BHS Earns Two Prestigious Honors: US News & World Best High School & ICLE Model School Award
Posted 04/25/2013 01:32PM


Brockton High School was named one of America’s Best High Schools for the 4th time by US News & World Report and a Model School by the International Center in Leadership in Education for the 10th year in a row


Brockton High School’s reputation as a leader in urban education was enhanced this week with the announcement of two prestigious honors for the 4,100-student school: US News & World Report named BHS one of America’s Best High Schools for the fourth time and the International Center for Leadership in Education named it a Model School for the 10th straight year.

“This is national recognition of the impressive achievement levels our Brockton High School students have shown over the past decade,” said Interim Superintendent John R. Jerome. “These distinctions prove yet again that Brockton students – and urban students in general – can and do achieve as well as their suburban peers when provided with high quality instruction.”

US News & World Report named Brockton High School a Bronze Medal winner for the fourth time since 2008, a significant achievement for the state’s largest high school.   The highly-regarded weekly standard analyzed 21,035 public high schools in 49 states and the District of Columbia, then identified 4,805 for providing the highest quality education for all students. Brockton High School was among the 2,515 schools identified as bronze medal winners.

“Getting this kind of national recognition from independent research publications and educational think tanks like US News & World Report and the International Center for Leadership in Education is validation of what we know has been working,” said BHS Interim Principal Michael Thomas. “Both of these prestigious organizations are ranking Brockton High School among the best high schools in the country for the quality of our academics and our innovative approach to ensuring that all students succeed. I want to thank all of the teachers and administrators for their hard work and commitment to our students.”

US News & World Report worked with the Washington, D.C.-based American Institutes for Research (AIR), to measure the effectiveness of educational programs at high schools across the country based on a prearranged set of criteria. Brockton High School applied for the Model School designation from The International Center for Leadership in Education (ICLE) and was selected as one of 25 Model Schools that have proven success in student achievement and in implementing Common Core standards and Next Generation Assessments. BHS educators will present their strategies for school-wide improvement to thousands of other educators from across the nation at ICLE’s annual Model Schools Conference this summer in Washington, D.C.

“The school’s approach to empowering the entire Brockton team – focusing on literacy, implementing a comprehensive school-wide plan, and relentlessly monitoring progress – have made it possible for Brockton to sustain academic improvements for the past 12 years,” wrote ICLE’s founder and chairman, Willard R. Daggett, Ed.D. “We are confident that the story of Brockton High School – and the incredible impact the staff and school-wide initiatives have had on students – will be inspiring and informative to the thousands of educators who attend the Model Schools Conference.”

Sharon Wolder, Associate Principal for Curriculum & Instruction, said the repeated accolades Brockton High School has earned proves that systemic, school-wide approaches to literacy not only fueled the school’s turnaround, but continue to drive student achievement in measurable ways.

“These honors speak to the academic integrity of Brockton High School: regardless of how long a student has been in the country, regardless of need or their economic status, Brockton High School students are achieving at high levels and have done so consistently for years now. We believe that is because our faculty has stayed true to our school-wide literacy initiative and remained consistent in our approach to teaching,” Wolder said. “People ask us, ‘what are you doing new?’ We have opted not to just jump from trend to trend to trend, but to remain consistent and teach literacy in every subject area and in every elective.”

The state’s largest high school with more than 4,100 students, Brockton High School is also one of the most diverse schools – 75 percent of students are classified as low income, and more than a third speak a language other than English at home.   What sets it apart are high expectations and a keen academic focus, a strong sense of school spirit and community pride, and a tradition of excellence in academics, arts and athletics.

The school’s remarkable turnaround was highlighted in a groundbreaking study by Harvard University’s Ronald Ferguson and was the focus of a New York Times front page story in October 2010. And last year, 256 seniors scored in the top 25 percent of the district on the MCAS and were awarded the John and Abigail Adams Scholarship, which provides free tuition to in-state colleges and universities. 

Thomas and Wolder credit school-wide literacy and math initiatives for unparalleled student success. When MCAS first rolled out in 1998, only 22 percent of Brockton High School 10th graders were proficient in ELA, and just 7 percent were proficient in math. In the succeeding years, comprehensive reading, writing and math lessons became standard fare in all courses, regardless of subject; all students identified in need of improvement are now given individual education plans to tailor instruction to help them succeed; and teachers have focused on providing students with the tools they need to deconstruct questions or problems they don’t understand and then find the correct process to work them out.