergird the development of high-quality projects and the cycle of continuous improvement, see inquiry in action through a video, and develop an understanding of how larger structures in the school create the conditions for these practices to flourish and be sustained.
Presenter(s): Joseph DiMartino, President, Center for Secondary School Redesign, Inc. (CSSR); Diane Kruse, Math/Science/Technology Domain Leader; Susan Massucco, Arts and Humanities Domain Leader; Todd Sumner, Principal
Room: Regency Ballroom 2​


Half-Day Session 2

Understanding and Using the NEASC CPS Opinion Survey Data 
Tripod Education Partners 

NEASC developed new student, family, and faculty surveys aligned with the 2020 Standards, which schools can use in preparation for the Self-Reflection process and re-administer annually. In this hands-on workshop, participants will learn about the surveys and how to understand and use results from the surveys. When can you draw conclusions from survey results? When do you need to know more? What is a positive result? How do you quickly identify potential strengths and areas of needed improvement? How do you develop feasible action plans to promote improvement? This workshop will help participants build the skills and knowledge necessary to use the NEASC CPS Opinion Surveys to guide school growth and improvement. The presenter is a member of the team that developed the new surveys and an expert in survey design and use.
Presenter(s): Carolina Buitrago, Ed.D., Senior Research Scientist
Room: Regency Ballroom 2

Half-Day Session 1 or 2 (choose either)

NEASC 2020: A Vision for Learning 

Learn how the new 2020 Standards and redesigned Accreditation protocol will support your school improvement process. Participate in a hands-on dive into the new Standards. Learn how the Standards support school improvement while incorporating important changes in education, for example, a more explicit emphasis on growth mindset. Learn how to incorporate the redesigned NEASC protocol into the professional life of your school. The changes will make Accreditation a streamlined process that supports existing improvement efforts while ensuring that your school has the resources necessary to reach 
all learners.
Presenter(s): Alyson Geary, Deputy Director, NEASC/CPS; Francis Kennedy, Associate Director, NEASC/CPS
Room: Regency Ballroom 1

Showcase - Wednesday, October 17th

The Showcase is designed to give participants a chance to learn directly from their peers at accredited schools. The programs featured in the Showcase each year are based on current research, best practice, and the NEASC Commission on Public Schools' Standards for Accreditation. Multiple topics will be offered for each of the three 75 minute sessions. Please note that topics may be subject to change as final Showcase details are confirmed. Make sure to check back for updates.

Program Overview

7:45–8:30 a.m. Registration and Continental Breakfast 
8:30 a.m. Welcome and Showcase Overview
9:00–10:15 a.m. Session 1
10:30–11:45 a.m. Session 2
11:45 a.m.–1:15 p.m. Lunch and Keynote Presentation
1:30–2:45 p.m. Session 3

Session Topics/Descriptions

Welcome and Showcase Overview

Greetings and an overview of the day's program by George Edwards, Director of the NEASC Commission on Public Schools.

Session 1

Addressing Issues of Race, Bias, and Privilege in an (almost) All White School 
Sutton High School – Sutton, MA
Learn how the staff intentionally addresses issues of bias, prejudice, and privilege in the school to create a safe and positive school culture for all students. Learn about what led to this work, the programs and practices that have been put in place over the past year, resources to supplement the curriculum, and what work is still left to do. Participants will discuss how issues about bias, prejudice, and privilege are manifested in their own schools, and take away programs and practices that can be replicated.
Presenter(s): Ted McCarthy, Principal; Coleen Motyl-Szary, World Language Department Chair
[Westford North 1 & 3]

Strengthen your Core: The Importance of Dynamic and Vibrant Core Values and Beliefs
Lincoln High School – Lincoln, RI
During this interactive session, participants will examine their own school’s practices in ensuring that the core values, beliefs about learning, and learning expectations function as foundational documents for the school. Vibrant and well-incorporated core values and beliefs are critical to ensuring the school is tightly aligned to the 2011 or 2020 Standards. Participants will work with school-based teams and others in the session to learn and collaborate about core value and beliefs “best practices.” Participants will have long- and short-term actionable strategies to take back to their schools.
Presenter(s): Susan Kolenda, Art Teacher; Kevin McNamara, Principal; Doreen Picozzi, English Teacher-Steering Committee Chair; 
Dr. Jason Schofield, English Department Chair
[Westford North 2 & 4]

From Treadmill to Windmill: Transforming the Schedule to Incorporate Personalization and Choice 
Andover High School – Andover, MA
Learn about the transformation from using a semester block schedule to a year-long, rotating block schedule and developing personalization of instruction. Understand the process and the school-wide change that shifted the school culture from a treadmill to a windmill. View highlights of using personalization scheduling software, which allows the introduction of the advisory program and student choice in other blocks. Participants can discuss their school’s particular need for school-wide change and share challenges in eliminating students being trapped on an educational treadmill. Leave with concrete ideas of how to get off 
the treadmill and create a windmill form of engagement and instruction for students.
Presenter(s): Caitlin Brown, Assistant Principal; Philip Conrad, 
Principal; Aixa de Kelley, Director of Guidance; Renee Drueke, 
Special Education Teacher
[Westford South 1 & 3]

Promoting Authentic Learning through External Partnerships 
Blackstone Valley Regional Technical High School – Upton, MA
An administrative team will share insight and strategies for linking external resources to expand teaching and learning opportunities. Participants will hear about how to explore community-based options and new partners for vibrant, thematic, and inspiring lessons. A cross pollination of integrated examples ranging from environmental greening to Civil War and American Revolution re-enactments will be shared. Learn how the expanded classroom approach contributes to increased student achievement via refined innovative teaching methods and instructional strategies.
Presenter(s): Matt Connors, Vocational Director; Ed Evans, Academic Curriculum Coordinator; Dr. Michael F. Fitzpatrick, Superintendent-Director
[Westford South 2 & 4]

Streamline Your Learning Walks: Providing Timely and Immediate Feedback 
Portsmouth High School – Portsmouth, RI
Empower faculty and staff by providing timely and immediate critical friend feedback during learning walks focused on teaching practices through Google Forms and Autocrat. Participants will view the Highlander Institute’s classroom walkthrough tool as a model, then create their own versions. Participants will be able to use and promote their newly developed tool the next day!
Presenter(s): Timothy Marum, Technology Integration Specialist

Change Agents: Counseling Today’s High School Student 
Montachusett Regional Vocational Technical School – Fitchburg, MA
Counselors have the unique opportunity to impact the trajectory of student life and school culture. Attendees will explore programming and curricula that allow students to feel connected and acquire the necessary tools and strategies to become productive members of society. Presenters will share a variety of best practices and encourage conversations with like-minded colleagues. Participants will learn how student-centered programming strengthens practices and motivates staff to find innovative ways to promote student success. The goal is to help participants identify student-centered programming within their own schools, walk away with new ideas and resources to implement, and increase awareness of the role of the school counselor in cultivating a culture conducive of social and emotional learning.
Presenter(s): David Pirri, School Adjustment Counselor; Alicia Quinn, School Counselor; Sara Storm, School Counselor; Victoria Zarozinski, Director of Student Support Services

Session 2

Be the Change: Acknowledging and Eradicating White Privilege in Library Collections and Curriculum
Middletown High School – Middletown, CT
During discussions concerning the ‘diversification’ of curriculum and materials, we’ve all heard a well-meaning colleague point to the presence of Martin Luther King Jr. or Frederick Douglass as proof that they “teach black history.” Similarly, how many librarians or teachers fall back on recommending Monster by Walter Dean Myers to a student of color eager to read? In this interactive session, discuss and learn some ways to understand and analyze the role of white culture, and perhaps even white privilege, in library media center collection development and curricular design. Examine the ways in which the white culture dominates all aspects of library media center and curriculum materials and design; the idea of tokenism; stereotyping populations in terms of interest and/or ability levels; and perpetuation of racial, gender, ethnic, etc. tropes through curriculum materials and library collections. Participants will create action plans for next steps for addressing issues of representation in districts, schools, or classrooms.
Presenter(s): Ann Buchanan, Library Media Specialist; Elizabeth Mancini, Social Studies Department Chair
[Westford North 1 & 3]
The Delivery of Student Services: A Journey from What Is to What Should Be  
Fairhaven Public Schools – Fairhaven, MA
Share in a journey of gradual district and school improvement. Learn how a NEASC site visit helped the school district reflect on its own practices for Standard 4: Learning Support. Positions and practices were restructured and a district improvement plan goal to implement, with fidelity, the delivery of direct services by special education 
teachers for identified special education students in the clearly defined continuum of student services was identified. The story of this iterative process of district improvement is not about just moving one school forward, but many schools within the district. This clear roadmap helped the district dig deeply into the NEASC Standards, resulting in reviewing and revising student programming for what is best for students, not “that’s the way we have always done it here.” Participants will walk away with some tools that can be used in their own districts to impact change in grades K-12.
Presenter(s): Robert Baldwin, Superintendent of Schools; Robert Mota, Assistant Director of Student Services; Diane Sullivan, Director of Student Services
[Westford North 2 & 4]

High School 3.0: The Impact of Student Voice and Choice on Whole-School Redesign
Newfound Regional High School – Bristol, NH
What does redesign look like on the “other side”? Join student and faculty presenters to experience a journey through a redesign process to where the school is today. Engage in active and productive discussions about grade-specific gateways, student-staff senate, restorative justice, competencies, and extended learning. The session will be very focused on inspiring action for your school. Participants will leave the workshop with immediate “do nows” and a look toward the future.
Presenter(s): Mackenzie Davis, Student; James LeBaron, Redesign Coordinator; Matthew Libby, Student; Amy Yeakel, Extended Learning Opportunities Coordinator
[Westford South 1 & 3]

Engage, Empower, Educate: A Real Alternative to Student Success  
Belfast Area High School – Belfast, ME
Participants will hear about what Belfast Community Outreach Program in Education (BCOPE) is and why it is a real alternative opportunity to succeed. Participants will be excited by being able to “see” BCOPE and imagine how a project-based, community-centered approach to learning might work for them in their settings.
Presenter(s): Abby Heath, Class of 2018 graduate; Dolly Sullivan, Teaching Principal
[Westford South 2 & 4]

Learning Cycles: Locally Grown Curriculum Writing and Validation 
Ipswich Public Schools – Ipswich, MA
What are ways to put curriculum writing in the hands of teachers? How can a district support teachers in collaborating to revise and enrich this curriculum? What are protocols and tools for all of the above? Learn about the process, tools, and resources from the school district’s Learning Cycles curriculum validation program and the next steps. Learning Cycles are used to support educators’ collaborative writing, enriching, and assessing locally-written curriculum. Participants will learn the importance of having a curriculum validation process for teachers 
and take away tools and resources for starting their own curriculum validation journey.
Presenter(s): Tracy Wagner, Director of Teaching and Learning

Fostering an Effective Competency-Based Learning High School: A Case Study
Sanborn Regional High School – Kingston, NH
Hear how to successfully implement competency-based learning (CBL) in schools and districts by fostering a collaborative culture of professional learning. This interactive session will provide participants the opportunity to take a deep dive into the nationally recognized CBL model, now in existence for nearly a decade. Participants will have the opportunity to self-assess their readiness and develop an action plan for the development of a CBL model in their own schools.
Presenter(s): Brian Gray, Social Studies Teacher; Ashley Harbel, English Teacher; Brian Stack, Principal; Heather Wheeler, 
Science Teacher

Luncheon and Keynote Presentation: Building Schools We Believe In


John Clements John Clements, 2017 MSAA Principal of the Year
Principal, Nipmuc Regional High School;
NEASC Commissioner, 2011-2016

A key to living an inspired life is to find role models — people who motivate us and help us to find ourselves in the process. John Clements is one of those people. Recognized by MSAA and NASSP as a principal who demonstrates exemplary contributions to education, John will share his experiences and insights as our 2018 keynote speaker.


Session 3

Promoting Educational Equity: The Power of Student Voice
Fairfield Warde High School – Fairfield, CT
How does a suburban high school, with a predominantly white student body, use student and teacher voices to promote equity for students of color and students who are economically disadvantaged? Learn from the Fairfield Warde Voices for Equity (FWVE) about how this group of students, teachers, administrators, and parents have been challenging practices that create academic achievement gaps and opportunity gaps, and raise awareness. Learn about their student and teacher co-led professional development and activism. Through dynamic discussions and activities, experience how student voices are being used as a powerful tool to educate the school community about educational equity, institutional racism, and the impact of implicit bias by educators on student identity and achievement. Be inspired by FWVE, who will share their experiences and give practical ideas to other districts who are seeking to begin social justice initiatives.
Presenter(s): Sri Devadi, Student; Dawn Jara, Special Education Teacher; Mowens Jean, Student; Deirdra Preis, District Consultant 
[Westford North 1 & 3]

How a Schedule Changed the Learning Environment
Natick High School – Natick, MA
See how an alternate day, block schedule changed the learning environment of the school. Compare the benefits and drawbacks of this type of schedule, from professional learning community (PLC) and extra help time during the school day to dealing with loss of class time and teaching in longer blocks of time. Understand how the schedule allowed providing PLC time for teachers and implementing Response to Intervention (RTI) at the high school and how longer teaching blocks changed the learning environment.
Presenter(s): Brian Harrigan, Principal; Andrew Hollins, Math Department Chair; Maryanne Ouellet, English Department Chair; Linda Weber, Science Department Chair
[Westford North 2 & 4]

The Opportunities and Challenges of Starting an Internship Program
Rutland High School – Rutland, VT
Find out about the PLACE Internship (Promoting Learning by Activating Community Engagement) program. Hear from students, who have completed an internship, and the founders of the program about their successful experiences. Gain knowledge about practical ideas and advice for placing students in the community for internships and/or job shadows. Participants will leave with ideas about the challenges and possible solutions, the incredible benefits for students, and materials to adapt to their own schools. 
Presenter(s): Lilly Duboff, Student; Sarah Hagge, English Teacher, co-founder of PLACE; Jennifer Wigmore, Director of School 
Counseling, co-founder of PLACE
[Westford South 2 & 4]

Principals for Sustainable Equity: A Journey to Improve Leadership Practice through Collaborative Consultation Protocols
Charlestown High School and Revere High School – MA
Learn how a group of urban principals have developed a supportive network to share their successes and challenges as they learn and grow together. In this workshop, members from this network will explain the purpose of the network and structures used to deepen skills to improve outcomes for students in their respective schools. The workshop will include a demonstration of the protocol for exploring a problem of practice. There will be ample opportunities for participation. This is a model that any group of educators can use to learn and grow.
Presenter(s): John Perella, Principal of Revere High School; Will Thomas, Principal of Charlestown High School

For more information

If you have questions about this year's event, or are interested in presenting next year, please contact:

Kathy Montagano, Associate Director, Commission on Public Schools


Bill Wehrli, Associate Director, Commission on Public Schools

Registration is open

Registration is now open. Sign up for one or both days. We look forward to seeing you in October!